Let me take you back about thirteen years ago. It’s 1997 and I’m a young man of 24 with much more hair on my head (and far less in my ears) than I have now. I’m working as a clerk in a small public library in a North Texas suburb. I have friends and I have co-workers, but am eking out a fairly lonely, geeky existence.
The library hires a new clerk. Her name is Amy, she hails from Anchorage, AK, and used to work in a law library. As I work primarily in circulation and reference and she works primarily in technical services (the behind-the-scenes work of the library), we rarely interact.
Then, around Christmastime when most of the staff has already left for vacation, she and I end up working at the front desk together. It’s the holidays so there is hardly anyone coming in and we chat. Nothing mind-blowing, just shared books, Shakespeare, and college experiences in Texas. But I never have so much fun working the circulation desk. She’s smart, funny, and just easy to talk to…a rare thing in the experience of this professional wallflower. From that moment, I become fascinated by Amy.
Her parents are down from Alaska to visit and come by to pick her up and take her home to Denton. I happen to be heading to Denton that day as well to visit a friend (I live in Fort Worth at this time). So I end up following them down the highway toward our joint destination, praying the entire time that she doesn’t recognize my car and think that I am a creepy-stalky-guy.
Over the next few months, we don’t get to work together very much. But at staff meetings and passing through the break room, I find myself staring at her, smiling to myself. By April (yes, it took me months), I think I might be ready to kinda-sorta ask her out. I figure that the annual employee banquet may be my chance. I figure maybe I’ll catch up to her after the event and ask her to a movie or something. However, events conspire and I don’t run into her after the banquet. My nerve and my opportunity are shot.
The next week, I happen to be putting out the new periodicals when I find her, taking her break and reading a magazine. Nobody’s around but us. So I suck it up and ask her if she wants to meet after work on Wednesday to go see a movie. She says she’d like that. I don’t remember much else from the rest of that day.
I show up to the movie theater with a yellow rose. I want something a little different from a regular rose but I also want to make it clear that this was a date and not just a friendly outing with a co-worker–I fret about this for hours.
Our date goes swimmingly–I even manage to hold her hand through the last half of the movie. And we make plans to go out again on the weekend. Then we keep going out, becoming part of each other’s lives over two years–carrying on an illicit love affair unbeknownst to our co-workers.
Then, in 2000, I get another job at another library and, after I leave, we announce that we’ll be getting married on March 11. It felt so good we did it again in August–this time in Renaissance costume.
For the next eleven years, we revel in each other, growing together, loving each other. Every day is spent with the person I hold the most dear. She keeps me sane, keeps me human.
So today, in 2011, I can honestly say that my marriage is more powerful than most. It goes up to 11.