The following piece was originally published by a since defunct site nearly twelve years ago. On this, the 44th anniversary of the day I met my wife, I am sharing it on HumorOutcasts.com. Though it is not a humorous piece, it is a true story of the power of love and persistence. One thing has changed since this piece was first written. We have since been blessed with two more perfect grandchildren giving us a total of five.
A Love Story
Dedicated to the Love of My Life
As we prepare to hang up, I hold my breath. “Jo,” I say.
“Yes?” she asks.
“I love you.”
Silence on the other end, then, “Bye.”
I smile as I place the phone down on the receiver. It isn’t as if I expected her to tell me she loved me anyway. After all, we have never actually seen each other; but I am finally able to let her know how I feel, and it is a relief.
As of that night, Jo and I had been talking to each other nearly every weeknight over a period of several months and there was little we didn’t know about each other.
Our phone calls had started out as nothing more than polite communications between workers for the same company at sites 150 miles apart. As days went by and familiarity set in, the length of the calls became longer and longer.
We really had little in common. Jo had grown up on a farm in the wide-open spaces of central Illinois; I was born in Chicago and raised in the relatively fast-paced and congested northwest suburbs. Our early lives may have been as different as night-and-day, but there was something there–at least from my perspective. And I was slowly falling for a voice on the phone.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was Jo’s low, soft, sexy voice—I had never heard anything so beguiling. It came to a point where I would race to the phone in hopes that she would be at the other end. I would think about her every night, wondering what she looked like. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I could hear her voice as I lay awake at night wrestling with the fact that I was falling in love with someone I had never seen.
Before long, I was lovesick—actually physically in pain. And it became obvious to my mom that something was up.
“What is wrong with you?” she asked.
“I’m in love,” I said as gurgling sounds emanated from my stomach.
I could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. How could he be in love? Where has he been hiding her? Is my son nuts?
“In love? With whom?” she asked.
“I don’t know-I’ve never met her.” I responded.
Yep, he’s nuts!
As absurd as that all sounds, and as understandable as my mom’s reaction was, the truth is that love has no boundaries. It requires no explanations. It is intangible, yet real. And it waits on no one.
For the first time in my life, I was in love and the fact that I had never actually seen the girl of my dreams was somewhat irrelevant to me. Naturally, I wanted to see Jo. I wanted to be with her and hold her; but I was already in love with her and I was certain that meeting face-to-face would only solidify my feelings for her.
Finally, I had reached a point where I was so in love with her that I asked Jo to marry me. Again, this was done over the phone before we had even seen each other. Now I was engaged to my mystery girl!
With marriage in our future, Jo and I decided it was time we arranged to meet. And so, it was on December 6 that we finally saw each other for the first time. My mom, unaware that I was engaged, showed concern that I may be setting myself up for heartbreak. “So, you’re really going to go meet her, huh?” she asked.
“I love her, Ma. I’m gonna go see her.”
“What if she has a nose in the middle of her forehead?” she laughed.
“Ma, I’m sure if either of us pukes, we’ll go our separate ways.”
Well, not only did Jo not have any facial features out of place, but she almost took my breath away as I laid my eyes on her for the first time. She looked very much the way I had pictured her–even better–and any doubt I may have had was washed completely away. I knew that I was looking at my future wife.
Nervously, I sat down next to Jo and held her hand in mine. It was strange that this woman I had talked so freely with on the phone for months was now right there with me–and I didn’t know what to say!
We chatted, though I couldn’t tell you what about. We were too busy sneaking peaks at one another without openly gazing. I’m sure that we were both wondering what the other was thinking. I have no idea what Jo thought of me, but I do know that I wanted to yell out loud to anyone within earshot, “Wow, I’ve hit the jackpot!” Her eyes were so beautiful, her smile so sweet, and that voice was even sexier minus the static and distance of a telephone call.
We were together but a couple of hours when it came time for us to part. As we said goodbye, we kissed for the first time, then Jo asked, “So do you still want to get married?”
“Hell yes!” I replied.
“No shit?” she asked surprised.
As soon as I walked in the door, my mom asked, “So did she have an eye in the middle of her forehead?”
“No,” I said. “Actually, she is about as good as it gets!”
The next time Jo and I talked on the phone, we began to make serious plans about our wedding, eventually deciding on April 10 as our wedding date, which is also Jo’s birthday. And so between that day in December when we first saw each other and our wedding day, we took turns driving back and forth each weekend to be together.
Jo came up to spend New Year’s weekend with me and it was then–the same day she met my mom–that we announced we were getting married. Naturally, my mom was shocked, and no doubt thought that I had totally lost my mind; but by the time the wedding day arrived, she had begun to understand why I was in love with Jo.
Thirty-three years have passed since the night I first told Jo that I loved her. And as we approach our 32nd wedding anniversary I think back to that night and how easy it would have been to ignore my feelings. It would have been so simple to listen to the voice in my head that told me that I couldn’t possibly be in love with someone I had never seen. But I knew better. I knew that I had been talking over the past several months to the love of my life.
And now, with three terrific children, three perfect grandchildren and more than three decades of wonderful companionship, I am so glad that I was able to muster up the courage to say the words to the girl on the other end of the line, “Jo…I love you.”