10 years ago today, me and a girl went out on a date. Everything else in my life has followed from that day in my life as surely as night follows day.
When Vicki and I started dating, I was what polite company would call "between opportunities" and what impolite company called a high school dropout. One year later, I had finally completed high school. One year after that, I was entering university with a substantial scholarship. Four years after that, I had graduated with highest honours and was moving in with Vicki. Two years after that, she agreed to marry me, despite the fact that I was in the middle of finishing a second degree. One year after that we bought a house. And three months ago yesterday we were made man and wife by the powers vested in our officiant by the Province of Ontario and the Castle Grayskull.
Yes, we had the officiant say that. If you've got a problem, get your own wedding. Were there Imperial Storm Troopers at our wedding? Why yes, yes there were.
Not too bad for a relationship that started with dinner at a restaurant that no longer exists and a viewing of The Cell.
I could go on, of course. I could talk about the good times, the bad times, how happy we make each other, and how every once in a while we want to kill each other with whatever blunt object is handy. But frankly, none of that is as startling to me as the massive changes in my life since we met.
The thing I remember about the days before Vicki was how angry I was. I still get angry, and maybe too often, but back then I was angry the way I'm a mammal--angry at my failures in school, angry at my parents (hey, I was 19) angry about nearly everything. I look back and simply cannot understand why. Since meeting Vicki, it just seemed so much easier to be happy.
I always assumed that boys learned to be men from the men around them, and that's true--we can learn the how and whats of manhood from out fathers, uncles, and friends. What I didn't learn until I met Vicki was the why. Without her, I probably would have muddled through my life in one way or another--I like to think I have some innate abilities--but there's no doubt in my mind my life would be poorer and I wouldn't have accomplished what I have without her. Her love for me gave me clarity and focus, and to this day when I'm confused, lost, or unable to choose a path forward, I know that she's there to help me make the right choice or love me if I make the wrong one.
Vicki, I love you more than spaghetti and more than Babylon 5. I hope you're okay with the last 10 years, because I'm a non-smoker and probably have another four or five decades ahead of me. If you'll have them, they're all yours.