It was his idea, to be honest, to write a nineties love story about us and intertwine it with my Memoirs From a Nineties Coffee Girl. When it comes right down to it, we’re an ordinary couple, but even ordinary people have great love stories — although I’m not sure the nineties was a time for great love stories. They did, however, have their nineties feel to them, which was perhaps different from the eighties love stories that involved playing inappropriate songs such as Just Call Me Angel at weddings, while the wedding party hopped around in bouffant prom-style dress.
One problem with love stories, of course, is their propensity to stop at the moment the couple is married or kisses or walks away together holding hands. They may have already engaged in a sexual relationship; they may have come together and fallen apart, but the end is always their entering into a lifetime of romantic soulmate togetherness. And then the real adventure is left out.
Let me not leave out the greatest adventure. But as the majority of it occurred outside the nineties, let me quickly run through a life together with a guy who struck as all wrong at the beginning. We’ve had four children together, done a little moving here and there, built a house, suffered through various training and education courses to achieve and build a very, very small worldly empire. Okay, so empire is not the word I was looking for. Cave is perhaps a better one. We’ve carved out a life amid the walls of the universal creation, which includes billions of carved out spaces: tide pools in a universal ocean that ebbs and flows. That last sentence HAS got to be a cliche, but who the hell cares? I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, which means I watched a lot of ebbing and flowing tides and examined almost as many tide pools.
Yes, it’s been a time of soulmate togetherness for the most part, although there was a time when I wondered if we had anything in common at all (we did and do — that was a small moment when I was floundering in my early thirties). However, it didn’t necessarily start out that way. In fact, it began with my believing he was all wrong, as I already said. I found him attractive, but he was fairly popular with the girls in our high school, and I tended to find that type of boy intolerable. Narcissistic (he turned out not to be). Obnoxious (okay, he is a little). The type who likewise found me intolerable, as well, as I’ve always suffered from what might be described as an off-putting personality.
Prickly, he called it (but he actually liked it). He also saw me as a girl that was almost pretty. I was only sixteen when we first met and was wan and scrawny; I grew into myself a lot and became attractive to him over the following year. Fortunately, my original distaste for him also grew into fondness. Here was a guy who could put up with my prickliness because he generally wasn’t a nice guy. Don’t mistake me; he was outwardly well-spoken and polite, but he wasn’t a nice guy. He never has been and never will be. It’s anathema to him to play a knightly fellow, riding a white horse and carrying a load of pompous speech on his back. As an extension, he can’t be manipulated or really moved in any tangible way. Manipulative feminine wiles shut him down in an instant.
Although I have the less dominant personality in the relationship, I can’t be moved much, either. I have a sixth sense for manipulation, which makes us a good match. I won’t attempt to manipulate him, if he doesn’t attempt to manipulate me (conditional statement that no doubt has a converse). Being direct is the only way to be. It save a lot of time, energy, miscommunication, and frustration.
This is an intro, as the title claims. This is the backdrop. We’ve had twenty-two years together, which is nothing, really. May we have twenty-two + more.
And now I will proceed to tell just the early parts — the early nineties coffee girl parts — as long as you remember that what came after is what made everything worthwhile.