Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dangerous Music

When I met my husband, well, when we first spoke, it was doing a job together. We were both actors and were hired to do an industrial for the Pacific Science Center. We'd met before, backstage at a play he had done. I'd gone with my bad boyfriend of the moment, I'd said "hello, good show", and he walked right by me as though he didn't hear me. Turns out, he didn't hear me. So I don't wake him up in the middle of the night to argue about it all these years later. Well, hardly ever.

But on this particular occasion, he was cast as world-weary private dick (insert inevitable joke here), and I was cast as a sexy come-hither scientist (insert blatant disbelief here). I was skinny and had short hair, and had the market cornered on playing spunky orphans (Anne of Green Gables, Plum in Nancy & Plum, and Kit in The Witch of Blackbird Pond), or daffy comic relief maids in British comedies. But sexy? I never got hired for sexy.

We had a blast that day, I recall. My boyfriend had dumped me the day before via telephone from some regional theater job where he had fallen in love with some sexy young actress, and my ego was bruised, but I had mailed off a letter filled with vitriol on my way to this job. Then I walked in the door to see Charley, in a white shirt, with the sleeves rolled up to reveal his beautiful forearms, and a fedora perched on his head, and I was instantly smitten. But it wasn't until later in the afternoon, after we'd gone a few rounds and done a few takes that I realized we were in a room full of people and we were the only people in on our jokes. His humor went right to my core, and it wasn't until then that I realized what I had been sadly lacking in all of my romantic forays: someone who could dish it, and take it, who had a true sense of humor, and someone who was as smart as he was sexy. I seem to recall a producer from the shoot who took me to coffee later, but I couldn't be bothered. He wore pastel argyle socks and tried too hard.

After we wrapped that first evening (that's biz talk for finishing the job), we went down the street to a happening mexican restaurant and got drunk on margaritas. The innuendo was flying, but so was the conversation. I learned that he had just broken up with someone recently too (although I won the prize for, um, recent-ness), and as the evening wore on, I could only think of one thing: I seriously, seriously wanted to kiss him. We finished our drinks, and he walked me to my gigantic old car, and he kissed me long and slow until I was up on the hood. To this day it's an argument about who kissed who first, an argument, I might add, that I always win, because I know (after years of practice) just how to shut him up. Anyway, he followed me home on his motorcycle, and we spent the rest of the night, and pretty much the rest of the spring and summer, finding new ways to annoy my neighbors.

When I think of that time, I think of us on a motorcycle, fresh oysters, cold beer, baseball & concerts on the pier. We saw
Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
, and Shawn Colvin with Richard Thompson. And like all lovers, we had a song. It spoke of who we were then, or at least who we thought we were, who we thought we wanted to be. Mysterious, dark, somewhat dangerous. I can't hear this song without feeling the breeze off Puget Sound ruffling my faded cotton blouse, his leg pressed next to mine, the anticipation of his kisses. He swept me off my feet, and my life has never been the same. Now we're almost twenty years older, we're heavier, grayer and more responsible, but when I hear this song, I am 29 again, Red Molly on the back of his Vincent '52.


Kari said...

oh that's the prettiest story! and exactly what i need to find in a man. you lucky girl!!

Lolabola said...

never got hired for sexy? they must have read your blog (I know, I know it's years later)

suttonhoo said...

sweet merciful baby jesus.

that's the best story. ever.

Franklin5 said...

First: Pioneer Woman's unbelievably lengthy love story has got nothing on this one. I mean: SWOON.

Second: Annie, you are such a gorgeous writer. This is so beautiful and funny and luminous and artful that I want to frame it and hang it up.

Which, I suppose, Mr. F5 might find just the tiniest bit odd.

But that's my two cents, for whatever they're worth: this post is a masterpiece.

anniemcq said...

thank you all for your incredibly kind comments. I don't know if it's artful, I just wanted to say some nice stuff about my husband. And play that song. You guys make me feel all blushy. Thank you!

Kimberly said...

Great teaser - when does the book come out??? You've got a book in there I can just feel it. One day you'll find the time. I just hope I'm around to read it so I can say I knew you when...

Love the way you met and became one. If only they could all happen like that.

Melissa said...

Anne, you are one of my favorite people and I haven't even known you that long or outside of work but I love you dearly and this story is is pure and lovely....just like you!