Today, sometime well past supper time, it will be seven years since I clicked a link in an email from Match.com for three days of free, unlimited access. After cherry picking through the available profiles, I landed on a photograph of a tortoiseshell cat, sunning herself happily on the passenger seat of her human’s car. I lost the only electronic copy I had of his online profile, but suffice to say he had me with his lack of pretension and how – ack! – similar he was to me. I remember words about road trips and driving to Renfrew on a lazy Sunday afternoon for a burger, just because he could.
I remember being bemused by his user name, which had “Vic” in it. I mean, really, what were the chances of a Victoria finding an almost perfectly compatible Victor, anyway? As it turned out, it was part of a nickname given to him by a couple of guys he worked with for a moving company after he fell down the stairs backwards while shifting a heavy piece of furniture, and injured his back.
After I hit “send” on my reply, it was completely with the expectation that I would never hear back from him, ever. Such was my experience with online dating up to that point; I was probably 75 pounds heavier than I am now, and what I thought was a reasonable profile picture, with me fully made-up, taken sometime during my Mary Kay consultant days; apparently wasn’t.
Well, Gentle Reader, not only did “Vic” reply that very same evening, we exchanged MSN Messenger user names and spent the rest of the night chatting and flinging witty banter the way a gleeful toddler tosses his toys. I learned that his name was “Dave” (thank ye gods; the whole “Victor/Victoria” trope had lost its shine several hours prior), that he was 39 years old, worked full-time as a cabinetmaker, and lived alone in Boonieville with two cats. I told him that I was on the verge of being divorced (the judge would sign off on the decree on September 9th), and had three kids. Our conversation was so relaxed and easy that I decided I had nothing to lose and told him straight-up about my boys and about DD’s diabetes. I thought he would find an excuse to sign off and that would be the end of it.
I figure Dave was either brave, or crazy, or some ultimately endearing combination of the two, because the next night, we were back at it again, typing away and keeping me from dwelling too much on how much I missed my kids, who were off on vacation near the Kawartha Highlands with my family and left me behind as I had a job to go to and no available vacation time.
That, in short, is how Dave and I became acquainted. We met in person nine days after my divorce was finalized. I began introducing him to my kids in stages. DS9 was the first. Dave stuffed up his dislike of hospitals to stay with me at CHEO while DS9 was in for day surgery to remove a stent from his trachea. I wish I had footage of DS9′s reaction to Dave. My youngest child, who was tucked into my shoulder, looked Dave straight in the eye, pulled the Nuk out of his mouth, nodded his head, and tucked back into the crook of my arm.
When DD and DS14 met Dave, we spent the day down in Brockville at a Canada Day Fun Fair. DD was 3, and my oldest was 8. DD was loathe to let Dave go home without us, and as she watched him drive away, kept crying, “Don’t go, Mister Davey!”
I won’t tell you that everything has been sunshine and lollipops since then. Taking a chance on love after an emotionally-savage divorce did not come easily to me, and Dave was overwhelmed by the transition from bachelorhood with two cats to a family of five. But the learning curve of the past seven years, while steep, has been incredibly valuable, for all of us. I think we’re good to go for at least another seven.
(And if the good Lord is willing, let’s make that times seven.)
Happy Anniversary, baby.