There was a time when I used to wonder what it took to make a good marriage, and while I was wondering about that, I was also giving some thought as to whether I had what it took to be half of that twosome that’s required for it. I hadn’t had much success with the first one, and the second was a disaster, so as you can imagine I had absolutely no confidence in any ability on my part to make another one work, much less last forever. If you knew anything about my life you’d understand why, but that’s another subject.
By the time, I met Tracey, I’d had a number of years in which I’d been alone, and surprisingly living life with a modest degree of success, so when I met her I was feeling a little better about myself. At least, I was holding down a job, meeting my responsibilities, and even had a few friends, so life by my standards was pretty good. I was fragile though, keeping it together, but it wouldn’t have taken much to break me. Still, I was lonely, and no matter how much I’d tried to kill it, that dream of wanting a wife and family still lurked around my heart like a ghost staying at home.
I didn’t meet Tracey in the usual way, at least not usual for me. I met her online in a christian chatroom. She had an early picture of Barbara Mandrell as her avatar, and stupid me at the time didn’t even realize it. She even said it wasn’t her in her tagline, and I still didn’t get it until later. Much later.:) Feel free to think whatever thought you want to about that. I’ve probably thought the same thing about myself. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I proved most women right in their opinions toward men and their intelligence, but there it is. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I was so smitten with that picture of Barbara, and the very funny and sarcastic things this woman behind the picture was saying that I never thought of anything else.
It turned out that meeting Tracey that way was about as perfect a way to meet the woman who would become my wife as could be. For one thing she lived in North Carolina, and I lived in Oklahoma, so at least I couldn’t screw up our relationship in person. When I think of all the hours we talked in that chatroom it blows my mind. For at least 3 months (and probably much longer) I think all I did was work, sleep, eat, and live in that chatroom. Finally, I had the perfect relationship. I could share my life with a great woman, and for once I wouldn’t be close enough to her to mess it up.
I don’t know how long we went on like that (never could keep track of time), but she was all I thought about. Such an amazing personality, fantastic wit, great looking (I was seeing Barbara 🙂 and just so wonderful to me that I couldn’t stand not to see her, and spend as much time with her as possible. That ghost lurking around in my heart was clanging so loud in there all I could seem to hear were bells. We were talking one night as we usually did laughing and cutting up, and I was just typing away. Suddenly, it was on the screen; I can’t give you any of the details because (honestly) I can’t remember, and 12 years later I’m still trying to figure out how it happened, but the words, “Will You Marry Me?” were on the screen, and so was the answer! Talk about shock and awe, part of the shock for me was that I knew I meant it, but just couldn’t believe I’d done it. Like a tornado ripping through an Oklahoma wheat field, I was suddenly back on the same kind of path that had perviously ripped through my life before and left everything around me flat. To put it bluntly, I was scared out of my mind.
While my fingers were hovering over the keyboard, she’d already put together a plan to come out to Oklahoma, and she’d be there the following Monday (I think it was Monday). I have to tell you I had about a thousand things go through my mind as I sat in front of the computer seeing all her excitement spill out across the screen. I’d like to say that the thought of telling her not to come didn’t cross my mind, but I’d be lying. Still, as I sat there, fingers hovering over the keys, my mind flooded with thoughts of past failures, and all the harm I’d caused in past relationships; I just couldn’t tell her not to come. Ever wondered what the best decision is that you’ve ever made? I can put my finger right on it. You’ll have to read the next one to find out more.:)