The Omaha World Herald, my daily paper, has been running "How Did You Meet?" stories about the different ways couples hooked up. Two gold wedding rings illustrate each story.
How did these Herald couples get together? Well, locking keys in the car did it for one. "Something clicked" for another. A third had to overcome a German-English language barrier.
I thought about submitting my story, "False Pregnancy Forces Couple to Marry," but I wasn't certain it would be appropriate for such a family paper as the Herald. What do you think?
Here it is:
Tom was the only person I knew when I arrived in New York City in 1960 after 19 years living almost entirely in Nebraska. I didn't actually know Tom, but I had his phone number from a university classmate. Tom worked for the Associated Press, which impressed me, so I looked him up.
Bald, kind of heavy set, and twelve years older than I, Tom had a nimble sense of humor that I liked. He took me for drinks and for regular swings in the hay, easy enough for him to do even though I wasn't wildly attracted to him. But in those days, I never said no. Maybe it was the booze, or maybe my periodic manias, or maybe my delayed reaction to my teenage sexual abuse. Who knows? Maybe a heightened sense of Midwestern politeness. Whatever.
Anyway, I found a job, probably some mindless typing work, with a stunning boss. Sol. A young manager, in his late twenties. Sophisticated. Smart dresser. Used a tad of cologne. Bedroom eyes. He could make me cream just explaining my next stupid task.
His apartment had that designer look, a dozen masculine shades of brown plus nubby textures. There, occasionally, he taught me how to do things that I didn't know people ever did to one another.
When he saw that I was smitten, he explained that he wasn't the marrying kind, and I could tell he meant it. He happened to be out of town on business when my period stopped, and I knew, I just knew, that it was his and he wouldn't claim it. Of course, it could have been his or Tom's or who knows who else with whom I might have had a one-nighter. But I knew, in that way that women know, that I was pregnant and it was Sol's.
Hysterical, I wept my plight into Tom's ears. "What am I going to do?"
"That's easy." Tom slugged down the rest of his martini. "I'll marry you."
Amazed, I accepted.
What choice did I have?
I told my folks. Tom and I set the date, a couple months away. We rented a church, the famous Little Church Around the Corner. Then before we said our vows, my period arrived.
I badly wanted to bow out of the wedding, but Tom had been so darn nice, I couldn't figure out any polite way to refuse him.
So I didn't.
When I called Sol to tell him I was getting married, he laughed. "You'll come back, Sweetheart. They all do."
Which made me so mad I vowed I'd never call him again, never ever ever ever.
I walked down the aisle in a blue gown, not white. At least I wasn't a hypocrite. By then, I truly was pregnant. And it was Tom's.
P.S. When, after several months, I gave in and called Sol, he had left the place where we used to work. And he never did give me his home phone number. So that was that.