Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tequila and a Bullet: Our Love Story

No, I'm not talking about some weird Quentin Tarantino rom-com.  As promised last time, it's the story of how M and I met and eventually got married.  Obligatory censor's warning included for sexual content and graphic violence.  Everyone under 18 gone now?  Ok, good.  Let's get started.

Picture it.  Ottawa, 2005.

 
I learned everything I know about storytelling from Sophia Petrillo. 

A beautiful young girl leaves her family and moves halfway across the country to take a new job.  She meets the man who will be her future husband at a mutual friend's housewarming party.

OK, so the story of how we actually met is pretty lame.  Bear with me, it gets better.

M and I hit it off and spent all night chatting, and I had a feeling he might ask me out.  But as I would later learn, my husband is nothing if not a procrastinator, so he took his sweet goddamn time doing it.  So long, in fact, that I had started dating someone else and had to regretfully turn him down.  By the time I was single again about a month later, M was himself taken and would remain so for two whole years.  I moved on, but always kind of thought of him as the one that got away.  When he and his long-term girlfriend finally broke up, I circled the carcass of their relationship like a vulture hoping to pick up the spoils.  But strangely (to me, anyway), M didn't seem interested and ended up in yet another relationship with someone else.  I took my bruised ego and sulked off, vowing never to give him another thought.  Which would be easy, because I had just found out that I would be transferring my organization's office in Toronto in a few months.

In January 2009 I was going on vacation to Mexico with a group of friends, and found out at the last minute that M had split from his most recent girlfriend and had been encouraged to tag along to lift his spirits.  Instead of being excited, I was actually kind of aggravated.  I'd given up on this guy, but I knew that with alcohol comes sluttiness (for me, anyway!) and I really, really didn't want to waste my week trying to get his attention.  Well, that lasted until about the third shot of tequila, and we ended up (finally!) hooking up on the beach on the first night of the trip.  We stumbled back to his hotel room...where I promptly passed out on the bed and he spent the night praying to the porcelain god.


When I awoke the next morning, I felt a) terribly hungover and b) mortified.  I had no idea how M was going to act about all this, or if we would spend the whole next week being completely awkward around each other and ruin the vacation for everyone.  We ended up being cool about it, and then the unexpected happened: after dinner on the second night (a totally sober one since most of us couldn't handle the thought of more booze yet) M asked me if I wanted to come back to his room again.  We fooled around some more, and with consensual faculties intact we ended up having sex.  We had a brief conversation where we agreed that, since I was headed to Toronto in six months, this would be a no-strings-attached situation and we'd just have fun for the next little while without worrying about the future.

Now ladies.  We ALL know how well most women are able to compartmentalize our feelings, and remain completely emotionally detached from a guy that we've been pining over for the better part of four years.  I was pretty sure I couldn't do it, and yet threw myself into the situation anyway knowing that heartbreak was coming in six short months.  M and I went on some dates, watched a lot of Battlestar Galactica, and did the naked tango on the regular for a few months, but never discussed the inevitable.  It was destined to be a bad situation.

And then M got shot.

 
I'm totally resisting my urge to leave you with a cliffhanger right now.

One day in March, after we'd been "dating" for about three months, M went to a shooting range with a couple of buddies who are in the army.  He's a bit of a military enthusiast and though he doesn't own a gun, he'd gone shooting before and is apparently a pretty good shot, so I had no reason to worry.  No reason, that is, until two of his friends showed up at my office to tell me that M had had a small accident at the range and was in the hospital.  One of those fuckers actually said to me, "He's fine, he just needs a few stitches.  You should call him now."  So I, a bit freaked out but reassured that he was OK, called his phone.

A clearly drug-enhanced M answered and when I asked what happened, he slurred: "Don't worry, baby.  The bullet went right through."

I halted, then glanced at "it's just stitches" guy (who looked sheepish).  "The bullet went right through what, M?"

"My leg."

I resisted the urge to punch "it's just stitches" guy and told M I was on my way to meet him at the hospital.  The full story, as I would later learn, was this: after firing a bunch of rounds, M had gone to put the gun back in the holster he was wearing on his hip.  As it was a chilly day, he was also wearing a big fleecy sweatshirt, the kind that has elastic loops at the bottom to cinch it tighter.  One of the loops caught around the trigger as he was pushing the gun down into the holster, and BAM!  The gun fired.  The bullet entered the top outside of his calf, travelled between his tibia and fibula (I'll just give you a second to absorb how absolutely miniscule the chance of that happening was, as opposed to shattering one of his leg bones) and exited on the inside of his leg, just above his ankle.  (Note: for those of you shouting "why wasn't the safety on??" I'll explain as best I can, since I know nothing about firearms, that this type of gun doesn't have a safety as such.  Rather, the pull load on the trigger is so heavy that it by itself is deemed impossible to fire accidentally.  To which I say a big fat HAH!)

The result of having your casual sex partner who you secretly have genuine feelings for get shot is going to be one of two things: either you're going to cut and run because hospitals and surgeries = scary, or it's going to bring you closer together, and damn fast.  In our case, it was obviously the latter.  I quickly leaped into "serious girlfriend" mode, spending days at the hospital while M went through numerous surgeries to release the pressure that was building inside his calf and then do a skin graft to sew it all back up again.  (Warning: graphic content but if you are curious this is the surgery he had and yes, his leg looked almost exactly like those pictures.  It's still a pretty heinous scar.)  It was only after meeting his mom and dad for the first time in a hospital room (fun times!) that it occurred to me that maybe I should ask M for his thoughts on having me around so much and whether or not it was something he actually wanted.  Lucky for both of us, he did.  (Although I did have a laugh later when he told me that, immediately after the gunshot while he was still on the ground being attended to by the range safety officer, he had been asked if he had a wife or girlfriend or anyone who should be notified.  He says that he was verging on answering "it's complicated..." but then just went with "yeah, call my girlfriend".)

M and I were pretty much inseparable during his recuperation, which took several months.  Although his mom had come to town to stay with him and help him out, I headed over to his place after work pretty much every day.  My move to Toronto was looming, but with everything that was going on we still hadn't talked about what was going to happen.  We'd been through so much together that I couldn't imagine splitting up.  I wondered if our planned breakup still stood.  Finally one day I got the courage to ask him what he wanted to do about it, and we agreed to give long distance a try.  Shortly thereafter he proposed, and found himself a position in Toronto and moved to join me.

And that, my friends, is the story of our relationship.  The way I figure it, the moral of the story kind of depends on your frame of mind.  If you're a hopeless romantic, it's this: that true love will eventually win out, no matter how bad your timing and how many obstacles you face.  And if you're a cynic, it's this: don't play with guns.  You might end up shot.  Or worse...married.



30 comments:

  1. I love this story! I mean, talk about "meant to be!!"

    Not to steal your thunder AT ALL, but I just have to share something funny that you and I have in common... Eric and I also have a bullet in our "why we finally ended up together story." Loooong story short, we were dating on and off for years before one of our breaks seemed like it was for good. I was in a stable relationship and the guy was even rumored to be ring shopping. But then on Easter Sunday 2009, Eric's gun misfired and a bullet went straight through his foot. I found out on Facebook and tried not to let the new guy see how much it affected me. But when I found out that under the influence of extreme pain killers he kept calling out MY name in the hospital, the charade was over. I ditched the boyfriend, got engaged to Eric a few months later, and we were married in a year.

    Isn't it crazy how guns bring people together??

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    1. Holy crap dude, seriously? Who would have known that there'd be a sub-set of infertile people who actually got together with their spouses through gun misfires? That is too weird and coincidental. We should start a support group. For the guys, that is. If Eric gets anywhere near as many jokes as M does when people find out, I think they might need it.

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    2. It is just beyond weird that you both have the same story!!!!!!

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    3. Firearms are, like, the most romantic.

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    4. Oh, yeah. Ever hear the phrase, "Ya really shot yourself in the foot?" He gets that one A LOT.

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  2. What a story! Obviously the universe wanted you two to be together! Too bad someone had to get shot to make it happen!

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    1. What's really cute is that M has said that, even with all the crap that went along with it, he'd get shot again in a heartbeat if that's what it would take for him to realize we needed to be together. Awwww!

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  3. "When he and his long-term girlfriend finally broke up, I circled the carcass of their relationship like a vulture hoping to pick up the spoils."

    And that, right there, is why you're one of my FAVORITE BLOGGERS OF ALL THE TIME.

    Seriously adorable story. Jesse and I hooked up roughly 5 minutes after our first date. Ok. It was our second date I think? And we were horizontal for our first kiss. Maybe that's why we can't have kids. God is saving me from having to tell our kids that I got their daddy drunk and seduced him. Fair enough.

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    1. Yeah, M likes to tell people that I got him drunk and took advantage of him. He's not wrong...I was definitely the instigator in the tequila part of the story. We gloss over that part of the story for children and old people.

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  4. Aramis, you truly have a gift for storytelling. Seriously! I can't believe he shot himself, and wow to the fact that the bullet went BETWEEN his tibia and fibula! Nothing like a gunshot wound to make it all real for the two of you. This is a great story. Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. I know! The range safety officer later told us that it's the kind of shot that you couldn't make even if you were TRYING. He was extremely lucky, the bullet could have shattered one or both bones in his leg (meaning more surgery and pins), it could have hit his ankle (same thing), or it could have taken out a couple of big nerve clusters (meaning a permanently dropped foot). As it is he just has a bad-ass scar and a slightly reduced range of motion in his foot/ankle. Talk about lucky!

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  5. P.S. I also can't believe that you and Amanda at Burnt Toast have this in common! Haha!

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  6. I found your blog a few weeks ago. What a funny story! Beats mine, my now-husband and I had been dating for three weeks when he came over to my apartment and found me flat on my back unable to move having thrown out my back picking up a paperback book. After a trip to the emergency room he settled me in *his* bed for the next week, basically waiting on me hand and foot until the drugs wore off and I could walk again. I knew then he was a keeper. :)

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    1. Are you sure he didn't somehow engineer the situation that caused you to throw out your back, thereby ensuring that he'd have to take care of you? Are you absolutely certain he didn't "Misery" you?? 'Cause that ain't cool. Glad you found my blog!

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  7. OMG I totally love this. Your story could and should be a movie!!! :)

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    1. Just as long as I'm not played by Katherine Heigl...

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  8. I love this story! Thank you for sharing. :)

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  9. Love it! :) There's nothing like a medical emergency to bring one's true feelings to the surface. That's how I wound up married, too...

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  10. I think it is VERY safe to say that you guys were made to be with each other. Great story and thanks for sharing!

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  11. Jaw on the freaking GROUND! *shudder* Hooray for happy endings, though!

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  12. Oh my gosh this is such a great story!!! I definitely think you two were meant to be together. Times of big stress always bring out the true emotions. Thanks for sharing this story!

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  13. What a great story! Thanks for sharing it!

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  14. Guns and tequila, tools of fate.....

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  15. This is an awesome story! And the part with the vulture and the carcass of their relationship was particularly well-described!
    I'm trying to sort out if H first met my parents when I was in the hospital (for endometriosis, much less exciting) but I think that wasn't their very first encounter... How great that you asked him whether he actually wanted this.

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  16. HA! Love the last line. It was inevitable that you two would be together, wasn't it. :) Love the story. Bob and I pale in comparison.

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  17. This is a pretty awesome story. The romantic in me loves, loves, loves the meant to be aspect of it. Seriously, after all my break ups, or as I slowly realized my crushes were only one-sided, I dreamed of how the "meant to be" story would play itself out. Didn't happen. Our story isn't nearly so romantic, I think all of the romance my husband had to offer the world was used up with his previous relationship--high school sweethearts, elaborate, romantic proposals, the whole 9 yards. But they never got married and we did, so it looks like practicality is romance for us (and I couldn't love him more). Unfortunately, it wouldn't make for a good rom com, with or without Katherine Heigl.

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  18. What a story! I'm going go with the "hopeless romantic" side and say you two were meant to be together. I'm so glad that M ended up ok!

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  19. Definitely meant to be. Nothing like a gunshot to bring two people together. I'm glad you managed to work out your bad timing and finally get together!

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  20. You two watched Battlestar Galactica together? -he should have know then that you were the one!
    -could have saved himself getting shot!

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  21. Holy smokes, that is quite possibly The Best How'd You Meet Your Husband story I have ever heard!

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I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!