There’s something about how-we-met stories. I can’t get enough of them.
How-we-met stories can instantly transport a conversation from small talk to familiarity. There’s something artistic about them. Ask a couple how they met, and you get an intimate glimpse of how beautifully orchestrated relationships can be.
A friend of mine recently put it this way: “It’s important to create poetry in your relationship.” A couple will play up more romantic plot points and downplay the banal. And in doing so--weaving together the best moments of increased intimacy, commitment, and joy--it crystallizes and reveals the essence of a relationship. It showcases the remarkable complementarity that itself is a work of art.
This came to mind recently when my parents recounted how they met. It struck me with its legendary dimension, perhaps because the fragility of my own existence hung in the balance of their mutual attraction.
My mother tells me that when she first shook my father’s hand she thought, “I need to remember this moment for the rest of my life.”
"Okay, October 15th, we were at a party. And you were wearing a plaid shirt and khaki pants, and hush puppies, and Air Force glasses. And you were sitting next to some girl on a couch and I was sitting—I was standing in the kitchen drinking a beer —I don’t even like beer, so I probably wasn’t really drinking it—and I had a red cashmere sweater on, with a white blouse underneath it—Peter Pan collar—and Levi jeans, and I had my hair cut in a Dorothy Hammil, and… I looked across the room and I saw you, and I didn’t know who you were, but I’d heard about you so I thought I knew maybe who you were, and all I can remember was thinking … that guy and I match.”
Only at the end of the party did my father approach my mother, stick out his hand, and say, “You must be Alison.” To which she replied, “You must be Brian.”
What struck me was how, when my mom recounted the meeting, she turned to my father, almost as if she was telling it to him more than me, inviting him to return to that memory together.
That’s the other benefit of telling these stories. The opportunity for my father to share in the telling of their story was an opportunity for him to woo my mother anew. By the end of our conversation, their eyes were red and full of tears, and they were holding hands.
The memory is alive, changing. Newly infused with each recitation by romantic instances and trials, and the significance of a life-long commitment to love and fidelity.
Recounting a first encounter confirms a couples’ relationship. The number of years, battles, and joys, since that moment gives the story even more emotional punch. It reminded me how important it is for couples to do this -- to recollect, to relive, to go back and remember how things were in the beginning. It keeps things fresh.
I’m not married, and so have no personal tale of romance to dispense yet. I confess my interest in romantic lore has been infused with hope to one day have a how-we-met story as thrilling as those artfully crafted courtships found in the best literature. And that’s really the value of how-we-met stories. Sharing romance stories is a kind of oral history, rekindling romance for both the tellers and listeners.
Have a great story about how you met? Submit “How We Met” stories to Verilyhere.
(Photo by Andrea Rose)