Eleven years ago in Japan, I met this beautiful, spunky Canadian girl at a Christmas party I'd gone to on a whim. She'd been dragged to it by her American roommate. We talked, we laughed, we liked each other.
As the beautiful, spunky girl was leaving the party, we exchanged numbers, and she told me she would call me the next week because she had tickets to a New Year's Eve party at a bar in Tokyo, called Sugar High. Days went by, but she didn't call.
Being me, I wasn't really surprised by this. But I did have another option. I'd met a cute Australian teacher at one of the branches of the English school I taught at, and she and her friend were going to watch the fireworks in Yokohama Bay. I could come along if I wanted.
I didn't want to.
I wanted to spend New Year's with the beautiful, spunky girl (who was also an English teacher), so I took a deep breath and gave her a call. She swore up and down that she had been planning to call me. I didn't believe her, but it didn't matter. We made plans to go for dinner at Elephant Cafe before meeting her American roommate and their other friends to go to Sugar High.
The beautiful, spunky girl and I didn't think the dinner was a date, but our friends told us it damn sure seemed like one. On the two-hour slow train ride from Mito (where I lived) to Tokyo that night, I told myself not to expect anything. Just have fun--enjoy dinner, have a few drinks, dance a little, and go back home when all was said and done.
And that's what happened (though, it was a bit more fun for the beautiful, spunky girl when my lips started twitching during dinner from the anaphylactic reaction the shrimp was giving me).
But I didn't die at dinner and we managed to enjoy it, and then we had more drinks than we could count at Sugar High, where we danced all night. When midnight struck, we kissed. It was nice and innocent.
Afterward, we went out for curry and naan to burn a little time before the first trains of the morning started running again. It had been the perfect night. But the beautiful, spunky girl and I were about to part ways. It hadn't been a date. Just a night of fun with some new and old friends.
And then, the beautiful, spunky girl's American roommate, Sara, pulled me aside as we made our way to the train station, and said, "You should come home with us. You can sleep in the living room."
Being me, I politely declined. But Sara insisted. She wouldn't take no for an answer. It was as if she knew what would happen that night. I certainly didn't.
As we got back to Sara and the beautiful, spunky girl's apartment, I started to settle into the tiny living room/kitchen. But Sara, the matchmaker she is, said it was too cold out there, I should sleep in the beautiful, spunky girl's room, and then produced an extra futon.
I didn't decline this time.
And me and the beautiful, spunky girl--Anne--have been together ever since. We liked each other so much, we got married the following year on Christmas Eve.
And now, ten years later, my beautiful, spunky wife, I'm so glad I called you.
I love you, and I look forward to another ten years with you.