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A love story of stalking, felines and an attempting shooting

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About a week before Valentine’s Day in 1995, I broke up with my boyfriend.

It wasn’t going anywhere, and I really didn’t want it to. He was nice, but he wasn’t what I was looking for. And with both Valentine’s Day and my birthday coming up, I figured it was kinder of me to end it sooner rather than later. I would be graduating in another few months and heading off to whatever assignment the Air Force assigned me to, and I was anxious to unshackle myself and move on.

About a month after Valentine’s Day in 1995, I met my future husband.

I wasn’t looking for a new boyfriend. But I was looking for this guy. You might even say (don’t look at me as I type this) that I was stalking him. At least, that’s how HE likes to tell the story now.

Okay, so I’d seen this guy at the gym on base. And I’d seen him in his car in the parking lot of my apartment building. And the car had a base sticker on it. And at the gym, I once heard someone call him “Kyle.”  And in our building, I once saw a piece of outgoing mail perched above the mailboxes with a return address label with the name “Kyle” on it.

And, last but not least, he was pretty darned good-looking.

I toyed idly with ideas of how to meet him, most of which were entertaining but not at all realistic – like locking myself out of my apartment clad only in a silk robe and calling upon him for help. But really, I wasn’t inclined to meet anyone new. I was busy unshackling.

Until one evening when I was studying for my second quarter final exams, and I got up to get a glass of water and noticed police lights flashing in the parking lot outside my window.

It wasn’t a particularly good neighborhood, but I’d never seen the cops around before. Out of curiosity, I ventured into the hallway to see what was going on.

Kyle was out there too.

Turned out, someone had tried to get into a car that – oops! – wasn’t theirs, and the actual owner of the car had – oops! – overreacted a bit and – whoa! – took a shot at the perceived thief. No one was hurt, but as a single girl living alone, I wasn’t exactly reassured.

So we began talking and discovered that we were both studying for finals, as he was in graduate school at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Then he asked if I wanted to come over to study…and meet his cats.

Coincidentally, I had a cat myself – the neediest, most irritating feline I’d ever known, and I was trying to find it a new home. Cat ownership was not at the top of my list of desirable traits in a new boyfriend. But I smiled and told him I’d love to meet his cats – a little white lie.

In his apartment, he quizzed me on my Food Microbiology notes – E. coli and C. botulinum and such. And I later learned that in quizzing me, he told a lie of omission – that he’d been raised as a Christian Scientist, denying the existence of the organisms I was studying.

But from these inauspicious beginnings – an attempted shooting, a false interest in cats, a feigned acceptance of scientific concepts – sprang a thoroughly unexpected relationship that has endured much more than the challenges of our first meeting.

We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary in a much better neighborhood, without any cats, and with a healthy respect for foodborne illness and the bacteria that cause it. And while we may not be riding off into the sunset, I’d still say we’re well on our way toward living happily ever after.

-Julie Marsh

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  • comment avatar Ana February 12, 2008

    What a great story and congratulations on the newest addition to the your family!

  • comment avatar Lilith February 12, 2008

    How wonderful! I love the story. Being single myself, I can only hope to meet someone (Though, I must agree… catless is a WONDERFUL way for them to be)

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to the world Oliver, perhaps sometime soon we can get little Suzanne who is about two weeks older than Oliver together!!

  • comment avatar Leigh February 14, 2008

    Congrats on your new little addition! What a great story about how the two of you met…

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