How did you meet your husband? I have to laugh at this question. We certainly didn’t meet in a conventional way, that’s for sure. However, it was memorable, which I guess has to count for something.
Mike and I were introduced to each other during the summer of 1988. I had recently started dating a guy who worked at a local radio station where Mike worked and I was all caught up in the “glamour” of meeting all these radio personalities (I was 17 years old). I loved music and always listened to the radio and I knew the names of everyone who worked there so this was really exciting for me. I always wanted to work at the radio station.
You know how you always get a mental picture of someone when you hear their voice, but have no idea what they look like? Mike had this deep, strong voice like nothing I had ever heard before. He worked midnight – 6AM and I can remember always wondering what he looked like as I lied in bed listening to him. I was SO excited the night I knew I was going to meet him. The guy I was going out with was working so I decided to stop in. It was during the summer and Michael was working 6 – midnight this night. While I was there, Mike was doing a give-away and came on the intercom and asked if I liked Glass Tiger. He was giving away a cassette tape and wanted to know if I wanted it. Sure!!!
So over to the other control room I go to meet Mike. WHAT?????????? No way!!!! My mental moment certainly did not include red jogging pants, a lumberjack plaid shirt, a 10 day growth of beard (at least), sideburns half-way down his face, coke bottle glasses and hair that looked like it should have been cut months ago. To say I was devastated was the understatement of the year. Where was this tall, dark, handsome man I was expecting to be introduced to???
However, it gets better…
I said hi, (I tried not to let my disappointment show) and he said hi, and gave me the voucher for the cassette I “won”. We made small talk for a couple of minutes and then he looked at me and said…are you ready for this??….”I’m gonna marry you someday!” WHAT???? And before I knew what I was saying my response was, “I wouldn’t be caught dead on a date with you, let alone married to you.” Good grief. I left the control room and never did tell the guy I was seeing what he said.
Over the next little while I ran into Mike again and again at the radio station and at functions. We talked and started getting to know each other. He was so funny, and really a very nice guy. The fella I was dating seemed to get along with him pretty well and it was always fun to go into the station with him while Mike was working because there would be a lot of laughs.
One evening while I was at work at a local mall and my boyfriend was out of town playing a dance, Mike came into my store with his mother and his Aunt. We chatted and during the course of the conversation I told him that I had to try and get hold of my father to pick me up from work as boyfriend was away for the night. Mike told me that he could drive me home so I called Dad and told him not to bother. We went for a coffee and he took me home. I liked talking to him. He was a great guy. We were becoming very good friends and I found I could talk to him about anything. I laughed like I couldn’t remember laughing before and I started to really look forward to seeing him.
When boyfriend returned to town he wanted to know how I got home from work. To say that he was not impressed that Mike took me home was an understatement. He was furious! He was a very insecure man and our relationship had long since started to deteriorate. Mike and I talked about that a lot. I wasn’t happy, but I couldn’t see that. I know now it’s because I was totally infatuated with him, for whatever reason. He was ten years older than me and in so many ways began to strip me of my identity. He tried to keep me from my friends and ostracize me from my family. Everyone else could see that, except me. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?
Anyway, I stopped talking to Mike after that. Boyfriend and I became engaged and we were happy. No one else was. My parents told me it was him or them. They were devastated and made me give the engagement ring back. I was told I had to finish university and then we would see where things went. He took the ring back and they agreed to letting him get me my hope chest instead. We continued dating for a while and things became progressively worse. I found that I started calling Mike at any chance I could, just to talk. He was a good friend and I missed talking to him. He tried so hard to make me see that I was wasting my time and my life with this other fella, but I was so confused and didn’t know what to do. Always, in the back of my mind I remembered what Mike said to me during our initial meeting and I thought he had ulterior motives.
One night, Mike was at my house for supper (boyfriend was again out of town). Mom and Dad thought he was fantastic. He got along great with them, was very respectful and didn’t mind spending time with the family. What a switch that was. After supper Mom and Dad went out and Mike and I were there talking. He told me that he couldn’t continue to be caught in the middle of my relationship with the other fella. I had to make a decision. I had to chose. He couldn’t handle talking with me and spending time with me knowing how I was destroying my life. He was concerned with the grief I would have to take if boyfriend found out about the friendship we had. He was scared for me and didn’t want me being hurt. That night I chose my boyfriend. Michael walked out of my life. I was heartbroken, not because I was attracted to him, but because I felt like I had just lost my best friend. Once again, I chose a man who could offer me next to nothing over someone who had my best interests at heart. What was I doing?? Oh, how love can be blind.
Finally, after many incidents and continued heartache, boyfriend and I broke up for good in February of 1990. I was lost. I didn’t know how to be “Tracey” anymore and I withdrew into a shell that I thought I’d never come out of. I had lost contact with all my friends and I didn’t want to hear “I told you so” from my family. Other than going to classes and work I stayed in the house. I became trapped in a world of sitting down in the rec room in my rocking chair and did absolutely nothing else. As unhappy as I was in my previous relationship I wanted him back in my life. I missed having “someone” to be with. I missed feeling like I was somebody’s world, however distorted it was. I was falling into a deep depression.
It was a Sunday night, April 2, 1990 to be exact and I was doing what I had been – sitting in my rocking chair feeling very sorry for myself. For whatever reason, for the first time since the break-up, Michael popped into my head. I had to talk to him. But could I call him? What if he was seeing someone? What if he didn’t want to talk to me? What if he told me to get lost? *sigh* What should I do? I sat with the phone in my hand for the longest time and finally mustered up the courage to make the call. His mother answered the phone and my voice was shaking like crazy I asked if Michael was home. “No, I’m sorry he’s not. Who’s calling?” “It’s Tracey phoning.” “Tracey?” and I told her my last name. “No dear, he’s gone downtown, but he shouldn’t be too long.” “Oh, ok, could you please tell him I phoned?” After she said yes, I hung up the phone and continued with my rocking marathon. The rest of the night came and went and the phone didn’t ring. I went to bed, fell asleep and suspected I may not hear from him.
The next evening we were all just coming in the house and the phone was ringing. I ran and grabbed it and much to my surprise I hear “Hi there.” It was Michael. My heart started beating, I smiled immediately and I got butterflies in my stomach like never before. Since we had last spoken I got my own phone line down in my bedroom so I asked him if it was ok if I called him back in a minute. We hung up and I flew down over the basement steps without a foot touching the ground. I can remember Mom asking me what that was all about as I headed downstairs and I yelled back that it was Michael. She told me afterwards she hadn’t heard me sound so happy in a long time.
I didn’t want to appear too eager so I took a few minutes before I phoned him back. It was like I was 15 years old. My palms were sweaty, my heart was still pounding and I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life. I knew he would have heard about the break-up and I didn’t want to come across as being on the rebound. I wasn’t. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I just wanted my friend back. We talked, we laughed, I cried. It was a fantastic conversation that lasted for absolute hours. It was as though we had never stopped talking. He asked me if I wanted to go out the following evening and I said sure. We were going to go out for Chinese food. The following day I floated on air! I was so excited! I must have tried on every piece of clothing I owned and started getting ready hours before he was to pick me up. Finally he arrived and we drove back over to his hometown (about 20 minutes away) arriving at his favorite restaurant. The staff recognized him and were very friendly. We sat there for hours talking, eating and laughing. It was a phenomenal night. Little did I know that this night was the start of the rest of my life.
The following day was his Mom’s birthday and Mike picked me up so we could go shopping for her. She collected Trolls, so we decided to get her a Troll Cake and we also got her a pair of fuzzy bear paw slippers. I was nervous to go over and see his Mom and his grandmother but I was assured I would be welcomed with opened arms. It was a fun evening with lots of laughs. I was made to feel at home from the moment I walked in the door. It was such a wonderful feeling. It was now April 5, 1990 and I was the happiest girl in the world.
Where this was going, I had no idea. I was beginning to hope it was going somewhere, but he was my friend, my buddy. How could it go somewhere else? Could I let myself get close to someone in that way again? Too much to think about right now. I would just be satisfied that I was smiling again and having fun. There’s no need to rush into anything, right? A guy and a girl can be just friends with no strings attached, right? I still hurt, I still didn’t know how to trust, and I was still scared of being hurt again. I had a lot of baggage that I was still dealing with and had to get things straightened out in my head. As much as I was enjoying our time together I was looking at all the “what-if’s” again, and he knew that. I had many many walls built up around my heart. Was Michael the man to tear them down?
Until next time…