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How I Met My Husband

This is Part III in the "How Did I Get Here?" series. See Part I and Part II.

I met my husband in a pub in London. The thing is, I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the area of Holland Park, it just kind of happened that way.

My first week in London was a whirlwind. By complete chance, my good friend Catie was in town on business. I stayed in her Leicester Square 5-star hotel, whizzed around in limos, saw a West End show, and we clubbed to our hearts content.

When Catie left, I needed to move to another area of London. I had already picked out a hostel that wasn’t too far away. There was a problem though, neither my cabbie nor I could find it in my guidebook.

It was after midnight and the cabbie and I improvised. We found a hostel in Holland Park that was still open.

The next day I found the closest pub to my new hostel, The Rat and Parrot. I sat down at a table to write in my journal and this old man kept talking to me about the Grand National. He wouldn’t stop!

The barman, Brendon, came over to save me. He asked me if I’d like to come over and sit at the bar with some of the regulars. Brendon introduced me to Colin and Andy, workmates who were staying at the B & B across the street from the pub.

I call this picture, which was taken that last weekend at the Bournemouth Pier, "Cheeky Andy."Colin was in his 60s and I figured Andy was pushing 40. I found out later that Andy was actually 31. We talked about my travels and the other destinations on my itinerary. I mocked them for drinking Guinness Extra Cold™.

The next night, I returned to the pub and was quickly waved over by one of the other bartenders, “your mates are over here,” she said. So, I went back to my new friends in the corner of the bar.

Andy was playing pool and didn’t give me the time of day. I guess now we would say that he just wasn’t that into me. His mate Colin couldn’t figure it out, “I don’t understand why Andy isn’t asking you out,” he said. “Me neither," I harrumphed.

I said my goodbyes to my friends at the end of the night; I was leaving for Dublin the next morning. Brendon, the barman, told me to come back to the pub when I returned to London, even offering me a free place to stay.

My travels took me to Dublin, Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Liverpool.

From Liverpool, I was headed to Cardiff for a few days. However, it was Easter weekend and all the hostels were booked. I changed my plans and headed back to London, this time staying in Camden Town.

Sitting in a pub in Camden, I couldn’t stop thinking that I should go back to Holland Park. I mean, I already had friends there. I was also running out of money and remembered that Brendon, besides giving me free beer, also promised me a free place to stay if I needed it.

This is one of the first pictures I have of us together, at Stonehenge.I headed back to Holland Park on a Saturday night. I saw Brendon and met two more of Andy’s workmates, Bart and Matty, who are brothers from Manchester. I also began staying on the floor in Brendon’s flat above the pub.

On Saturday night I asked Bart and Matty, “Where’s Andy?” They told me he went back to Bournemouth for Easter and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday.

On Sunday night I asked Bart and Matty, “When is Andy coming back?” “We told you yesterday that he isn’t back until Tuesday,” growled the Mancunian brothers.

On Monday night I asked Bart and Matty, “Is Andy back yet?”

I’m not sure where this new found obsession came from but suddenly I was very interested in seeing Andy.

Finally, Tuesday came. I was perched at a table and saw Andy and Colin walking up the path to the pub. I’m not sure if it was embarrassment or shyness but I ducked my head and hoped they wouldn’t notice me.

It also dawned on me at this time that Bart and Matty would have had all day to tell Andy about my stalker-like questions.

They sat on the other side of the pub, Andy behind a pillar and Colin within my sight. A few minutes later, I looked over again. They had switched seats! Andy caught my eye and waved me over.

We talked nonstop until closing time. Andy asked if I wanted to go across to his B & B where he had 3 beds in his room. Surely, he said, that must be better than sleeping on the floor. Oh, and I'm pretty sure he winked.

He told me that Brendon had “claimed” me and that was why he didn’t pay much attention to me those first few days that we met. I was “claimed"? What the heck century is this? Is that like calling shotgun?

We talked until 4 or 5 in the morning. We talked about things that you don’t normally talk about when you’re just getting to know someone. We told each other things that would usually make the opposite sex run in the other direction. Neither of us were running. He also asked me to go to Bournemouth with him that weekend.

I told Andy that my Grandma wasn’t well—that she was dying—and that I might have to go home at a moments notice. I might need to get to a train station quickly. He said he’d have none of that and he’d drive me to Heathrow, if need be.

My Grandma had a stroke in 2001 and never really recovered. She was an awesome woman who accomplished more in a day than I could ever dream of. The day before her stroke, at 79 years old, she mowed her own lawn. It was difficult watching her go from being so independent to not being able to walk or communicate. I can’t even imagine how she must have felt being trapped in a body that clearly wasn’t listening to her brain.

Still, when I told her about my trip and showed her the places I would be going, she was so happy for me. She smiled and cried all at once.

On Wednesday, I had to tell Brendon about Andy and move my belongings across the street to the B & B. My free supply of beer stopped and Brendon wouldn’t even make eye contact with Andy.

Friday arrived and Andy had to work until 1pm before we could head to his home in Bournemouth. I had a few hours on my hands and went to the internet café on Kensington High Street.

I checked my email and found out that my Grandma had passed away the day before. I immediately logged into the British Airways website to see my flight options.

I had already missed the Friday flight. I could skip my trip to Bournemouth with Andy and fly out on Saturday or I could fly on Sunday.

I left the internet café and walked through Holland Park. I cried, sitting by myself in the middle of the park.

I waited for Andy to get back from work. The minutes ticked by very slowly. He opened the door to the room all bouncy and excited until he saw my face. I told him that my Grandma had died and he asked me what I wanted to do.

“We’re going to Bournemouth,” I said. I had already thought about what my Grandma would have wanted me to do. She wouldn’t have wanted me to miss out on the end of my adventure.

 I decided I would stay in Bournemouth and fly home on Sunday, two days before I was scheduled to arrive home. I’d be able to make it to the funeral home for the visitation and to the funeral on Monday.

If I didn’t spend those two days in Bournemouth, Andy and I would have never happened. And, I do believe that my Grandma was looking over me, guiding me.

My Dad picked me up from the airport on Sunday and we drove straight to the funeral home. We got out of the car and were walking towards the door when I stopped. I looked at my Dad and said, “I think I found you a son-in-law.”

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Reader Comments (8)

It's always hard to lose a family member, but I think you made the right choice by staying.

That's a nice story. Thank you for sharing.

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

Thanks Todd. I know I made the right decision.

September 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Loved your story. Very romantic! Just like in movies.

September 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMargo

As a new guest at your salon, Becks, I'm playing catch-up . . . and just misted up a bit while reading this poignant entry. Honestly, vividly told.

Look forward to other gems, past and future, now that ex-colleague Karen Dybis steered me here.

And oh yes: You're sooo right about La Dolce Vita, as well as other Top 40 listings. Just enjoyed NYE there.

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Stamm

Thanks! Although, I'm not sure our story is worthy of a movie. :)

Welcome! Salon sounds so posh, to me it's more of a clubhouse where you come as you are and don't need to take your shoes off. ;-) Anywho, thanks for stopping by and don't be such a stranger.

I take some pride in the fact that I made you get all misty.

I bet La Dolce Vita would have been perfect for New Year's Eve!

January 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

awee man! thats a story. it was sooo meant to be :) i'm very sorry it all happened around ur nanas passing. she sounds amazing. Isn't it funny how things happen. I hope u have a verrrry long happy life together :)

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter++MIRA++

That, is simply the most wonderful story ever. I really, really hope to meet the both of you in Tokyo soon.

November 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Williams

Thanks. My grandma was so cool, I wish she could have met Andy. Things do happen for a reason, I guess.

Aw, thanks. I left out the juicy bits. ;-) And, someday, we'll get to Tokyo.

November 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

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