I met Brian Gillespie in grade two. We were both short and loved to imagine, talk, and write. He wore coke bottle glasses.
After grade two, my family moved, but my mother never forgot Brian Gillespie.
“He’s okay,” she’d say if I told her in high school that I liked someone, “but he’s no Brian Gillespie. I’m telling you, Brian Gillespie is the one that will make you happy. Your brother, by the way, is marrying Lizzie Burdick.”
Lizzie Burdick is too little, I tried to point out.
“Now she is, but she’s the perfect girl for him. She used to help me clean the house for fun while you guys were out playing. I like her. I know what I’m talking about. A mother knows these things.”
Fast forward to now and I’ve almost narrowed the search:
I chose Boy one’s wife at a Christmas concert. She sings like an angel. Plenty of power but nothing grates. She performed at the talent show with another girl and a boy who can’t talk but loves music. And she has short hair. Do you know how many normal looking girls wear their hair short these days? That’s right, almost none. Girls are born, walk into factories, assimilate to as many uniform qualities as possible and walk out. The ideal model is disturbingly free of any kind of original thought or impulse and almost always has long hair. I don’t need to meet this girl to be sure; she has a heart and she thinks. What else is there?
Boy two is a little trickier. My top choice is cheerful, silly, kind, and friendly to kids and adults alike. Having never done sports, she ended up on a team by default and did crazy things like ask questions, try again when she messed up, and accept advice. She is a big time team player in every sense of the word. And like I said, she is quite silly.
I met Girl one’s future husband at her second birthday party. Other children arrived with the usual gift bags assembled by mom. Husband 2B had done it himself. In fact, in addition to some fancy markers, he had drawn crooked lines on a lot of pages, stapled them together, and drawn a cover that said, “Girl One’s Journal.” I knew you liked to write, he said. The last present was the story of a miller. It was a favorite of his so he had carefully copied the words of the entire story out and added his own illustrations. His father said he spent hours.
Girl two is not yet seven. I remind myself that we still have time. The best candidate has major focus issues and wears rubber boots to gym class, but I’ve got one of those already; they’re not so bad. Candidate runs fast, tries hard, and isn’t the least bit intimidated by Girl two trying to yell him down on the playing field. His birthday request is what rocketed him to the top of the list. He’s in love with WWII planes. His mother suggested a book about them, and I began to hear the bells ringing.
The truth is, I am happily married to someone other than Brian Gillespie. I don’t even know what became of him. What I can say is that as a mother now, knowing what I know, if God forbid anything were to happen to my husband, before I’d go posting on personals and checking the local availabilities, I’d first figure out what exactly the status was on my good friend from grade two, Brian Gillespie.