The other day I decided to go back in time.
I’ve been trying for years to remember when I met my husband. Typically I’m great with dates, anniversaries; this should’ve been an easy one for me to recall since it was the first day of a brand new job. But January 2001 was a dark, dark time in my life.
I knew I couldn’t make a resume until at least January 2nd, because I didn’t have an address or phone number to use. I had just come back from living in Virginia, and discovered that the family issues I’d been fleeing had not gotten better with time or distance. Sister Coyote and her parents took me in on New Years Day, and I got a job at Wendy’s by January 7th.
I discovered by January 8th that I cannot work in food service. I have massive respect for those that can, but I am not made for it.
A week later, I went into the supermarket drugstore behind Wendy’s to pick up a few things. I noticed a huge “NOW HIRING FULL TIME” sign as I was exiting, and practically turned tail and ran back in with my resume.
I interviewed for the job, health and beauty department manager, the next Friday, got the job on the spot, and started the following Monday.
Which, according to the iPhone calendar app, brings us to January 22, 2001. Exactly 17 years ago today.
My husband was my trainer; my manager brought me to him and handed me over, telling then-bachelor Mr Coyote to “take care of me.” Bachelor Mr Coyote shook my hand, randomly asked if my birthstone ring was an engagement ring, and looked in my eyes.
I have a thing about blue eyes. I knew right then this person would have a place in my life. The thing was, I didn’t want anyone in my life right then. Neither did he.
I was not well at that time. I was bone skinny due to depression and stress. I was traumatized by suddenly being back in Canada, which was totally unplanned and unwanted at that time. Virginia, to me, had become home, and I wanted nothing more than to go back. I was back in frozen Toronto with a week’s worth of clothes, $20 to my name, and wanted no attachments to that place whatsoever. As soon as I could, I was heading back to Virginia. I wanted zero attachments here; I didn’t even want to have to say goodbye to anyone. I was 18.
Mr Coyote was from Northern Ontario, and planned to go back one day. He had never been married, never been in a serious relationship, and was more than fine with that. He had his car, his guitar, and his fishing gear and that’s pretty much all he wanted in his life. He said one day he planned to just pick up and leave for the north again, and wouldn’t even say goodbye. He was 40.
We didn’t get along at all at first. I love to tell him he was mean to me; he told me at one point that I should get a different job because I couldn’t lift something heavy. I lifted the damn box and wrote him off (LOL).
Then one day, “Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac came on at the store. It was, and is, my favourite Fleetwood Mac song, but has strong ties to my time in Virginia. I lived with a friend and her family there; an internet friend before that was a thing. We adored Fleetwood Mac’s The Dance album, and sang along to it nearly every morning in the truck on the way to her school. We wanted to be a band; we harmonized on that song, made a demo of it. We sounded awesome, her stronger vocals on lead and me with the harmony. “Time cast a spell on you, but you won’t forget me…”
I hadn’t listened to it since returning to Toronto. And coming out of the blue like that, it broke my heart. I ran to the back, climbed up on my stock shelves, and pulled a large box in front of me, and cried my eyes out.
Eventually the box moved. It was Bachelor Mr Coyote.
“Put the box back,” I hissed through tears. Great, I thought. He’s gonna tell the manager and I’m gonna get fired.
He put the box back. I put myself back together and walked out of the back a few minutes later.
“Are you okay?” Bachelor Mr Coyote asked.
“Yeah. Sorry. Thanks,” I responded.
That was the day things started to change.
It wasn’t always easy. Neither one of us wanted to like someone, have a relationship, love someone. If either of us felt too strongly one day, we’d suddenly backtrack, turn cold, turn our backs on the other the next. The age difference didn’t matter to me, but he told me one day in a rare moment of honesty that it wouldn’t work out for the best if we got together when I was so young. He said I needed some time to live my life.
He was right.
Incidently, we went to a concert together right before I left that job. It was a Brian Wilson/Paul Simon double bill, and I wound up meeting Brian that night.
Right after that, I lost that job. I was fired, deservingly; I hated that job and checked out a long time before I was gone.
On my way out the door, Bachelor Mr Coyote kissed me. It was our first kiss; it was my first kiss.
I didn’t see him for a long time after that. I couldn’t be friends with him. I’d fallen in love and that was bad; I had my Virginia life to go back to.
That didn’t happen. That dream didn’t really die; I spent years and years banging my head against that wall and trying everything to get back, until one day I realized that I’d done everything I set out to do right here in Ontario. I got better. I lived my life, travelled, had my party days.
When I met Lindsey Buckingham in 2006, he reminded me so much of Bachelor Mr Coyote that I missed him. So I reconnected with him. (Yes, I owe my marriage to Lindsey Buckingham.) We still stayed friends until 2009, when we finally acknowledged we still had feelings for each other and decided to try a relationship.
On July 30, 2016, 15 and a half years after that meeting, we got married. We are still very separate, independent people and we still clash sometimes. But it works. We love each other and we actually admit it, so that’s an improvement!
If you had told these people in 2001…
But they probably would’ve believed you, on some level. I would have.
Life goes where it’s going to go, and what’s meant to happen will. I spent years railing against the life I have now, and I wouldn’t change a thing, because I needed to go through all of that to bring me to all the awesome things that happened because of it. But you can’t change fate.
“Silver Springs” was a perfect song to start the process of falling in love for us.
“Time cast a spell on you, but you won’t forget me… I know I could have loved you but you would not let me… I’ll follow you down til the sound of my voice will haunt you… You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you…”
No matter what happens, I literally can’t imagine my life any other way. Pretty cool to be able to trace your whole life back to one, seemingly insignificant moment.