Twelve years in love, eight years official

You should have seen her. She wore denim overall shorts and a shirt that rose up over her hips. Everything about her turned me into a 13-year-old boy. The bare section of her midriff made me crazy. She let me take her to Shakes for a pizza–shrimp on whole wheat crust–and let me talk for two hours. She barely ate.

My friend Joey Two-Hands asked about her. What’s her name, he wondered when I introduced them. For the first time ever–and it had already been a long ever with Joey–I turned to him and said, “No.”

I had no claim on her. She was uncommitted, but unyeilding. I was a beer-gutted wanderer, aimless and unsure. Some forty days later she let me kiss her in the middle of a crowd at the Blue Note. She saw something in me–in us–that I couldn’t define. I was beside myself and confused. It was what I wanted, but it didn’t make sense–someone like her with someone like me. We didn’t make it official for a couple more months. There was something about us that had a hard time making things official. It was rarely a decision. Between the two of us, things just happened.

Two years later, we stood in a dive bar in Springfield, Missouri. I had diamond ring in my pocket that I planned to spring on her a week later. Plied with Corona and Jager–a romantic cocktail if there ever was one–I was like I’ve always been: unable to control myself. Even though the moment was horrible (the bar singer was singing “How Do You Say Fuck You In Spanish?”), I let it happen. I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and I was honestly surprised.

We spent the next two years wandering from Missouri, to Mississippi, to South Carolina. By the time we reached the Palmetto State, we had a dog named Scoop and no wedding rings. Finally, on this day in 2000, we stood on the Eastern Continental Divide and said we would.

I have lived a fortunate life. In spite of my aimless ways and wanderlust, my life has settled on a direction I couldn’t have planned so well. I owe most of it to the woman I call my wife. There are few people who would put up with so much, expect so little, and give back more than they’re getting. I have not been a perfect husband. I’ve been a bad one at times. It’s taken me eight years to realize how much I owe her.

It’s now 2am on my eighth anniversary and my wife is asleep in bed. We will celebrate when we wake up. But, as I sit here tonight in a quiet house, I can’t help but wonder what my life would’ve been without her. It’s selfish to think, but I do anyway. I can’t imagine it. I don’t want to.

I don’t know where we’ll be in another eight years. I don’t know where will be in eight months. I can only hope I’ve been a good enough husband to earn her love every day. I can only hope I make her as happy as she makes me.

I can only hope she knows how much I love her.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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18 Responses

  1. Michael Sage says:

    Great blog entry! I dig the way you write.
    Have a great day with the wife!

  2. Pauly says:

    I got goosebumps…

  3. iggy says:

    a superb tribute. congrats on the anniversary!

  4. Da Goddess says:

    Happy anniversary! Everyone should be so lucky to have what you two have.

  5. Dr. Chako says:

    Happy anniversary! We stole a few kisses at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO, too. Got engaged on a golf course in Lake of the Ozarks. Took three more years to finally get married.

    Enjoy the day, and all those that follow.


  6. Uncle Ted says:

    Eight is great.

  7. KenP says:

    She may not always get it right. But, on that one I have to compliment her:

    Good read, Mrs. O!!!

  8. Bam-Bam says:

    A great read Otis! Well done.

    All the best and only the happiest times to you both.

  9. Annie says:

    Your wife is lovely and you’re both lucky! This post made me more teary (times 10) than that silly Sex and the City movie…

  10. Falstaff says:

    Made me tear up a little. Congrats to both of you.

  11. Su says:

    Congrats, you two! Love you both!

  12. fejsez says:

    I got a little teary reading that.
    Yesterday was 8 months married to my wife, loving her more every day. You inspire me as I begin this journey with her.

  13. MGM says:

    Sweet. Congrats to you both. Amazing how fast time flies, isn’t it? Me and mine have wondered how in the world 11 1/2 married years have passed so quickly.

    Hope you enjoyed a great celebration!

  14. Buckeyetimmy says:

    Your words and the order in which you put them are certainly above average, to say the least.

    Your heart-felt honesty amazes me.

    Your wife, well, she amazes me, too…..and she’s hot.

  15. The Wife says:

    That picture of your wife is adorable and you are a doll . . . congratulations!

    DrChako and I just hit our #13!

  16. 2hands says:

    You win.

  17. Golden says:

    I don’t know y0u other from reading what you write. However I suspect that you married a lot better than your lovely wife did.


  18. JAR says:


    Your writing is as brilliant as ever. If only I could express myself with your eloquence and passion. Best wishes to you and Michelle.


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