I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Michael.

It was our second date. We had burned up the phone lines before our first date and between that and our second date. I knew a lot about him. I thought he was sweet, funny, thoughtful. I didn’t know, yet, if he was a keeper because I wasn’t looking for a keeper and I knew he wasn’t looking for one either.

We drove around in the rural parts of central Massachusetts where I lived. He lived close to Boston and wasn’t used to the winding, dark roads.

We had gone to dinner (I think) and were driving around talking. We were in his big Chevy pickup (he towed a big bass boat on the weekends so he always had a big truck). We were driving around through the forests and everything was very dark out.

Suddenly this raccoon darted in front of the truck. Michael swerved slightly and then looked in his rear view mirror. He said “I’m pretty sure I missed him. I probably grazed the top of his head.”

I knew that there was no way, looking in that rear view mirror, that he could see anything but pitch black. The whole “I probably grazed the top of his head” made me laugh out loud. The concern for the raccoon, and his concern for me thinking he didn’t just kill it, made my heart swoon. I never fell so hard and so fast. And part of me knew it was all okay. It was fine to fall like this for someone so wonderful.

About a year later we were already married 7 months and I marked the occasion of our second date with a small ceramic raccoon and shared with him that the whole raccoon thing was when I fell in love with him. He smiled.

Michael’s always kept the little raccoon on his dresser even when a cleaning lady busted off half the raccoon’s paws.

What’s more is that Michael has never changed from the sweet, sweet man who was so concerned about the raccoon and trying to impress upon his date that he did not just murder a woodland creature. He never stopped being the person he was on our second date and every time I saw a raccoon, it reminded me of that. Of Michael’s innate, never-changing sweetness.

A few weeks ago this little guy came to visit each and every night. I took this picture on the second night he arrived.

He’s pretty cute and very friendly.

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He was attracted to the birdseed obviously but the funny thing is that he didn’t come around the whole time I was away last week. The first night I came back he reappeared.

He even came up to the door where I stood on the other side watching him.

I like seeing him around.

He somehow comforts me and makes me smile.

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