In the Beginning…
No, this is not THAT story. It is probably not even remotely as interesting as THAT story. We are often asked “how did you two meet?”… here it is in written form. You’re welcome.
When I was 19, I thought I knew everything. I mean really, who didn’t think that they knew everything at 19? I made the brilliant decision to marry someone that I did not know. As you can probably guess, that didn’t end well for me. I am not going to go into all the gory details of my 1st marriage in this post because really, it is not going to add to your understanding of how/why Bryan and I came to be. Plus, that period of my life makes me feel like a gigantic jerk. It’s best we leave that for another post.
As time went on, I was a CNA at a retirement facility and worked overnights but started working for a video store as a second job (basically for the free movie rentals). I quickly worked my way up to management and was given my own store in Simi Valley, CA. Holy crap, did I have my work cut out for me…this store was a complete mess. I don’t think that there was an employee that was not stealing from the store and no one actually did anything they were supposed to do. I fired everyone and worked open to close every day of the week, by myself. It was exhausting and put a huge strain on my already failing marriage.
Thankfully, I was able to hire a staff of people who I felt were philosophically aligned with the vision I had for the store… which is a nice way of saying it was the “Empire Records” of the video store world. It was fantastic. When I had the right support in place, the store basically ran itself but I was never home because it was just too fun to be at work. For as awesome as it was, there was still a piece missing in our store… I needed to find a second in command. Now, I knew that this was going to be a difficult task as we had a very eclectic family of sorts happening but someone needed to be in charge and be responsible. Quite frankly, I was tired of being that person.
While reviewing applications for potential candidates for my “ass. manager”, I came across someone who was so overly qualified, I thought that maybe it was a joke. I mean seriously, college graduate, scored really well on the “psychological” exam, previous employers included churches…which could be an issue.(side note: those tests are a complete joke…you either answer “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree” on all of the questions and you’re in) This guy was applying for a cashier job when he clearly was more qualified for my job than I was. What gives? Despite my reservations, I called and set up an interview.
On that day, I ran to the bank about 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the interview. While at the stop light next to the parking area, I notice a guy getting out of a green van. As he was walking across the parking lot, he reached back for a handful of pants to pull the wedgie from his butt. It was at that point that I KNEW this was the guy I was going to interview and he was going to want to shake my hand… with the same hand that he used to pick his butt. Sweet.
After the interview was over, and I thoroughly sanitized my hands, I contacted my boss to set up a second interview for Bryan. I am not sure what it was about him but I knew that he was the right fit for our “family”. How ironic that seems now. Rather than just interviewing with my boss, he was interviewed at a district meeting in front of 12 other managers. He was amazing. His answers were honest and genuine. I had multiple managers turn to me and ask if I could clone him for their stores.
Obviously, he was hired and sent for training in the Camarillo store. I contacted the manager there multiple times and she had told me that while he seemed nice, he was not much of a talker. I was immediately worried because in my store, that wouldn’t fly. I warned my “kids” (the people that worked for me) that this new person was a bit straight-laced and that they needed to take it easy, cut back on the swearing, be on their best behavior… you get the picture.
After about a week or so, I noticed that Bryan seemed to be fitting right in. He was easy to talk to, the “kids” all seemed to enjoy working with him and he was really not as “dogmatic” as I thought he was going to be. He even sported the name tag I made for him that read: “Bryan… Ass Director”. I was pleasantly surprised that things were being accomplished during shifts and it was still fun to go to work every day. I actually found myself looking forward to seeing his green van sitting in it’s usual spot when I rounded the corner to the parking lot.
Bryan and I immediately realized we had a connection in our failing marriages and often found solace in one-upping each other with our “war” stories. Let’s face it, Bryan is a catch. He is brilliant, funny, considerate, passionate… but he was also broken. I knew this from the beginning. Funny thing is, I think it was part of the attraction for me. I have always been attracted to people I could “fix” which somehow abetted in distracting me from my own brokenness.
I am not sure when things changed from friendship to more in my eyes. I have never been able to pinpoint the exact moment, probably because there wasn’t just one moment. Things were fun and light. I appreciated his company and conversation so much that he began to morph into this staple of my life. Very soon after that Bryan was the last thing I would think about before I fell asleep and the first thing on my mind when I woke up. There was ultimately this sadness that surrounded our “friendship” because I knew that he did not feel the same about me.
I can not pretend to know what Bryan was thinking at that time. That is his story to tell. I can only tell you my feelings and perspective… and that it sucked. I was miserable. I mean sure, it was fun. We would go places together, do cool stuff, have great experiences but I had feelings…feelings that he was not capable of reciprocating. To be honest, that was an awful, painful truth for me. I knew that our “relationship” had no future. For me, things could not have gotten any worse. Until they did…
…and that is a story for a different blog post.