Let me set the scene right now: troops of raindrops marching across the roof, homemade pizza in the oven, and an “it’s-almost-Friday” electricity in the air. It’s also worth mentioning that my pizza is topped with some of the bacon cheddar cheese I recently purchased at the Trader Joe’s that just opened up in my city. Top this off with the fact that a new episode of The Big Bang Theory is on tonight, and you have one crazy happy woman right here. (Minus the big, fat spider my cats just found. Nothing happy about that.)
Okay, let’s dive into this story business. You’ll find the challenge at the end of the post!
Kristina was pretty, but not the kind of pretty like on the covers of the magazines she got when she went into town. The warm, fetid smell of cow dung clung to her skin like a parasite, and her nose was always just a shade lighter than the fresh-picked red apples her mom served for dessert. Yet it surprised no one when I admitted I’d fallen hard for her.
I met Kristina purely by accident, but not the kind of accident like the both of us grabbing the same eggplant at the grocery store and my walking away with her phone number. It was May and I was on my way to talk to Barry Bowers, who was selling a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette. On a sprawl of farmland that grew a meter for every inch I advanced into it, none of the dwellings was marked with an address. Barry had told me he was two miles past the Blacksmith Ranch. By now I was sure I’d gone two miles or more, so I pulled over at a split-level with a tattered American flag softly swaying on a short pole next to the front window.
In the front yard, Kristina was hunched over a muscular black lab, clutching his collar in one hand and a garden hose in the other. The dog began to whine as I drew closer. Kristina tossed the hose into the grass and rose halfway, still holding the dog back. Her bangs were matted to her face and a smudge of dirt sat on the very center of her chin. She was plump, but not the kind of plump that suggests she didn’t care for herself.
“Howdy,” I called. “Is this where I can find Barry Bowers?”
“Stay,” she told the dog. Drawing closer, she dabbed her palms with her shirt. “He’s still, oh, half a mile down that way.” She waved her hand to the north. For the first time since I’d exited my car, Kristina glanced at my face rather than some abstract spot below my neck. The enlargement of her eyes told me she knew exactly who I was. She didn’t say that she did, but she knew.
Behind me, a bird whistled a disarranged song. I willed my eyes to part from hers, but they resisted. Her small eyes–no mascara and no eye shadow—were just chocolate gems as pure as a newborn’s. It was love at first sight, but not the kind of love that hits so hard and so fast it crashes and burns.
“I…have to go,” I muttered, somehow knowing this wasn’t the last involvement I’d have with her.
We eloped in Vegas ten months later. Kristina was stunning, baring her slightly yellowed smile and her clusters of freckles. I sent the photos to a celebrity columnist for The Los Angeles Times. They all expected my wife to be thin. Tan. Blonde. Dazzling. Kristina was nothing like that, and that’s why I loved her.
We lived happily ever after, but not the kind of happily ever after I have to describe. All that matters is that it happened, and it happened with Kristina.
The challenge for this story was: There are no words containing two or more consecutive vowels.
Hope everyone has a great Friday and an even greater weekend!