Mothership drew this cartoon of me, Joe and the pug on the back of an envelope a couple years ago.
Let’s call it The Jam Session.
Those of you who know Joe, know he loves to jam. He’s awesome at it. He even has this little jam face. All good guitar players have one and Joe is no different.
The first night I met Joe, he played me a song on his guitar.
It was a song he made up earlier that day, prior to meeting me and a gaggle of friends at a downtown St. Pete restaurant.
It was a slow song, a dreamy song, the kind you drink coffee and cook pancakes to. We would do this a few months later, after the dating dance had begun. But at this moment Joe was a stranger with framed concert posters on his walls and an odd bar of Lava soap in his bathroom.
The song, so you can hear it in your head, was the kind of sweet little number girls get squishy over. Boys know guitars make girls swoon. It was a nice treat and the perfect cap on an otherwise perfect night.
He didn’t sing. Just strummed this song, a short song with a lullaby of a refrain that repeats and folds over itself like a quilt.
I was sitting in his apartment on his old futon, wedged between four good friends who no longer live here. We were all fairly drunk. I was slurring inappropriate stories that I would never have told in front of mixed company had my tongue not been coated in vodka.
I was being myself. My roots were exposed.
It was because I was comfortable.
This was because of Joe.
Eventually my roommate passed out on the futon, curled up in the fetal position. Two years and eight months later, after he had moved to Philadelphia, my roommate would get ordained to marry Joe and me on top of a hill in Ellicottville, N.Y.
But none of that had happened yet.
In that moment we were just a cluster of friends in an old apartment with dark hardwood floors, telling stories and taking turns trying to play Joe’s guitar.
It was cool out. I was wearing a purple scarf around my neck and a green scarf in my hair. Joe remembers this.
We had all lost track of time and the night had rolled on thick with throaty laughs; the way nights with friends tend to do.
My insides felt velvety. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so snug with someone I had just met.
I had gone out begrudgingly that night, but at 2 a.m. there was nowhere else I wanted to be.
That little song Joe played for me, did I mention it was an original?
It became my song.
On our wedding day, Joe stood under an arbor and played it as I walked down an aisle made of scattered mulch.
He looked dashing. He always looks dashing when he’s playing his guitar.
I wasn’t nervous.
I felt warm and sunny and light and comfortable.
Every time Joe plays me that song I think of our beginnings.
His futon. On top of a hill in Western New York.
My insides turn to velvet.
Recently, he played it for me when I was standing in the front yard, tugging weeds out of our vegetable garden. He walked out the door, guitar tucked under his arm, strumming for all the neighborhood to hear.
Curious, our neighbors moseyed over.
I didn’t even notice they were standing there until the song was over and they applauded.
PS. Happy anniversary, my darling rock star. I’m the luckiest gal in the universe to have snagged you. Have you ever thought about giving our song a title?