I married the wrong man, but he became right one
I married the wrong man. It was wrong from the beginning.
I met him in the college swimming pool. He had his swim suit on backwards and was trying to rectify the situation under water. There was a certain lack of grace to the procedure.
I returned to the dorm and reported to my roommate that I had met some guys in the pool, both named Bill. Tall Bill. Short Bill. I didn’t get the last name.
A few days later one of the Bills called to ask me out. I crossed my fingers. I hoped it was the tall one.
We dated a lot. Couples we knew seemed in a frenzy to settle down. We were surrounded by friends buying diamond rings and choosing silver patterns. We made a pact. Why rush? We would not give up our freedom or our right to date other people. We thought destiny had other plans for us.
One rainy night we sat in the car feeling miserable. Bill said he couldn’t go on this way. He knew he was risking the most beautiful friendship he had ever had, but he had fallen in love with me.
He was not alone. I, too, could not deny my feelings any longer. We cried and cried. Imagine, all that time of self-inflicted misery. All that time that we couldn’t tell each other the truth about how we felt.
Well, now it was out. We were in love. It changed everything.
It changed that summer. He was in Buffalo. I was in New Jersey. Too far from each other.
I read an article in the Saturday Evening Post about cruising the coast of Maine in an old time windjammer. I told my mother I wanted to spend a week cruising Penobscot Bay before returning for my senior year in college. She said she would feel better if I went with someone. But, she inquired, would my roommate be free at that time? She wasn’t, but Bill was. Short Bill. Bill who could send my heart spinning. Bill who suddenly developed a keen desire to go sailing in Maine.
How could I know this would be a life changing event?
Windjamming was adventurous and romantic. I left the ship sporting a diamond ring. So much for destiny.
We married, bought a house, and had two beautiful babies. Bill was a salesman. I was a teacher. Our jobs consumed a lot of energy and produced a lot of stress.
I should have known high school sophomores wouldn’t share my passion for Shakespeare. Bill and his boss had profoundly different ideas on how to run a business.
His father died. My father died.
Childbirth was not the joy I had read about. I spent three days in a coma, thanks to a life threatening bout of eclampsia.
Later – much later – we would realize that it wasn’t our marriage that was stressful. It’s life itself that tries to trip you up.
After 15 years I said, “If you stay with this career, you’re going to have a nervous breakdown.” Bill left his job. I left teaching for freelance writing so I could work from home and spend more time with the children. Editors needed photos to illustrate my articles.
We were in our mid 30s when I said wistfully, “I married the wrong man. I need a photographer.” He bought a camera. We discovered we could still dream.
Armed with pen and cameras we toured the country, our kids in tow. We saw the world, except for Antarctica and parts of eastern Europe. We lived in Hawaii for a year, all the while looking for a place to launch our dreams.
Our careers blossomed. Our marriage blossomed. Bill was and is and ever will be my best friend.
I married the wrong man, but he magically turned himself into the right man.
Some times you just get lucky.
Diana and Bill Gleasner have lived in Denver for more than 30 years. In addition to travel journalism, they have written and published two books on the Lake Norman area.