I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with my husband.
No see, because my friend didn’t plan it that way. I was supposed to fall in love with her brother.
Thing was, the brother was 100% not my type, but he had this wonderfully smart and funny friend named The Rock.
I first met The Rock on a weekend trip to San Diego I took with my friend back in 1997. My buddy, the friend named Heather, was originally from San Diego, and we drove “down” for a few days to visit her family. All told, we spent much of that pivotal weekend searching for Heather’s brother at bar after bar, and at the last place, the illustrious pee-strewn Beachcomber, we ran into the brother’s pal. He stood by himself (still does), a beacon of tallness and self-actualization. At first, I thought BEANPOLE!, and then blue eyes! and then inexplicably: old baby.
I mean that sweetly. The Rock was (still is) bald and cherub-faced, and at the time, as he was the ripe age of 34, he became an old baby in my addled head.
It’s not supposed to make sense. That’s love for ya.
Although he seemed charismatic and zen-ny, I wasn’t interested. Just not into it at all. And neither was he. I was fresh out of a lame physical relationship with a do-nothing, and The Rock was not into morose smokers. Either way, he did come hang with us girls in the back of the bar and I remember thinking he was somehow not like all the others. He seemed composed, grounded, and strong-minded. Still, when Heather invited him to a barbecue at her parent’s house the next night, I still wasn’t on board. After all, she wanted me to go for her brother, but she, like most people, was charmed with The Rock’s humor and no-nonsensedness. As for me, I just wanted to go back to LA and wait for that dumb-ass do-nothing to call. But The Rock agreed to the BBQ, and the following evening, he managed to coax a smile from me over a burnt hamburger. He has a knack, oh yes. But still? Not into it. And neither was he.
Well life went on. Until a few weekends later when The Rock and his friend, “the brother,” traveled to Los Angeles to visit Heather. At this point, it’s important to know that Heather was the manager of a sorta famous bar in Brentwood. As it happens, the night the boys came to visit was also the night that place closed for good. As that sultry June evening wore on, a sort of “last night on Earth” mentality took over and I, feeling a little saucy and bejeweled, talked up The Rock. Possibly to make up for my sullenness a few weeks before. Perhaps to make the do-nothing jealous. But in the course of our conversation, something really unexpected happened. I was intellectually stimulated. The Rock and I? Talked about books, movies, and current events. Why, I’d never had these kind of meaningful talks in LA, although I’d heard rumor of their existence.
And so: when at about midnight or thereabouts, as The Rock taught me how to play Texas Hold-Em at a debris-strewn table in the middle of that notorious bar, I thought I’d found a guy I could really like.
As a friend. Nothing untoward, mind you. I mean, I was supposed to go for the brother. The Rock lived two hours from me. And also? The do-nothing was still a booty call.
Despite this, The Rock spent the rest of the weekend in Los Angeles. I met him and the brother out on Saturday night and we went to the Santa Monica Promenade to catch a BoDeans concert, and then play bar trivia. All very semi-wholesome. And guess what? The Rock had seen The Bodeans, my favorite band of all time, in San Diego the year before, liked them, and even bought their CD (a sign!). And the other thing? The Rock? Good at trivia. Be still my geeky heart.
My interest was piquing.
All told, it took a good two months of rising interest and back and forth visits to San Diego, until I decided I liked The Rock in “that way.” He will tell you it took a good two months until he saw me naked. Mars and Venus, Mars and Venus, people. But the endgame of this story? Was that Heather, my friend, the one who should want the best for me, called after I began to date The Rock. The formerly be-charmed one told me she “knew” stuff about him. Stuff I wouldn’t like, things disturbing and upsetting, things she couldn’t tell me. She told me to stop dating him, oh yes she did. In no uncertain terms.
And I? Took a gamble. I felt pretty confident I knew a good heart when I saw one, so disregarded her advice and ended up marrying The Rock four years later.
I haven’t heard from Heather since. And so I tell you this: sometimes the people you think you know aren’t who you know at all, and sometimes, the person you think you knew all along is exactly who you think.
(On the honeymoon.)