"You like Harry Connick Jr?"
My eyes met his as he settled into the passenger side of my green Ford station wagon, the music from my Imagination CD pumping out when I turned the key in the ignition.
"Yes?" I responded, uncertain if my musical taste would turn him off. "Do you want me to change it?"
"No, I love his music." He smiled and began listing his favorite songs. I relaxed. This first date was going to go well. I just knew it.
Yes, I drove the night of our first date. John's old red Sunfire was already coughing out its last requests for a proper burial (sponsored by Penzoil) and has long since been scrapped so it may forever rust in peace. (Considering the metal had been deteriorating to the point that the passenger had to sit with their legs spread to avoid going through the growing hole in the floor, it's probably enjoying a second life right now as a planter.) (Gah, I actually miss that old piece of shit.) (No I don't.)
As soon as he heard the opening notes of "We Are In Love" and told me he was also a fan, we shook off the preliminary jitters that getting to know someone can cause, and began a game of "Who loves his music more?". I won. (I had the unauthorized biography and a photographic memory. John was simply no match for my recollection of dates and album releases.) (Looking back now, I guess I can admit I cheated since I omitted the fact that I was in possession of the trump card.) (And he did steal back the glory since he can easily plunk out any Harry song on the piano, his ear of music is that attuned.) (Meh, we're even.)
Since then, we have collected albums as they were released, snatched up tickets whenever Harry made his way into the Fort Lauderdale/ Miami arenas, and just enjoyed listening to his jazzy music.
We even named our dog Harry after the man himself. (Although, to the terrier's credit, he had two coats of hair, one wiry and one soft, since he was a mixed Yorkie/ Rat breed, and the moniker just seemed perfect for him at the time, but the crooner was an influence.)
In fact, if you really want to get technical and TMI about it, I would go on record to say that Harry Connick Jr's "Learn To Love" is personally responsible for Sprite. (John had a big part in it, but the catalyst was Harry.) (Hm, that last part may land me in hot water.)
This last November, John called me with some news just as I was debating whether or not I would be able to afford a trip to Nashville for Blissdom, 2010. Harry was coming in concert to our town. Our little town! We immediately jumped at the chance to see his show, something we hadn't been able to do since 2004. Blissdom lost to a concert.
Irony, being so good at being so bad, didn't let me in on her dirty little secret until a few weeks ago when Stiletto Momslipped the news that Harry was making a personal appearance at Blissdom. Not only were the attendees getting a show, they were going to share oxygen with him, and pictures, and laughs, and inside jokes and I need to stop now..
My heart may have broken a little. In theory.
I can no longer keep up the sad charade of missing out on meeting the man when the man I want to experience it all with wouldn't be there with me. While I passed on seeing Stiletto and Vodkamom and many other wonderful bloggers, and yes, meeting someone who has been such a key ingredient in the atmosphere of my romantic memories, I knew that come the night of the concert, my decision would have been the right one.
That night is here.
Tonight, John and I will celebrate Valentine's Day a little early, and on a school night no less, listening to the very soundtrack that has been playing for as long as we've loved each other.
Tonight is ours, John. And so is he.
*The title is our wedding song from the soundtrack to "When Harry Met Sally", fully composed by Harry Connick Jr. If you've ever heard the song before, you'll know it was quite difficult to dance to a number with tempo changes, but we somehow made it. Eight years later, we're still dancing.