Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. If, in years past, you came to one of our legendary South 'n France Bon Bon Parties, you've probably heard me tell the epic tale of how Pascal and I met. My version of the story could easily become a script for a full-length film; Pascal tells it much more succinctly: "We met in Paris." Although, I still delight in every detail of that fateful day, I also see the beauty in Pascal's terse telling of our story. Those four little words really do say it all. For if you know Paris, you know the magical spell The City of Love can cast. Its charms can easily seduce the most unsuspecting individuals into a romantic, passionate Parisian adventure.
Our two versions of how we met parallel what we appreciate in each other as husband and wife. Even though he's heard me tell that story hundreds of times, and even though he pretends that he doesn't want to hear it again, he always listens. His face lights up, his eyes sparkle, and he smiles when I get to his favorite parts. And, although I pretend it's just awful that he condenses our romantic beginning into one short sentence, I secretly appreciate his shorthand - code for all that cannot be said about that enchanted time that really belongs to just the two of us.
It seems that Pascal's ability to sum up our love story in just a few short words is a much-appreciated art form. A few years ago, I discovered a book via The New York Times called Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak, By Writers Famous and Obscure. The book was purportedly inspired by the legend of a challenge to Ernest Hemingway to write a six-word story. His response: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
Here are a few six-word love stories from Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak:
"Much married, fourth time is charmed.", Erica Jong, author; "Hired me. Fired me. Married me.", Julie Klam, writer; "He told me he was single.", Esther Newberg, literary agent.
Since the book's publication, SMITH magazine has invited others to share their stories.Here are some of my favorites:
Was idealistic girlfriend, now jaded ex-wife.
Best friends until I loved you.
Missed the boat, caught The Titanic.
Still wake up thinking of you.
Married at eighteen, estranged from parents.
Terrible cooking didn't make him run.
He loved heroin more than me.
He took dancing lessons for me.
The heart isn't protected by passwords.
Hate you, but still love you.
He broke up in an email.
And on our fifteenth anniversary, I humbly add: We fell in love in Paris.