A Pack Of Three
When we last met, Betty and I were about to take our vows as celibate lesbian separatists since my life in the dating world was slightly more successful than Geraldo Rivera’s show on Al Capone. I had recently started a new job and was having lunch with a new friend. We got on the dating subject and she mentioned that she used Yahoo personals. When I got home, I thought, "Why not?" and created a profile. As I doubtfully cast the new line into the pond of gay dating, I still assumed that the only thing I was likely to catch was an old, sodden sneaker.
So the next day, I was more than a little surprised to come home to a "wink" from a handsome man with blue eyes and dark brown hair. Yum! I was instantly aflutter. Then reality set in. Wait a minute. Profile pictures can be deceiving. I shouldn’t get excited until I investigate this a bit further. I clicked the link for his profile and searched for the deficiencies that he was bound to have. I scanned through it. Hmm, so far, he actually looks better than normal. He’s a doctor. That means he will certainly be able to spell and know the difference between "they’re, their and there." That’s a step in the right direction. He’s originally from Ireland. I am a sucker for an accent. So far, so good but there has to be a catch here. I read it again checking to be sure I hadn’t missed any telltale signs. No red flags. But I couldn’t be convinced quite yet. There had to be something wrong with him. I thought, "I bet he has a conjoined twin coming out of his back or something." Lord knows, by this point, I had seen it all.
I sent him a message and later that evening we chatted on instant messenger for about an hour. He was quite charming. Unbeknownst to him at the time, I had saved the first transcript of that first chat. Three years later, on our wedding day, I gave it to him. It was a fabulous and emotional way to reminisce on how far we had come as a couple. Here we were about to take our vows and we got to read our first conversation with one another. During that first conversation, we chatted about all kinds of stuff. In a lighthearted way, we even joked about how awful our names would be hyphenated and for the sake of any future children, we could never, ever do that. After getting tired of typing, we spoke on the phone and Greg invited me to a performance of Verdi’s "Vespers" for which he had tickets the following day. I couldn’t wait.
We met outside of the theater a few minutes before the show started. He was even better looking in person. I was excited and a little nervous. We went inside as the show was about to start. The concert was being put on by the Handel and Haydn Society, who unknown to us, were trying something a bit avant-garde. The lights dimmed and the first curtains opened revealing portraits and paintings of the Virgin Mary through the centuries. The concerto began and the music was quite fitting with the theme. Then a second set of curtains opened revealing over a hundred, motorized plastic Virgin Mary statues on wheels. Nope, I’m not kidding. This veritable league of Blessed Mothers buzzed around the stage to and fro, and hither and yon. As I was totally not expecting that to happen, it took every ounce of me to maintain some semblance of composure. As it turned out, Greg wasn’t expecting it either. The moment we glanced over at each other we burst out laughing. Then like schoolboys caught by their teacher, we had to stifle ourselves. It turned out to be the perfect icebreaker and a league of Virgin Mary’s had blessed our first date. Who could ask for more?
We couldn’t wait to see each other again and made plans for the next weekend. On that date, we planned to meet again a few nights later. The time had come for the true litmus test - Greg had to meet my dog-child. I invited Greg over for dinner. While I answered the door, Betty waited at the top of the stairs. He came up and her tail started going into a full-force butt wag - the kind of wag that looked like she was going to fall down from not being able to stay balanced. Great! She likes him. The two seemed off to a good start.
The three of us spent practically every spare moment together - weeknights, weekends, and trips to the Cape or Vermont. Greg and I were becoming a couple and with Betty, a little family. It didn’t take long to see how much they truly loved each other. We did it, Betty! We found the person who would round out our pack. A year after we met, and after alternating between each other’s places six nights a week, we decided to move in together. Our place was in Jamaica Plain and overlooked a pond. Though we worried about how she would do, Betty settled into our new place quite easily. One of her favorite things was to sit on the couch with her snout on the window watching the ducks and cars go by. It always made us smile when we’d hear her snore away as her head and shoulders were warmed by the sun’s rays. Coming home from work was the best. When Betty would spot us from the window, the tips of her floppy ears would bounce a bit and then her tap dance would ensue on the windowsill. Nothing beats the greeting one gets from a dog. It’s unbridled love.
We found a few spots where she could run off-leash with other furry friends. On mornings before work, we’d go to the pond. Greg would either run with her or I’d take her to meet dog friends for some play. She loved this constitutional. It was generally fun for us, too. That is except for when she would decide to take a dip in the murkiest part of the pond. It was under a bridge. And the water glistened with a greasy, smelly slick of god only knows what on it. We would plead with her not to go in. "Betty, no! No water! No water!" And then, just like the defiant puppy with her head above the marigold, she’d jump in. Minutes later, and after she was sure that she had fully saturated herself, she would emerge stinky and slimy and terribly pleased with herself. Given that we lived in an apartment building and the only option to bathe her was our bathtub, it entailed having to get her through the building’s foyer as neatly as we could and then giving her a bath in the tub all before getting ourselves ready for work. While it often added an element of stress to the morning, because Betty enjoyed it so much, it was easy to overlook.