Calm and Collected
I'd die for art, but I'd live for her.
"Maria Castillo. Maria is a reckless girl. She jumps out of airplanes and contributes to FIFA World Cup wins. I love her dearly. Prior to now, there was a before, and I'd like to touch on that. We met in a small cafe in Newport, Kentucky, " I explain to my family and friends. I glance at Maria, all dolled up in a tuxedo with her long brown hair up in a bun. "We were young, only eighteen. I was an aspiring novelist, and she was being scouted by both the Spanish and American national teams. She was much farther ahead of me in life, but I daresay I've caught up to her," I muse fondly into the microphone, glancing at my new wife, watching her brown eyes twinkle with laughter. I continue, "I was waiting in line for my coffee, and Maria and her soccer crew strutted right in front of me. She was a real asshole back then, but I've straightened her out, figuratively anyway. Being the shy girl I was back then, I didn't say anything. I let them cut me in line. That was the best decision of my life. For some reason, my Maria felt guilty for cutting me and asked if she could buy me a coffee. Of course, the broke English major that I was, I said yes, and that lead me to the rest of my life."
I scan the crowd, and they're all intent on my story. "It turned out that Maria and I went to the same college. I was never really into sports, but when Maria asked me to come to one of her games I couldn't say no. She was so graceful and beautiful out on that field. I fell in love with soccer, and went to every home game after that. I told myself it was for the sport, but the awkward moments after the games when Maria and I talked were more nerve wracking and exciting than soccer ever was. I know now that she was playing with me. She let me make a fool of myself for months before she asked me out."
Maria shrugged and laughed.
"Everyone told me it wouldn't work. We were too different. We were like fire and ice. I was calm and collected. She was reckless and wild. While that would have deterred most couples, it usually worked in our favor. We fell in love so quickly. It was blissful, at least for three more years. "
Everyone very suddenly looked concerned.
"Like most couples, we started to drift apart after a while. She was shipped off to Spain to practice for the World Cup. I had found an editor and agent to work with. We were just in different places. The next time I saw her, she was on the side of a billboard in California. I couldn't believe my eyes. She was advertising some health nut company and apparently jumping out of planes. It was insane, but I couldn't gape for too long. I had a book signing to go to." "I'd been wearing a fake smile and signing my name for hours. Suddenly, a small ripple of whispers ran through the crowd, and everyone turned to stare at Maria. She'd come to my book signing, if you can believe it. She waited patiently for her turn, for once in her life. All it took was one small peek at her puppy eyes. I was in love all over again."
I wipe a tear from my eye, trying not to smear my makeup. "Soon, we were all the rage in the United States and Spain. We were the 'It Couple', you know? I remember when the tabloids even tried to split us up. That's how you know you're famous. None of that mattered though. We were together again," I sigh happily through tears.
"She had me doing things I'd never even dreamed of. I was learning to snowboard and skydive and mountain climb. She turned me into a real adventurer like her."
"I'm just going to wrap it up, since I know you're sick of my babble. She's my past, present, and future. I'd die for art, but I'd live for her. She's the only masterpiece I need in my life."
I grin at my wife as she comes to take the microphone from me. We kiss each other softly, and her raspy voice takes my place.