We sat at the same table. We drank a couple of Buds and just talked. We told each other our life stories since, well, we didn't know each other before.
Jimmy owns his father's old business. He runs the whole show, the whole shebang. He works on heating and cooling for all of the buildings in town and him also, as of recently, shampoos rugs. He lives by himself in a little cabin on the edge of town, with an empty fish bowl. He told me about how his fish, Spot, died a couple of weeks ago. He's not too sad about it and instead remembers the good times they had together.
I asked him if he wanted another pet. He said maybe, someday, when "I get my shit put back together".
I told him that after living in Almost until I was four, my parents moved us all to Vermont. My father said that we moved because of better job opportunities. Turns out, Vermont wasn't all that it was cracked up to be, other than the easier winters there. He, my father, ended up dying in a car crash after working for about twenty years as a PR representative for a local department store. By then, my mother had been dead for almost ten years: breast cancer. I didn't do very well in school and never made it to college. I went back to my roots after my father's death left me alone. Almost was the only place I could really stand a chance: it was the place my parents met, the place where all of the happiness in my life came from.
I got the waitressing job at the Moose Paddy, met Ginette, got a room at the boarding house, and was recovering from my loss. To me, meeting Jimmy was the icing on the cake. I told him that immediately, the last part, not quite able to hide it.
He said that was how he felt when he heard me say my name for the first time.
For a while, I didn't know why. When I asked him about it, he said that it was the moment he looked me in the eyes and saw me for who I was. A little bit of intuition and a lot of rumors spread around, making me feel unconvinced about his story.
The winter trudged on for what felt like eons (compared to Vermont). He always wore long sleeves, and after that, a cast (he broke his left arm when he was trying to fix an air conditioner, supposedly). It took him until the end of July to wear a t-shirt and lose the cast. We had been together for about six months, and I had never seen his arms before.
It's strange but true.
It was very faint like he had just written it in marker, but it had been washed away. It was my name, on his arm, in cursive script.
"It's a funny story, I swear."
I listened, and it was. He was dating Sandy, and one night, she left him alone in the cabin. She never came back, leaving no explanation. He interpreted this as driving her away and nitpicked every little detail of their relationship to make that conclusion. He was severely depressed and decided to mark himself a villain as a result of his feelings. He drove to Bangor to get that impulse tattooed on his arm: they misspelled it. And that misspelling was my name.
"It was like a message from God, Vill. I was meant to be with you. I wasn't a villain and I didn't drive Sandrine away. When I heard your name, I knew that. I knew it was you, and I knew I wasn't who I thought I was. Even then, I felt like that the tattoo had to go because it'd be weird to take a girl out on a first date and already have her name tattooed on your arm. I was hiding it from you, I didn't want you to freak out, so I've been getting it lasered off."
"Jimmy, you don't need to do that anymore. It's cute." I stifled a laugh, "It's really, really cute."
We sat there, on his porch (our porch) that summer afternoon in complete silence after that. We took in the view of the mountains, holding each other close. We stayed there together all night, watching the sunset and the crickets chirp.
The next day, we drove to the courthouse.
We got married.