Jimmy & Sophia

It was obvious to me the moment I met Jimmy that he had some cash – the IWC chronograph on his right wrist told me that.  Through dinner, at which he was a guest, he never made obvious declarations of his wealth.  There were no mentions of extravagant vacations or profanely expensive cars.  Jimmy was simply a guest at his friends well appointed Arlington condo where I had been hired to make a five course Valentines Day dinner. 

Three days later Jimmy called me to ask if I would have an interest in cooking for him and his wife, daughter and her boyfriend and another couple at his Vermont ski house one weekend.  Vermont ski house = wealth clue #2.  After a generous fee (not inclusive of food cost) was offered “It would be my pleasure” was my only response.  We had the standard discussions about culinary preferences and dietary restrictions (none) and set the date.

When I inquired about travel arrangements Jimmy indicated that he would send a car to ferry me to the airport.  Wealth clue #3.  When I arrived at a completely unfamiliar airport (via a shiny black Lincoln Town Car with Gus, who would not allow me to touch a door handle, behind the wheel) I was a little unnerved.  That is until jimmy greeted me on the tarmac in front of a Gulfstreem jet.  I have been on a private jet before, once, but this was so much nicer.  It was adorned with mahogany like most places are adorned with Ikea.  Gigantic, slap you on the forehead with a sledgehammer wealth clue #4.

Jimmy and his cadre could not have been more gracious.  I prepared breakfast and dinner (they ate lunch on the mountain) and they oohed and ahhed with every bite.  They said please and than you at every turn; and there was a cleaning attendant to do the heavy wash lifting in the kitchen.  Every night after dinner Jimmy and I sat on the deck and under the heat lamps smoking cigars, drinking another bottle from his amazing wine cellar, and talking about any and everything. 

The third night of our long weekend Jimmy’s wife joined us on the deck after dinner.  Sophia is gorgeous, not a “Second wife, I traded my first for a younger and hotter model kind of gorgeous” but a “I married my college sweetheart and she still makes me smile when she enters a room” gorgeous.  She sat with us long enough for us to discuss her affinity for opera, his preference for the symphony, and her love of Shakespeare (she and I bonded over Sonnet 116.)  they were/are so obviously still in love that I asked them to share the story of their meeting and engagement. 

In the manner that great couple often do, they told the story in sequence with one finishing the others sentences. 

Jimmy: we met sophomore year of college but…

Sophia: I was dating someone else…

Jimmy: not just someone else, but one of my close friends…

Sophia: not so close that you were uncomfortable stealing his girl…

Jimmy: only because I thought you deserved better…

Sophia: and I did; I deserved you, baby…

Jimmy: but I have never been man enough to deserve you…

Sophia: anyways, I was yours the moment you asked…

Jimmy: right after graduation, I went to New York…

Sophia: and I went to DC

Jimmy: but she was always on my mind, in my closest of dreams every goddamn one included her.  One day I caught the train down to DC to take her to dinner…

Sophia: Dinner! Ha, if you want to call IHOP dinner, then sure…

Jimmy: that was all I could afford; I thought that IHOP was good eating back then; but after dinner, I took Sophia for a walk along the C&O.  we walked for…

Sophia: too goddamn long, actually.  I had no idea what the hell he had planned.

Jimmy: I was screwing up my nerve to finally drop down on one knee and ask this beautiful woman to marry me.  I didn’t have any money to speak of; so the only ring I could afford…

Sophia: was from a Cracker Jack box; and I didn’t care.  All I wanted to do was marry this unbelievable man.  He told me that the plastic ring was a promissory  note and that we would one day replace it; and he has.  But I still keep that plastic ring in my jewelry box because that is the ring from the man who proposed to me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.


I am sure that we talked more throughout that evening, but I do not recall what else might have been said.  As over the top as that story was, I still long to feel that way about a woman, and have her feel that way about me.  Just the thought of it gives me a chill.


16 Responses to Jimmy & Sophia

  1. Lusty Reader says:

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful love story! While I adore my romance novels, nothing beats true life. Before I even scrolled down the the last line of your post I had chills and when I read that you did too, mine got bigger.

    If we can’t all have a grand love story at least we can hear them.

  2. f.B says:

    When it’s right, it’s beautifully simple.

    And when it’s right, money (or lack thereof) is a shitty reason to wait.

  3. kathleen says:

    we should all be so lucky.

    we can only hope.

  4. brookem says:

    what a sweet story. shared in such a harry/sally-esque type way too.

    it really felt like i was watching one of the Harry-Sally interlude scenes, only better.

  5. I love the plastic ring. I love that she still cherishes it.

    The plastic ring and the joy that it gave, and still gives, put my ex-wife’s engagement ring in an entirely new perspective.

  6. Julie says:

    I just threw up a little. God that’s sweet.

    I can’t blame you for the vomit; the story had enough sweet to upset any stomach.

  7. Lisa says:

    That’s incredibly charming. And rare.

    Seeing the two of them together was incredibly charming, and more authentic than my words are capable of describing.

  8. [F]oxymoron says:

    Great story! Everybody deserves a story (or two) like that.

    I’ve been wondering where my story like that is…

  9. ella says:

    i thought once upon a time it would happen to me. two failed marriages later, and at 37 years of age, its hard to hold out hope. the stories are still nice to read.

    I still believe in unicorns, because for me the alternative is not pleasant.

  10. Sara says:

    It is nice to know that even after all that time…people can still make it seem easy.

    I don’t know that it was easy, and I would bet that if you asked them, they would tell you that it wasn’t. But I am sure that it’s been fun.

  11. Kevin says:

    Man, that’s what we’re all looking for. You could probably take everything away from them and they’d still be happy because they have each other.

    I don’t know that any of us are actively looking FOR it, but just hoping to find it along the way.

  12. kathleen says:

    how long do you think it took for them to get there? maybe, rr, you’re giving up too soon.

    who says I’ve given up anything?

  13. This is the kind of story that, if presented in a work of fiction, people wouldn’t buy. But here, alive and part of the real world, it simply takes a woman’s (or at least this woman’s) breath away.

    PS: I think I’ve finally rinsed the smell of cigar from all attire I wore that night. Meaning, I’m clearly ready for another rendezvous if you end up in town again. Perhaps I’ll even dress to give the leopard clad cougar a run for her money.

    I would never have believed it if I hadn’t been there to hear it.

  14. What a great story.

    I could have heard it a 100 times that night.

  15. foolery says:

    I have had only one personal encounter with extreme wealth like that, and it was burdened by fear, not warmth. While it turned out fine, even well, your story is at it’s core about two real and fine people.

    What a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

    It really did reaffirm my faith in people.

  16. […] but I’ve had it for a rather long time.  Having heard hundreds of “how we met” stories (this is among my all-time favorites,) I have learned the […]

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