Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 47: Still Smitten

35°44’23.2296″N, 139°36’5.5074″E

All I knew about her before we met was what the language-exchange service had told me: office worker, female, age 30-39, wants to learn English conversation, wants to teach Japanese language and culture. Accompanying message: “I have an interest in your profile. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.”

I didn’t know what to expect or who to look for in front of the café where we’d agreed to meet. When an attractive, well-dressed woman asked if I was David, it caught me off-guard.

She says I was very serious and businesslike that day. Which makes sense, as we were meeting for language purposes, and I was used to teaching a lot of private lessons back then.

I was single, but really didn’t want to be, and as we were leaving a while later, a thought bubbled up from my subconscious. Wouldn’t it be something if I wound up with her? I kept this to myself, of course. She was there to practice English, not to be hit on.

All the same, about a year later, I asked her to meet me at the park one Saturday evening. And there in the park, on that warm summer evening, under the indigo sky and lamplight, I gave her a ring and promised to love her forever.

That was June tenth, 2017. Four years ago yesterday.

While on vacation together in Cambodia

We got along well from the start and soon began hanging out. After about six months of meeting and going out as friends, it naturally evolved into dating. She was funny and smart, kind and interesting. She was also very, very cute. I was smitten.

A few months after that, I had a realization that hit me like a meteor. It was suddenly the undeniable truth, the most obvious thing that could possibly be: it was her.

Her as in her, the person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. Her, the person I wanted to have a family with. Her, the woman who finally made sense of that saying that always sounded suspect to me before that. When you know, it turns out that you really do know, and I tell you what—I knew.

I knew it then and I still know it, only now it’s backed up by the added experience of year upon year of being crazy about her. I remain smitten.

I love the way she stretches, catlike, in the morning. I love the way she is sometimes overcome with unrestrained, guileless excitement, like the first time we went away together, when she ran to the water’s edge in Kamakura, giggling all the way.

I love the fact that she reads more than anyone else I’ve ever known, and that she always has the maximum possible number of books reserved at the library.

I love that she’s sexy, but even more that she’s silly. I love her for her kindness, patience, and good humor. I love her for the person she is.

I don’t really know why she loves me, but I am grateful that she does. My love for her is such that it enables me to work harder and hold myself to a higher standard than I could in her absence.

That I get to spend the rest of my life with her, with my favorite person in the world, makes me feel incredibly lucky.

Our engagement photo, taken by my dear friend Karen Turner

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Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

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