Mistress, Mess, and Now Wife (Or How I Married a Mistress Who Got Thrown Out of Her Flat by a Furious Wife)
I found her in the hallway of my building - sobbing. She occupied the flat next to mine - at least, she used to until the wife of the doctor she'd been mistress to stormed inside with her harried husband in tow and threw her out. I know now what a big ass I'd been to react to the sight of her the way I did but it was impossible not to. She looked funny, sitting there in a clingy little black dress with her clothes strewn about her and sobbing as loudly as a five-year-old would. She cussed when she heard my laughter. "Oh, go away!" she lashed out.
"I'm sorry," I said, still trying - and failing - to contain my laughter, "but I think you need help."
When she heard the word 'help', she practically growled at me. "I don't need help! I don't need anything from you! Just go."
"You sure? You could crash in my place while you figure out what to do with all those clothes you got there."
That was how I met Amanda - in the hallway, with mascara streaking her face, while she bawled like a little child. She slept in my couch for a week. She cleaned my place, made dinner, did the laundry but we never talked because by the time I got home from work, she was fast asleep - in the couch I told her she could sleep in for as long as she needed to.
There was no instant chemistry between us. I found her funny, she found me heartless. It was much, much later that I learned all about the girl who had taken the first bus away from Oklahoma to try her luck in the big city. How do I describe Amanda? She is beautiful, yes, but not in the way that drives men wild with instant lust. She's beautiful in the way that paintings are - and the contrast between her delicate beauty and her rough, small-town accent and manners is just too hilarious for words. She eats like a truck driver and snores like one. But she is kind and used to bring home all kinds of stray into my apartment. At least, she used to - before I put my foot down and told her if she didn't throw her little collection of mangy cats and flea-riddled dogs out, I'd throw her out along with them. She is also patient, hardworking, and compassionate. By the time my mom met her by accident and found her doing the dishes in the kitchen, she phoned me at work and said, "I don't know what arrangement you and this Amanda person have, son, but if you don't intend to marry her, then tell me now so I can bring her home with me and introduce her to your brother Bill."
My ma, she always knew a gem every time she saw one, and to this day, she never stops telling my children the story of how she "forced" me to marry their mother. Her version of the story, while beautiful, is inaccurate. No one had to force anyone. I married Amanda four weeks after she moved in with me. You see, the day I laughed at how messy she looked sprawled in the hallway the way she was, was the day I fell in love with her - hook, line, and sinker.