The future Wife Klem had the cubicle immediately across the aisle. We had different job duties and I was in the office only a few hours each week. When our in-office time cooperated we engaged in brief casual conversation, a task in which I was admittedly clumsy. Six months went by, she turned in her two weeks notice! [She was leaving NOT because of me, but for a different line of work.] I was in a state of distress, what was this guy going to do if she got away? ‘I must ask her out before she departs,’ I convinced myself, hoping I’d somehow muster the intestinal fortitude to follow through. If she declined, I’d endure a two-week period of in-office awkwardness and then she’d be gone. Clean slate. At least I’d know she was not my match. But what if she was and I missed out because of my inaction?!
It was 19 years ago today, May 3, 1996, Taco Day at the office. Cinco De Mayo that year fell on a Sunday and Management decided to have a free food day the preceding Friday as a head nod to the Cinco.
As the grub wound down late that afternoon and folks made their way back to work to finish off the week, my aisle was not yet flush with occupants, except for myself and the future Bride Klem across the aisle. I had gathered my gear and was preparing to leave the office, internally I struggled with the important task at hand. Nervously, though doing my best to conceal it, I asked her for her phone number. She smiled, brushed her hair back behind her ear, wrote her phone number on a Post-It note, and handed it to me. As she handed this treasure across the aisle, each of us with a hand on the slip of paper mid-exchange, the eye contact as she looked at me, and the smile! There was a certain thrill and excitement I vividly remember to this day, that exchange looking into her beautiful blue eyes and the smile! I quickly said my good byes and left the office before I could say something silly and ruin the moment.
Two weeks later the beautiful Wife Klem did leave our shared place of employment. We spoke regularly, dated, and eventually married. When Wife Klem smiles at me, it’s the thrill of that Friday afternoon, with a few company-issued tacos stashed away in my belly, asking my future bride for her phone number . . . and receiving it!