The story of how my husband and I met is so cliche as to almost be obnoxious.

Or the story line for a Nicholas Sparks’ novel.

I was almost 30 and teaching writing and art at one of those private, progressive schools where students sit on the desks and call the teachers by their first names.

He was a buttoned-up (or is it buttoned-down) professional on the fast track to (relative) fame, fortune and a corner office.

One night we were each out with our own group of friends at a restaurant that looks out over a picturesque body of water.  And has a band that starts playing at 10 pm. One of his friends knew one of my friends and so two people – the free spirit writer/artist and the suit and tie professional – who would probably have never crossed paths did, indeed, cross paths.

Once the band started playing, the two groups morphed into one and he and I found ourselves sitting next to each other.  Conversation was easy between us (of course that I found him hot-hot-hot didn’t hurt) and somewhere during the night, I started doing what women do: I began thinking about how I could orchestrate another “accidental” meeting.

The band played until 2 am and though he and I had talked all night, I still had not come up with A Plan.  As everyone was getting their coats on, downing the last drop in their drinks and saying the requisite good-byes, he looked at me and said,

Can I take you out to dinner next week end?

I was shocked.

He would later say he immediately regretted his “impulsivity,” interpreting the look on my face as one of “Oh shit. He’s asked me out. How do I get out of this?”

I would say no that is was most definitely not that but rather the look of, “Holy shit! A guy who actually knows how to be a man and ask a woman out!”

We fell in love.

He loved my creativity, spontaneity and the renewed “zest” for life he said I ignited in him.  His soul had become bland, he said.

I loved his focus, direction and the committment he brought to his life’s goals.  His soul may have been “bland” but mine was eratic, sporadic and hopelessly un-directed.

Together we would take on the world.

He would save it with his philanthropic endeavors.

I would awaken it with my writing and art.

We would live in an old farmhouse with a studio “in the back” for me.  We’d buy a summer beach cottage and watch our babies played naked in the sand.  We would fight and make up and have sex on the kitchen table, even when we were “old,” like 50.

It was all to be so perfect.

There was no mention of or plans made for the Beast of Alcoholism and yet it came busting through the front door within the first year of our marriage.  I’ve come to learn this is quite typical, the Beast willing to be hidden away in the closet or shoved under a bed,  temporarily but never forever.  Once you are living as husband or wife, the Beast is none too remiss in making itself comfortable in your home… your life… your soul.  It’s a most unhospitable house guest and one who doesn’t taken kindly to the notion of its leaving.

My husband and I have been married for nearly 20 years and he’s been drinking for every single one of them.  How is it “just now” that I am seeing a therapist?  How is it “just now” that I have looked up and realized there is little (if anything) left of who I once felt myself to be?

Where has the time gone?

Where have I gone?