The story of how I met my wife begins, like most things, with my little brother.
His favorite story to tell to girls at a bar was a highly embellished story from our childhood. His version was different, but the truth was just another normal scene that anyone could have been through while growing up.
We were playing in the kitchen while our mother’s back was turned. He wanted to play in the frying pans, and I, as his self appointed protector, was trying to keep both of us out of trouble by putting them back on top of the stove. I eventually won the battle by virtue of being twenty months older, but he was very determined, and when our mother finally returned to the kitchen, she found him in a pan on the burner and me standing on the chair he’d pushed up to the stove to climb up, trying to make sure he didn’t fall.
My brother told it differently. He’d lean on the bar, chatting up the prettiest girls he could convince to listen. “Let me tell you about the time that my brother tried to cook me for dinner…” he’d say. I’d stand by and roll my eyes and the girls would look between us and giggle. They’d also gasp and say “oh no!” in the appropriate places while my brother hammed up his mostly fictional version of the story.
The night I met my wife, my brother had his eye on her. He brought me along to the other end of the bar where she was standing with her friends, to be his ever faithful wing man. My wife and her friends listened rapturously like all the other girls my brother had subjected to his favorite story, but that particular night I had already heard it twice and was getting rather annoyed with the whole song and dance.
By the time he got to the bit about “my brother had his hand on the temperature dial and was seasoning me with oregano when our mom walked in,” I had had enough.
The girls were laughing as my brother imitated the look on our mother’s face, so I added, “if I’d known he was going to tell this story to everyone he met for the next thirty years, I’d have turned on the burner a lot sooner.”
It’s a good thing my wife likes dark humor; she was the only one who laughed.
While we live happily ever after, I’ll make sure to keep a gate on the kitchen so our kids won’t ever have a story like mine to torture each other with.