My wife and I had three things in common before we got married--before, in fact, we even knew each other. We went to the same nightclub, we attended the same church, and we frequented the same Starbucks. It might be inferred from the preceding that we also lived in the same neighborhood, so I will not count this as a fourth.
It so happens that our first actual meeting took place at the nightclub, but it could have taken place at any of the three locales, and so we tend to use all three in an interchangeable manner, each being equal to the other in potential, depending upon who is asking, why they want to know, our conceit at the moment, and other variables that may come into play.
My wife says that she came to the bar to order a drink. I was sitting on the other side of the bar with a pint of beer (being otherwise single and friendless). She says that when I looked up from my beer (which I tended to do every twenty minutes or so), my hand froze in midair, pint glass poised just in front of my lips, which had also frozen in a posture of readiness (to drink, that is).
I think this description is perfectly accurate. What I remember is looking up and immediately setting my eyes upon the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. So of course I froze. What man wouldn't? Our eyes met, and she smiled, and she raised her glass from across the bar. (As her story goes, I was still frozen solid during this period of time).
Well, she paid for her drink and disappeared into the crowd (and it was a crowd that night, of the shoulder-to-shoulder sort), and I sat there thinking (able to move, I believe, by that time), My God that was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen!).
Next thing I knew, someone was tapping my left shoulder. Somehow she had come all the way around the bar, squeezed on through behind me, and came to rest on my left. She wanted to know if I could give her a light. Now this is curious, because my wife does not smoke, and even if she had been smoking that night, she could no doubt have gotten a light from one of her friends at her own table. I proceeded to fish through my pockets for the lighter that was sitting on the bar in front of me. She was still smiling, and I could clearly see, now that she was so close, that she was not as beautiful as I had thought, but more beautiful yet. Stunning, in a word (which was having, indeed, the same paralyzing effect on my mouth as before).
I finally managed to ask where she lived (having discovered, at last, the lighter which had been so completely hidden in plain sight).
At the Marriott, she said.
What, the Marriott Hotel? This seemed rather odd. What kind of girl was this? Perhaps I had not heard correctly. Maybe she had said Maryland, or St. Mary's Convent, or I'm married. No. A second request for the same information elicited the same response.
The Marriott Hotel.
What sort of girl lives in a hotel? Well let's see, she is Asian, so perhaps she is just passing through, from Singapore to Brazil, for instance. Or how about this--maybe she works at the hotel. And lives there too. Or maybe . . . well, there were other possibilities that entered my mind. But the long and short of it was that I was now frozen by this question of where she lived--my own fault for asking it, for it had been a stupid question to begin with. Before I knew it she was gone again. I looked around the room but could not find her. I looked around the room the rest of the night, but she had vanished.
I was later to learn that it was none of my business at the time where she might live. Thus her answer, The Marriott. Why would your first words to a woman you don't even know be "Where do you live," she asked. "Why would any woman answer that question coming from a complete stranger?"
This is where our three places in common ends up being fortuitous, affording, as they did, a three fold opportunity to redeem myself. Our meeting at the nightclub took place in the winter of 2007. We were married in May. A year later, almost to the day, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, though that is a different story altogether.
We no longer have our three places in common, for we no longer go to the nightclub, we rarely go to church anymore, and only I have remained faithful to the neighborhood Starbucks. We have now, therefore, nothing whatsoever in common.