“Tall. Like super wow tall. And hot.” That was my first impression of Jim when he ducked a little to assure he’d clear the doorway of the hotel suite where a committee of us were interviewing fiction writing candidates. Curly brown hair, hazel eyes, beard, (a thin and tall) build. And once I could form thoughts in full sentence form, I remembered from his file that he was married had three kids. “Wow,” I thought, “I’ll never find a guy like him, they’re all already taken, very taken.” A guy who is comfortable enough in his own skin to pull off the suit he’d rather not be wearing. A guy whose relaxed amble and smile seemed better suited for jeans, maybe cut-offs, definitely for hanging out outdoors. And then he sat down, turned to answer my question. His gaze enveloped me, looked through me. He seemed to lean in. I had to hold my hand up to block the sun shining bright through the wide windows. But it was Jim who dazzled me.
I still am. Still dazzled after nearly five years of marriage, after our two years of long-distance dating, after the single school year we worked together, after the year and half between that first impression and the interview when the search committee finally hired him. Nine years, that first impression holds strong.