Marla and Eric first crossed paths while students at Acadia University, circa 1998. Eric knew Marla as that friend of mutual friends with the tall boyfriend who had spent a summer promoting a Yarmouth seafood restaurant in a lobster costume; Marla knew Eric as that funny little computer science poster child with the various girlfriends who yelled "Hey, lobster girl!" and did a dance complete with enthusiastic "claw"-waving each time he spied her on campus. That, and the fact that she always mixed him up with Chris Boran.
Things continued in this fashion through the remainder of their Acadia days and beyond, until Acadia alums Will, Windy and Eric found themselves reunited at -- who else -- Chris Boran's wedding in early 2003. "Marla said to say hi," Windy relayed (though such instructions escape Marla's memory, she is retrospectively grateful for Windy's go-get-'em-ness). "Oh, how IS Lobster Girl?" queried Eric. "I'll give you her email address," Windy slyly offered, "and you can ask her yourself."*
Eric dropped Marla a line and they corresponded occasionally throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Eventually, he asked for her number and started to call. "603 area code -- who the heck is that?" she asked herself, gazing warily at her call display. Then, "Why is that funny little computer science poster boy slash campus dancer calling me?" The calls and emails culminated in Eric inviting Marla to be his date for a Labour Day weekend wedding taking place, conveniently enough, in Ottawa.
And so it was that yet another wedding played a role in the epic saga of Marla and Eric. Amanda J. did a bang-up role in her duties as chauffeur, and despite an unfortunate bout of digestive distress on Marla's part, a pleasant time was had at Todd and Linda's nuptial festivities. After Eric's return to New Hampshire the following day, the emails and phone calls continued. Marla soon found herself rather fond of the odd and amusing young man from New England, and Eric's interest hadn't diminished. Their coupledom become official on Thanksgiving weekend 2003, when Eric undertook his first official for-the-sole-purpose-of-visiting-Marla marathon drive to Ottawa. She knew she'd hooked him good when he stayed for one night, made the 7-hour drive home to work the night shift, had a nap and called to ask "Can I come see you again tonight?" (the fact that he later latch-hooked her a kitten-and-puppy-motif rug to prove his status as evolved-male-unthreatened-by-stereotypically-female-pursuits only confirmed it).
Things continued in this fashion for some time. They discovered that they had much in common, not the least of which was their mutual passion for the Simpsons and, as all who know Eric will attest, karaoke. Spurred on by his affections, Eric soon became acquainted with every rest stop and Dunkin' Donuts from Hampstead to Saint-Armand. Marla flew down whenever finances allowed. Circumstances changed; Eric's life as a grocery store stockboy came to an end with re-entry into the world of high-tech in late 2004. In early 2006 he helped Will secure a position with his company, a development beneficial to both in that Will's wife (aka the Widow Wightman), who would remain in Ottawa, graciously offered her car and chauffering services to the hapless, public transit-dependent Marla for semi-monthly cross-border road trips.
So it was only appropriate that Will and Windy were sitting across the table from Marla and Eric at Little Mexico restaurant (New Hampshire's first Mexican restaurant!) on March 31st, 2006, when Eric discreetly invited Marla on a mission to, as it were, dig her own engagement ring. Parents were informed, photos taken and friends phoned. A flurry of scheming, dreaming and consultation with immigration lawyers ensued, with the eventual decision to be married in New Hampshire on or around June 9th, 2007, with receptions to follow in Ottawa and Yarmouth, NS.
To be continued...
*May be an approximation of actual conversation