There’s not a lot about my life that I’ve been sure about.
I wasn’t sure about college, I’m never sure of one of my projects until it’s proven successful (like the fast-funding and ongoing Veranthea Codex Collection Kickstarter!), and generally I wander around pretty fickle until I see something that I know is right (deciding what to make for meals is often a thorough debate).
Stephanie is not one of those things.
Eight years ago after a long shift of hard labor (I was a foreman at a landscaping company back then) I went to the Rock Room, a bar in Polish Hill in Pittsburgh. My friend Diana was working there as a bartender and so I settled in for some drinking, and before long another friend of hers arrived. She was a small little thing (easily a head and a half shorter than me, juuuust a wee bit taller than 5 feet) and very subdued, wearing a knit cap despite the heat and dressed like a 20-something Daria.
I was instantly interested and did my damndest not to show it.
Diana introduced us to one another and we started talking. It turned out that we were both avidly interested in philosophy and enjoyed debate, liked many of the same movies, and generally got along fairly well.
I’m not going to explain here how it is that Stephanie tricked me into her car, but she did. She totally did. She abducted me from that bar like a seasoned criminal. It was slick. I’m still amazed at how easily I was lured into a stranger’s vehicle and then taken away, possibly never to be seen again.
Fortunately she did not kill me and bury the body.
Since then we’ve been nearly inseparable. The next year (as the housing market suffered and I was let go) I moved in with her in Squirrel Hill, deeper in the city, because it was a ridiculous waste of gas for us to constantly drive to and from one another’s homes.
For a while I worked whatever jobs I had to in order to pay the rent until eventually I was at a crossroads of sorts and she made an incredibly insightful suggestion: why don’t you sell some of the Dungeons & Dragons material you’re always working on?
That’s how I got to where I am today.
I never would have thought to pursue my favorite hobby as a career without Stephanie and I love her all the more for it, and as my primary muse, I always make sure she has a place in whatever I’m working on.