Kelly McCreary ("Grey's Anatomy") reads an essay about a chance meeting on a bus that leads to a decades-long relationship.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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from the New York Times and W B Boston. This is modern stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host. We talk about so you're on public transportation in you notice, acute stranger Usually, when you get to your stop, that's where the story ends. But for Rachel Newman things went differently. Rachel's essay is read by Kelly Mccreary, who stars in Grey's anatomy, on on
I met him on the bus. The number nine was my daily commute from the university District of Seattle to the renewed valley where I live in an overcrowded elementary school I got on early in the route I always settled in the back. A prime people watching spot as we traveled through Seattle, varied neighborhoods. I was in the middle of a short, lived, crafty and usually spent thirty minute ride, crocheting hats. My crocheting patience was limited and each hat and too hastily to smile Put anyone but a newborn- I didn't know many people in Seattle and none with young children, so the hats accumulated and a teetering stack and my bedroom
I was always on the lookout for random babies, to whom I could give them. When I wasn't looking for babies, I would stare at the back of the guy who regularly sat in the middle of the bus on the left hand side. I never saw him get on so I didn't know his face, but I had become acquainted with the narrow swath of neck between his Carhartt jacket and wool. Hat one day I looked up as he was getting off and caught a glimpse of em. He was gazing at me with an open interested. Look that made me warm. I glanced away. went back to my crocheting. A couple of days later the bus broke down. The driver got off and began pacing the length of the bus arms crossed some passengers,
if their belongings and left is barely looked up from their reading, the guy with the Carhartt jacket and I crossed paths mid aisle. He smiled revealing even white teeth. I smiled back. What are you going to do? He asked I was still twenty minutes from my stop. I think I'll wait. I said I've still got a ways. What about you, I'm going to walk He said not going far, which added for another minute and he gave me a casual, see a nod and got off. From the window. I watched his easy slouch to see if he would turn around and wave that he didn't. I went back to my crocheting. The next week was my school spring break.
I visited family when I return to work and my usual commute. The guy with the nice smack was not in his usual place, and he wasn't there the next day or the next I never saw him on the bus again. A month past my bus rides continued. My of tiny hats was reaching epic proportions. one morning when there was a break in Seattle Spring rains, I walked to the corner. Cafe. Taking plays in the back of a long line. I picked up a copy of the stranger Seattle's free weekly newspaper, known for its literary personal ads. The local custom, which I diligently followed, was to start reading the newspaper from the back. They're four ads down in me. I saw you section was this
a number nine to renew valley. One morning you have short talk, hair, a green hat brown eyes and work in an element of school. I was led to work and now Baker. we spoke briefly haven't seen you since would like to meet again. Number seven, nine one I snorted in surprise looked around to see. If anyone had noticed, then read the had three more times. either to copies under my arm and went home coffee forgotten. At evening I called the voice mail box and left a message with my phone. His name is Jason. We met unites later for dessert when I walked in the place was empty
Except for an old couple at a back table and a young guy with spiky brown hair drawing on a napkin without his wall had he looks barely old enough to have finished high school. I have heard not sure if I had made a mistake, then he smiled, I recognized that smile I sat down and he blushed putting me at ease. We each aid a large chocolate moves and then went for a walk in the nearby park. The talk was light and the night was form, but I was impatient. I wanted to get the talking overwhelmed and finally get a chance to kiss the back of his neck at the edge of the park they paused by my car, where you going now, he asked home. I said another pause want to come.
He took my hand, and there was no more talking even in the car, on the way back to my house, even my room even when night, starting to turn into dawn, and we finally fell asleep. In the morning I had to rush to work and I'll go buy with short I'll call you he said, and I nodded As I walked to the bus stop, I found myself skipping every few steps I didn't know if he would. each other again, but it had been a good night. Few nights later we met again on top with small knoll at abandoned gas factory converted into a park. had a conversation I had a few times before. I, like you, I said, but I'm not ready for a relationship
This was my standard pain prevention, opening line, neither said Jason. Let's just have fun. Okay, I said good. We stared out at the Blackwater of Lake Union, our fingers casually interlaced and we did have fun. A child of brutal divorce I had decided early on that. Avoiding marriage would be a way to avoid at least some of the pain. So we kept everything light. I moved And then he moved from Seattle to New York, where we shared a big place in Brooklyn with a bunch of other people. We didn't think of ourselves as living together, just really good roommates to pay the bills He built sets for music videos and I edited during the day and worked as a hostess at night. Before long we ve been together casually for ten years
I was thirty and wanted to have a child, so we did. Nearly four years later. We wanted to have another. So we did. By then, we were living in Oakland California. We had joined with another couple to buy a house, each of us owning a quarter share Jason and I were doing just about everything. Married couples do but committing to each other and marriage still seemed to scary, and we felt unnecessary more time passed as we supported each other through illness. The deaths of love. ones and financial stress, and somehow we stuck to our agreement to keep it fun. If not always easy.
Even when we were tired broke and cranky parents of small children being together seemed preferable to the alternative around, as though things were changing couples we had known for years, were splitting up. Our daughters were old enough to fly across the country by themselves. They are Lake Lansing back as they boarded the plane that Jason still look like a teenager. There were white hairs in his beard.
A few months ago, as we were walking around like merit, does blocks from our home. We pause to sit on the damp grass Jason pulled the newspaper from his backpack for us to sit on the good I found. He said. All the way from Seattle was a copy of the stranger I tend to be. I saw you section and there, in the center of the page, was a large box to add. I saw you twenty years ago on the bus to renew your valley. We spoke briefly. Will you marry me? I read it again. Well, I should have hugged him a burst into happy tears. Instead, I was silent filled with some
like dread. After two decades of a relationship founded on serendipity, a public long term commitment seem like tempting fate. When Jason and I met, we stayed together because we kept waking up in the morning wanting to be together for another day. But now the stakes were, at higher. There was no way at this point to cut my losses without cutting off a huge part of myself.
Canada, goose, waddled over to us nosing at my legs, for a handout holding a newspaper and look to taste, and he smiled at me patient and the easy his teeth ass white ass. The day we met despite his drinking coffee, everyday such as his luck. Ok, I said reaching fires, hand, yes, because maybe he's right, maybe committing to each other in public, is finally wife, risking and worth planning. After all, we ve been get together for twenty years, three moves and two children
we ought to be able to survive a wedding. That's Kelly, Mccleery Reading, Rachel Newman's essay waiting patiently for the one to crumble will catch up with Rachel after the break. Car Carmax gives you the freedom to shop. However, you, like you, can shop for a car online and on the lot, once you find the right car you can,
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in the screenshots, from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p, o t, Jack nice I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games when we caught up with Rachel Newman one of the first things she told us was that the beginning of her relationship with Jason twenty five years ago now was all about serendipity. So the ads in the stranger ran a week just a week, and you know back then I had to put it in the mail like you took out the and then you wrote it down, and then you sent in a check.
For a while. I was always suspected him of having put in and at every week, but you know, as far as I can tell to listen. It was the only add that he put in, and if this was ninety, whatever ninety something? There is no internet. There wasn't like the ad stayed anywhere else, so it was in entirely the length of the line for coffee that made me pick up the paper and if one other person had just decided not to have coffee, it probably wouldn't have happened. Rachel's essay was published in two thousand fourteen and she says she sat down to write it because she was struggling with a question we had agreed to. a wedding. But I notice that I was still in turmoil and I felt a little silly like I. Why was I nervous? Why was all this about this? As somebody I'd known for twenty years, I wasn't length from guy on the street on tinder in our. He was thank it was in my house, he was taking care of our children, and yet
I had all this anticipation and nerves and wonder if I was jinxing everything and what I realized in the writing of it was that my heart was in Egypt and committed and that I was going to get hurt, no matter what you know in life, that that wasn't really something that, with all my skills and protection that I could control and so in a sense the writing of it was for me. I love letter him him that that I'm taking this risk, even though I know in one way or another I'll get her in October, two thousand and fourteen Rachel and Jason did get married kind of it was such Glorious celebration, I think, having a wedding, but your children get to be. There was for me like one of the most wonderful pieces of it. We had the wedding
On my younger daughters birthday, she still says it was the best day of her life, as does my elder daughter and then afterwards. Someone asked me about the actual marriage, peace and I realized we hadn't done it and we hadn't signed anything. Greece boast a sign. I think we jumped in the ocean and we'd put our hands and mad and put rings on our fingers, and what else were we supposed to do exactly, and so it turns out that there is paperwork that you do when you get married and neither of us knew whose job it was to find it, and so I said if it's I'm on me to do it, I'm not going to happen and so far it hasn't so five years later, we have not have done any paperwork. So apparently we are not married, though we did have a wedding and we can now say it's been. A quarter of the
entry of living together. We have managed to avoid paperwork so, even though their marriage isn't official Rachel, says she's glad that she injuries and took a risk together. I hope that people reading this well choose loving banker. I mean more over protection and know on some level that that is the biggest way you can protect yourself is by risking your heart over and over again in public kind of. I think that was the most wonderful part. For me, in a way was writing the essay, but which was putting it in public
and then having the huge party which was saying loudly and an impassioned. They like I choose this and I want an whatever happened. That's chair, that's Rachel! Newman. She lives in California, she's, a writer book, publisher and meditation teacher. Her books include not quite Nirvana and, I am hope, portraits of immigrant teenagers more after the break. If you believe big business can solve big challenges, if you believe the right, MBA peace, dividends for life, you belong at rice, business, earn your mba and a top twenty five programme.
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in the screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p o t Jack nice, I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at an why times, dot com, flash games. here's. Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times. One thing I love about this story is that Jason is such a romantic and the idea of These two people who seem to not want to embrace commitment and to not want to do typically romantic things like the idea that he would place not one but two
ads in the stranger first to find and then to ask her. to marry him as just sort of over the top and I loved it, and you know they. They sort of think that marriage, the official act of marrying unofficially committing, is going to somehow put too much pressure on their relationship, and so they just wear happy I sort of amble along waking up each day and say sort sorta, saying we're going to commit to each other again, but the combination of having that attitude and, at the same time, being incredibly committed and incredibly romantic, I just thought- was irresistible And here's Kelly Mccreary the moment of this story that really grabbed me was the proposal. I did not see that coming caught me totally by surprise and I just loved that it would switch
reflective of life. You know a lot of things come and catch you by surprise things that are going along one way and you think Your stand them and they seem predictable and comfortable and easy and then comes and grabs you, and it makes her. It grow and expand and brings tears to your eyes and and your life changes and ways you didn't imagine it could thanks again to Kelly for reading this week's essay can see her now in Grey's, anatomy on ABC Modern love is a production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced directed and edited by Caitlin Oki original scoring and sound design by Matt, we iris others Adler's our executive producer additional help this week from Catherine Brewer Daniel Jones
editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show. The idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin. Special thanks to do Simon on Australian and MIA Lee at the New York time, additional music, courtesy of a p dot m, I make no trucker party and by the way my other job is hosting NPR show called on point check it out a new path. Gas trees see next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.