I am Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval. My student call me Mr. Dr. de Torres. Of course most of them that do are ages 3 to 10, but those older ones say Dr. de Torres. My wife, Dr. Alma “Betty” Sandoval wanted me to use de Torres (and I agreed) to distinguish me from her in the district since we have the same doctorate and same last name (of course).
I’ve been a fine artist, computer geek, writer (prose and poetry) for most of my life with drawing edging out the others by a few years. So I’ve been an artist for nearly 51 years.
My wife told me when reading my writing in a doctoral seminar (dry prose for other doctoral candidates) that she fell in love with me before we met. I remember that day like no other day in my life. I can see in my memory walking to the residency seminar room, standing before the door and catching my breath in anticipation. “I’m going to sit near the prettiest woman in the room, ” I said in a low voice before I opened the door.
The room was long and wide, painted in those muted Phd. tones (somber and doctoral) and seated around tables that lined the periphery were men and women from every country or nation (or so it seemed).
I looked from one end through to the other; “Too tall,” I thought. Too this, too that, too unusual and so on until I saw a delicate redhead in a silvery grey top and pin strip business suit (skirt and jacket) and the seat next to her was empty. In fact, it was the only remaining seat in the room. (G0d’s timing)
I remember nervously sitting near her and making small talk, what I don’t know, but I tried for 20 or 30 minutes to see, did her left hand have a wedding band. It didn’t, the finger was bare and I was elated.
We spent a number of days and hours working on our research and other papers, first in one group, then another as the professor shuffled us around. At first he said, “You’ve already been in the group,” with Betty and then I’d walk around the room in a circle and stand next to her again. In this way I managed to stay in her group the entire week.
During the second residency we spent even more time together getting to know one another, until one day heading to the shuttle for the long ride back to the hotel I saw her standing waiting. This was the last shuttle and had one empty seat, so though I was next in line I spoke saying, “You take this seat. I’ll walk back to the hotel.”
“No. I think I’ll walk too,” she replied with a nod and almost a wink. So we walked. We walked back, and the next morning we walked again. We made a mini ritual of walking places together, such as the time we walked the underground.
I knew she was beautiful, unmarried and attractive and my arms wanted to fly up and hold her as we walked. I found out later that she wanted me to hold her and wondered if my polite restraint meant I didn’t like women.
One evening I called her room and feigned not being able to find a research file so I could visit her. I knew I could find it if I looked, but I didn’t want to look at a computer I wanted to witness the face of beauty, the delicate model’s appearance and angelic face.
Another evening I finally asked her to marry me and she said, “No.” Nonplussed I said, “Ok,” and we went on with research. The next night she seemed apprehensive and wouldn’t sit near the computer desk, preferring to wander about or sit on the bed across the room. I stood up and walked to her and asked, “Do you remember what I asked you yesterday?”
“Yes,” she breathed.
“Well,” I inquired smiling.
And we’ve been married since December 29th, 2008.
ps I am grateful to my wife for being my inspiration and muse in re-starting this blog.