by Jacki Lynden
I'd been to more than 50 countries; he'd never gotten a passport. So our meeting—on the balcony of a Washington, D.C., hotel in a rainstorm—was an instant nonstarter: This man is certainly not for me, I thought…I was looking for a dashing intellectual who read Derrida in his spare time—like my last boyfriend. He swears I flirted shamelessly with him, but I was thinking, What girlfriend could I introduce this sweet naïf to?
Next week he sent a hand-colored postcard of me on the balcony. I needed a head shot for NPR's lobby, or I wouldn't have phoned back. At the shoot, he came over and smoothed my hair—and he was so hot! Oh well, I thought, maybe we could have a fling! To my amazement, my friends took one look and started telling me how great he'd be for me…
He loves all my friends. Listens to my dramas. Phoned me in Gaza, Jerusalem, Pakistan, Kabul, and New York City on 9/11. Our first foreign country was Ireland; we got engaged in Baghdad. How could I not marry Will O'Leary?
The wedding was in my ancestral town, Clifden, Ireland, on October 16, 2004—with guests from 13 countries, including his Irish O'Leary clan. Designer Alexander Julian milled us a tweed in Donegal. I've kept my Brooklyn loft! Privately, call me Mrs. O'Leary. Forever.
Jacki Lyden is a host/correspondent for NPR.