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My brother, upon hearing that my new boyfriend has only eight fingers, nicknamed him Ocho in eight seconds flat. And the moniker kinda stuck. By kinda, I mean that Ocho—like Dubya—at first balked at his new tag. But, 18 months later, he now signs his emails with the name.

I met Ocho in March 2006. I’d seen his photo on and bullied him into emailing me. We met a few weeks later for coffee and ahi. It was supposed to be coffee and a hike, but I wanted to impress, so I wore surgically pointy black boots and a cute necklace that I’d bought that morning from a sidewalk vendor for good dating Feng Shui. My hair was down to the middle of my back.

The boots must have done the trick. After coffee, Ocho invited me over to the Brewing Company for a glass of wine, down to the Jetty to get some fresh ahi, and up to his house to grill it.

Our second date was at Sushi Sams. It was packed (as usual), so we sat at the counter. Ocho was pouring sweat from the wad of wasabi that frosted the unagi he’d just popped in his mouth, when I asked him what he thought was under the clear plastic container on the Sushi dude’s counter. It actually looked like a little see-through coffin. Inside was a piece of orange cloth with a silver spoon on it. I was completely puzzled. Ocho mopped his brow with his napkin, looked at the coffin and ordered more sake. "I don't know, but it's weird," he said.

The next morning at work, I found the attached photo in my inbox at work. The text read:
“Look what I found on the internet! I knew I’d seen that spoon somewhere…”

If the cute smile didn’t get me, the Stalin/spoon photo sealed the deal.

That email is dated 3/31/2006. Six weeks later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Enough of cancer, let's talk about Ocho's fingers. While sitting outside the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company with a glass of wine on that first date, Ocho told me he’d blown himself up in a rocket accident when he was 12. “Let me get this out of the way,” he said by way of introducing the topic. (To be continued…)


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