it was right after i moved to hudson, ny. i had teamed up with an old friend of a friend at her art supply store to try to merge my graphic design skills with her retail skills. since i had retail experience and good management skills (and because she wanted to go to France for a few weeks to spend time with her French 'gentleman'), she asked me to manage the store while she was gone. she liked to go out at night so, often, the mornings were a problem for her. a week or so before i started, amy told me she just hired a 'cute little blond' and asked me to train her. she was cute and laughed at all my jokes. by the end of the day, we were into each other. not wanting to blow the business opportunity by getting involved with a much younger coworker, i was supposed to be "managing", i ignored my feelings and tried to hide them.
she did not. she started leaving me little notes and drawings. she was (and is still) a very talented illustrator. it was what "drew" me to her in the end. she also loved puns... one day she brought in some drawing she had done the night before. they were plants and flowers and waves and cosmic entities, all in perfect radial symmetry – all by hand. i was so impressed. we were looking for material from Hudson artists for our own publishing project and coloring books were a big thing that year, so i proposed we make a coloring book of emily's black and white drawings. the project was agreed upon and emily produced a handful of new drawings – each better and more complicated than the last (i later found out this whole project was fueled by adderol, not inspiration...).
we asked a local printer to help us print (we were big into the "local" thing then – everyone was...) and asked him for 200 copies. i had done the math and in order for each of us to earn ANY money on this (and pay back our "investor"), that's how many we needed to sell. it was ridiculous. we had signed up for a craft fair and my "oh my god, we have to have enough" psychocotic italian brain that thinks of food 90% of the time, so we made cards and postcards and i even sold pencil cases that my mom made.
emily and i worked the table and she brought copies of her book – a 3D popup book about bees. the day before, the printer called and said he only had 100 of the coloring books ready. amy asked me what to do about it. "you decide..." she said. i said "we need the 200. i'm sure they'll sell and i don't want to come home with any..." essentially, she let me shoot myself in the foot. the first hundred were beautiful, but the rushed 50 or so were rushed and looked it. guess how many we came home with? about 125. by the time we got into this, coloring books had gone so mainstream, most people who came by had already bought cheaper ones they hadn't finished yet, so on they went. emily did sell some books, and my parents came from 2 hours away, and the craft fair was basically a failure except that emily and i fell in love that weekend. amy and i decided to part ways soon after and i didn't mind because it meant now i could ask emily out. and i did.