How I Met My Husband by Alice Munro

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What happens in How I Met My Husband?

In "How I Met My Husband," Edie falls in love with a handsome pilot named Chris. He and Edie become emotionally involved, but he has a fiancé, and he and Edie never consummate their love. Edie later marries the mailman.

  • Edie works for the Peebles. One day, a young pilot lands his plane across the road from the Peebles' house, and Edie becomes infatuated with him.

  • Chris' fiancé Alice shows up unexpectedly, ruining Edie's chances with Chris. She bakes him a cake for what she doesn't at first realize is his going away party.

  • Before Chris leaves, he and Edie kiss, which she mistakes for "being intimate." He leaves Alice behind, promising to write to Edie. He never does, and Edie marries the mailman.

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Summary

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A red-and-silver plane lands at the old fairgrounds across the road from the home of the Peebles, for whom Edie works. Edie’s first close-up view of an airplane leads to her first encounter with romance.

Edie is both eager for and rather innocent about romance. She is quite proudly aware of her blossoming womanhood, and the day after the plane lands, Edie gets the impulse to dress herself up in Mrs. Peebles’s finery, put on makeup, and play the part of a sophisticated beauty while Mrs. Peebles is out for the afternoon. This is how she is discovered by Chris Watters, who is looking for a drink of cool water from the pump. Edie is embarrassed but also irresistibly attracted to the pilot when he tells her she looks beautiful.

That attraction leads Edie to cross the road that same night. Chris Watters has finished giving airplane rides for the day and shares a smoke with his young visitor. Edie, concerned that Mrs. Peebles will discover her improprieties of the afternoon, convinces Watters to promise not to say anything about the dress-up episode. Her short visit reinforces her impression that she is somehow special to the friendly pilot.

Their casual relationship continues as the pilot regularly stops by for drinks of water. One day Alice Kelling shows up, guided to the Peebles’s place by the ever-present Loretta Bird. Edie critically notes that Alice is neither young nor pretty, that her bust looks low and bumpy, that she has a worried face, and that her engagement ring features but a single, tiny stone. That night Alice and Chris go off somewhere in her car. Much later, through the slats of her blind, Edie watches them come home. She is not unhappy to observe them get out of opposite sides of the car and walk away from each other.

When Alice accompanies the Peebles on a picnic to the lake the next day, Edie bakes Chris a cake and learns that he has decided to pull up stakes and make his getaway. The visit turns into a rousing but tender farewell party. It becomes Edie’s initiation in physical intimacy with a man. The pilot sensibly does not allow his urges full rein; when they say goodbye, he promises Edie that he will write to her.

Later that evening, Alice discovers that her fiancé has left. To her own surprise,...

(The entire section is 1,924 words.)