With the wedding coming up quickly -- 14 weeks to go -- I've been doing some thinking about everything that has happened in between the night B and I had our first date almost four years ago and today. All the things that have changed, and more importantly, the one thing that has stayed the same.
For those who weren't there when B and I first discovered each other, I thought I'd take another little walk down memory lane today, because we all know I'm a sucker for nostalgia. And also it's Friday and we could all use a little lurrrve.
When you're in college, late August means one thing: the joyous and largely intoxicated reunion with all of your friends back at school. The first week of school, aptly dubbed "syllabus week," meant late nights out with friends who you haven't seen for months, confident that all you had to do the next day was show up to class, take your syllabus, buy your books, and go home. Only a few professors had the audacity to actually begin class on the first day of class. Assholes.
One of the first nights back to school in August 2005, my friends and I went to our regular Baltimore bar, Swallow at the Hallow. I returned from that summer tanned and emotionally ready to start the new year. A few months earlier I'd come off a break up with my on-again-off-again high school boyfriend (with a few other chaps mixed in) who had decided to focus on his budding music career, and it was time to stay off.
The weather was warm, we were young, we were drunk, and we had no real commitments for at least one week. This was better than Disney World, if Disney World is your type of thing. Not judging. Actually I am. I'm not saying that adults that are obsessed with Disney World have some kind of creepy childhood complex, but I'm not NOT saying that either. And while we're on the topic, it's definitely NOT the happiest place on earth, but it IS the only place on earth where you'll find a bunch of former high school drama kids sweating in their overheated costumes in 98 degree weather for $7 an hour while some kid pees on their lap. Just sayin'.
ANYWAY. Swallow at the Hallow. After throwing back a shot of something red with mah grlz, Mojo and I turned to the jukebox. "Don't Stop Believing" was pounding from the speakers, and this had to be stopped. With Mojo leading the way, we snaked through the hundreds of kids jammed into a bar (that would have normally held 40 comfortably) on our way to the back wall where the jukebox was situated.
Suddenly, someone stepped in front of me, obstructing my view of the back of Mojo's head, now disappearing into the crowd. "HEY, I'M B," he blurted out with the suaveness that some people might associate with autism. I stopped dead in my tracks. "I think we had a class together last year. Milton," he went on.
This is the part of the story in my first conversation with B that I slowly realized this wasn't in fact my first conversation with him. The previous year, my sophomore year, I had spotted a particularly cute boy in plaid shorts and a shaved head across the room from me in my John Milton class. After weeks of sitting a few rows away from each other, I had yet to have a conversation with him. He was the row closest to the door and was usually long gone by the time I got out.
One day, I had everything ready well before class was dismissed. My books were packed and I was ready to make a run for it. Once we were released I put my head down and beelined straight for the door and straight for this boy. But when I got in front of him, I didn't know what to say, so I blurted out what most students stuck in a John Milton class would say. "Tough, huh? I can barely keep my eyes open." The boy's eyes widened. "Um. Yeah."
And then he turned his back and quickly walked away. If he had been moving any faster he would have been running. I was floored. Never had I seen a boy seem more coldly disinterested. Naturally I had the only reaction any self-respecting girl in this situation would have had. WHAT. A. DICK.
I never found my way back to my friends that night. B and I talked until last call. He was a senior. I'd taken a few photography classes with his roommate, but had never before seen B out at a bar. He was a tennis player and adored soccer. He had great taste in music. He came from a relatively large family and he liked to travel. We didn't exchange numbers. Loyola's a relatively small school. If he wanted to find me again, it wouldn't be hard, right?
When we got home that night, Mojo peppered me with questions about this boy as we fell asleep in our beds. Yes, he was good looking. Yes, I was interested. No, I didn't give him my number or get his. Yes, maybe I am an idiot.
The next morning I dragged myself out of bed for my first class of the day. It was a creative non-fiction class taught my Mark Bowden. I was pumped. Mark Bowden, man. A real author. A successful author. An author who'd had one of his best selling books turned into a movie. An author who was friends with Ron Howard. Dear gah please let cool be something you can catch through osmosis, I prayed. And in case you're wondering, it's not. Because every day I sit here and write about things like pooping at work and my neighbor who steals my underwear while Bowden counts his dolla dolla bills ya'll and makes more movies. Just let me dream, okay?
I hurried through the halls to the designated classroom. Just as I was about to walk through the classroom door, I once again found myself face to face with B ...
... To be continued.