How We Met

Joining with Grace’s How We Met linkup.

The story of how we met starts kind of awkwardly, with the story of me and another guy. A story Thomas hates (haaaaaaaates) and I would prefer to completely forget in a bout of amnesia. The short version is the guy and I were sort-of-but-not-really-and-definitely-not-officially dating. He was sending pretty clear “He’s Just Not That Into You” signals that were impossible for me to miss, but I preferred to ignore because I was into him. It was pretty clear there was nothing going on, though. I mean, the guy was leading on THREE women, which I knew, and it was rather clear I was kind of in third place. Numero uno, a real witch, was pushing him hard to never speak to us others again and I was pretty pissed. Who did she think she was??

(His now-wife. And probably not actually a witch, but she torpedoed my rooming assignment for the next year and put me in a bit of a jam, so I didn’t think kindly of her.)

My roommate, anxious to put an end to the whole twisted thing, hatched a plot to set me up with a friend of hers. I dragged my feet, because, hello, I had a situation over here and it needed my concentration. (Oh, Jessica.)

Roommate and this friend, Thomas, had worked together in dining service a couple years before and they met once a month for lunch. She started talking me up and floating the idea of a date. He came to our room one night for some trumped up purpose and they chatted for a while, trying to draw me in the whole time. But it was 9 pm and I was just starting a 10 page paper due the next day (winning!), so I barely registered there was someone else in the room. I certainly wasn’t interested in chatting with some random dude. I don’t think I said anything other than “hi” or “mmhmm.” I wrote three pages while he was there, yapping and trying to break my concentration.

He says that I, sitting there in a tank top with my hair up and glasses on (definitely not dressed for success with contacts and makeup) was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. Maybe it was the low lighting? I don’t know.

A few days later he called to ask me out and I believe at first I was like ?? who are you? but we talked for an hour, all the way through Law & Order: SVU which, in the days before TiVo, was a serious issue. I don’t mess around with L&O, any version. We hit it off and, despite being pretty much all ‘what’s your major, etc’, it was a great conversation. One that ended with me dancing around my room because I had a date!! My first official date ever!! At the age of 20! I was super cool. (And obviously loser dude, from above, really was a loser.)

This was a Tuesday, but then you knew Law & Order: SVU was on Tuesdays in 2004, right? I probably didn’t need to clarify. Anyway, on Thursday I was brooding about loser dude, and my roommate said ‘enough!’ She dragged me up one floor to Thomas’ room where we’d “just hang out and watch a movie, I promise.”

Five minutes later she ‘remembered’ she ‘had to do something.’ I wanted to kill her. Thomas’ friend conveniently had to leave, too (or maybe my roommate dragged him out by the hair?) and suddenly we were alone, watching The Terminal. Well, mostly alone. He was the floor’s RA and once word spread Thomas had a girl in his room everyone wanted to drop by and see. Which of course wasn’t awkward at all.

When the movie ended, we started talking…and didn’t stop until 2 in the morning. The DVD menu played the whole time and several times during the night we calculated how many times we’d heard the 30-second loop. I wish I remembered!

Eventually, we said goodnight and I slipped back downstairs to my own room. We hadn’t even kissed. Saturday’s date seemed so far away and loser dude had never been further from my thoughts.

When the night arrived we went to my favorite Chinese restaurant (he asked my roommate where he should take me). The waitress asked if we wanted one check or two. When he answered one she said something about how she felt silly even asking because of course we were a couple. We both laughed awkwardly, because hello, first date.

***

Two months later he initiated a conversation about where this relationship was going and confessed he thought I was “the one.” I said OThankGod,MeToo and that was that. Our eventual marriage was a given, though we weren’t in any particular hurry, both being 20. We waited until the ripe old age of 22 to tie the knot, two weeks after my college graduation.

Bad hair all around. (I believe this was a Valentine’s Day.)

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At my little sister’s graduation party, 2006. Not yet engaged, but he’s already part of the family!

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May 18, 2007