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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Landed the "It" Girl

I remember the night I first checked Katie out, sitting on a curb, waiting for a bus to take us to a party. Surrounded by her flock of gorgeous friends, delicate arms draped over legs that went for miles, she asked me, “What’s your major?” I could tell instantly from her blond hair, blue eyes, and swimsuit model body she was the type of girl who’d ‘just want to be friends' with me. Her type dated muscle men with cars and bank accounts, not squishy poets into social justice. Long legs, blond, and gorgeous: Way out of my league.

Told her my major and engaged in polite conversation with the relaxed assurance that I didn’t have a chance. It’s easy to be suave when you know you’re just a bat boy for the major league hitters. We went to the party and she didn't talk to me all night, but got close on the dance floor with a gelled hair meat head wearing a ribbed tank-top and gold chains. Her roommate (thicker around the middle and much more the type I’d have a shot with) drank a bottle of Bacardi and gyrated with enthusiasm while I tried to escape her earnest clutches. After the roommate passed out on the dance floor, I carried her considerable and comatose frame to my friend’s car. Katie had to sit on my lap for the drive home. Thank God for my friend’s two door Japanese rust bucket.

Got a kiss that night from her (Katie, not the roommate with a nice personality) and spent the night in her dorm room listening to the roommate snore in the bunk bed above. I crept out as the sun was rising. I was in a failing relationship at the time and felt like a dirt bag for kissing Katie underneath the roommate. Sure that I was going to be the cause of their friendship ending, I took my leave and didn’t call. Big mistake.

After the party that night, our two social circles merged and Katie was at every party, every group hang-out, and every time I saw her I acted like nothing had happened…sweaty palms were the only evidence. When she showed at a party, fine female friends in toe, I’d hug all the other ladies, kiss them on the cheek even, and when Katie’s turn for greeting came I’d raise my hand and slap her five like she was my little brother. I was playing it cool. In a new relationship with a girl in my league and, after all, I didn’t want the “it” girl to know I wanted to marry her. I’d tell my friends, “I know Katie’s the coolest girl, she’d never…(fill in the blank with whatever weekly drama my ice queen girlfriend was stirring up).”

A year of these projections later, a good friend of mine said, “How do you know Katie’s coolest girl in the world? She doesn’t even know you…not really! She thinks you’re just a friend--nothing more. Trust me. She’s way out of your league.”

I am a man of faith and instinct. At 19, I knew Katie would be the perfect wife, if only I could somehow reverse the earth’s rotation to create a world where I’d be elevated into the exclusive club that dated ├╝ber hot chicks. Somehow get beyond the velvet rope, distract the bouncer at the door long enough to sneak into the elite oasis of fine ladies where Katie was a card carrying member.

I didn’t know it at the time, but she felt the same way about me. She took my “playing it cool” for “too cool for you”. She thought I wasn’t interested. She got the courage up to tell our friend she liked me. She told him I should ask her out on a date. I played it cool for a week, trying to come up with a special plan and she called my friend again to inquire what was taking so long.

On our first date, after a conversation that flowed like we had known each other all our lives, I took her hand in mine, and tilted her chin towards my lips. “I’m so sorry for not calling you back that first night. I’m such an idiot. I’ve been waiting a year and a half to kiss you again.”

After 9 years of marriage I still feel like someone who reversed the earth’s rotation, tricked the bouncer and snuck into the private club. Every morning when I wake up next to Katie, I look at her and think, “I landed the ‘it’ girl”. I tell her all the time. She proves my 19 year old instincts right every day…she is the coolest broad on earth and every crazy prediction I made, before I even knew her middle name, is true.