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Throughout history stories of romantic meetings are chronicled and passed down through the ages.

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So... How Did You Meet Anyway?

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Don't Be One

I was a sophomore at King's College in Wilkes-Barre PA and Nikki was a freshman at Wilkes University, which was right down the street.  I wasn't necessarily looking for a life partner that Saturday night, like most college kids I was just looking to throw back a few and have a good time.  Friends of mine lived at a place called Murder House.  It was a notorious party place and it helped that I knew all the guys that lived there.  For some reason, that night was particularly crowded so I parked myself, with my roommate behind the bar.  A pretty important spot because A) we were in charge of music and B) other people had to get us our drinks because we couldn't get out.  These circumstances led to a game of asshole starting up.  A classic college drinking game.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Everything Happens For a Reason

I was two years old when my parents bought their house.  My mom was pregnant with my little sister and we needed more space to accommodate the growing family (I would eventually become the second oldest of four girls).  The neighbors to our right were a smaller family, a mom and two boys a few years older than me.  Their house was identical on the inside, same setup, just different finishes and color schemes.  Being next door was like one of those strange dreams where you’re standing in your living room, only it’s not really your living room, but it’s supposed to be.
We all became very close very quickly and soon enough, my sisters and I could be found in the front or backyard playing bloody murder and kick the can with the neighbors every day of the week.  In the winter, we’d build snow forts and go ice-skating and my dad would be in the background taking home video which, at the time, we had NO idea how fun it would be to watch later.
My whole adolescence, I had a crush on the younger of the two brothers (he was 3 years older than me).  I would knock on his door when I knew he was home, and ask to borrow eggs or sugar and tell him I was baking cookies, just to see him. He’d hand over the eggs and always replied with “only if I get some of those cookies when you’re done!” He never did get any cookies though cause I was never actually baking.  There is also still a heart that I drew in my closet in my parents’ house that says ‘I love Scott, borrowed 2 eggs from him today, dated 1992’.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some Enchanted Evening

On a remarkably warm fall evening in October of 2004, I decided that I could get away with one more outing in flip-flops (a dangerous choice for Minnesota weather).  It was the night of the Ike Reilly Assassination concert, and I was giddy with excitement.  Ike's band has a distinctly American, gritty eclectic sound, and I had harassed five or six good friends to come with me to the show.  The band was playing at a hole-in-the-wall bar in St. Paul, known for its great sound and interesting clientele.  More than anything, I was looking forward to seeing a band I love with friends I love.


That night, the concert did not disappoint except for the fact that they didn't arrive on stage until almost midnight.  No matter, though, by that point I was pleasantly buzzed and was singing my heart out, blissfully unaware of the presence of my future husband.  As it so happened, he was standing next to me.  During the evening, we had noticed one another across a crowded room (just like the old cliche says), and apparently, I smiled at him.  Later, he realized with disappointment that I tend to smile at everyone without realizing it, but by that point, it didn't matter anymore.  Somehow, throughout the show, we had ended up next to one another, at which point my friends magically disappeared.  I felt happy and relaxed and open to chatting with him because the show was almost over and I knew I wasn't looking to meet anyone.  So there was no pressure.  Nothing could possibly happen.

After a few pleasantries about the band and some basic chit-chat, my focal point was back to the stage where Ike was swaying drunkenly and dangerously close to the edge of the stage.  It was one of the last songs of the night, "Commie Drives a Nova" and Erik was about to make his move.  He cautiously asked me if I would like to get together sometime, to which I replied a carefree, "Sure!"  In my mind, there was no way anything would come of this.  He was very cute, but probably not my type, and I had big plans to go overseas soon.  There was no place or time for something to develop.  As the music died down and the bar began to clear out, he handed me his phone so I could input my number.  (I found out later that he was too nervous to plug in the numbers himself.)  We exchanged smiles, said good night, and went our separate ways.

Two days, later he called me for a date.  I accepted and plans were made to meet for a drink two nights later.  As the day of the date grew closer, I grew nervous.  I frantically told my friends, "Forget it.  I'm canceling!  There's no point.  I'm going to an international job fair in a few months!  I don't want to meet anyone.  He's not my type!"  
My friends vehemently argued with me.  "You are NOT canceling.  He IS your type! It's not going to hurt to have one drink with him." Finally, I relented with a bitter, "Fine. But I'm not wearing anything cute. I'm dressing down!"

I drove with apprehension to the date.  I could barely recall what he looked like, and I was positive that he seemed preppier than I would prefer.  As I approached the restaurant where I was meeting him, I saw him standing outside.  And I swooned.  I mean, literally swooned.  I didn't know a person could really swoon.  He was so handsome, and contrary to my previous beliefs, he appeared to be exactly my type. After an awkward hello, we made our way inside where we proceeded to have a date that was straight out of the movies.  We had so much to talk about and so much chemistry, that neither of us wanted the date to end.  I remember that night as I drove home that I had the sensation of falling.  And it was oh so scary and yet so wonderful at the same time.  

As we had more and more dates and our relationship grew, we saw Ike many more times together.  And at each show, we would have the sweet sensation of remembrance as we saw each other out of our peripheral vision, similar to that first night.

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.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Follow Your Heart


 Ding dong!  The front doorbell rang.  I rushed to open the door.  This was the first time I met Marcus.  He came to England to travel for a couple of years and arrived at our house to meet up with his uncle and aunt visiting us from South Africa.  I was living with my parents at the time in their lovely English house with my son Josh.  We also recently immigrated to the United Kingdom from South Africa.


Our first meeting was spent sightseeing in Windsor with the family, chatting and drinking coffee.  We kept in contact and for the next 3 months spent hours on the phone chatting.  Christmas arrived and my family was heading to Torquay, Devon on holiday.  My mom (maybe with alternative motives) invited Marcus to join us.  Her reasoning, “the poor guy is alone in a strange country with no family to celebrate Christmas.” 


We had a great time together on holiday, exploring new places and getting to know each other.  The more time we spent together the more we enjoyed each other’s company.  The day we returned from holiday was cold and frosty.  We lit the fire in the lounge and sat right in front of it as we waited for the rest of the house to warm up.  I still remember how we started playing “20 questions” learning more about each other.  Every question was a revelation of something we had in common or liked in each other. 

There was a growing affection, as we laughed, shared and chatted together.  And then on New Year’s Eve, at a house party, as the fireworks were exploding outside, Marcus kissed me.  It was a quick, small peck of a kiss.  But it hit me straight in the heart and it sealed the deal.
The next three months we were head-over heels in-love.  We didn’t have a lot of money, so we spent most of the time at my parent’s house, chatting into the early hours of the morning, drinking coffee, cooking together.  Marcus started to show his interest in me to my parents, by offering to work in the garden and even cooked a mother’s day meal for my mom! 

In April we went on holiday together to Athens, Greece.  It was our first trip together.  We both love travelling.  The experience of travelling together was exhilarating and I knew that I wanted to explore more interesting places with this man.

Marcus had to return to South Africa for 6 weeks after our holiday together.  It was very hard to be apart and we missed each other terribly.  But something else started happening in my heart.  I was afraid to commit.  When Marcus returned to the UK, I was suddenly cold towards him.  Try as he may, I continued to turn a cold shoulder.  In my own mind I was struggling with past fears of rejection and feelings of being unworthy.  The poor man could not understand my reactions towards his advances.  This continued for 5 months.  

In desperation Marcus contacted his father in South Africa.  “I know she is the girl I want to marry, but she is pushing me away and I just can’t understand why!”  He told his dad.  The wise reply from his dad was, “Stay another month and continue to push the door.  If by the end of this month nothing happens come back to South Africa and put it behind you.”

Well at the same time, my heart was wrestling with my head.  I loved him and enjoyed spending time with him, but something in me stopped me from wanting to make a commitment.  I in turn consulted my mom and she encouraged me to be open and allow time to show what could grow out of a relationship.  I listened.