I spent most of my time in High School as a wall flower. I loved being a wall flower--I still do. The hermit inside me feels safe and happy there. I had friends; I just didn't date. I'm not sure why, really. The extreme social awkwardness probably had something to do with it.
Or maybe it was the white girl 'fro.
Yeah, I'd be intimidated by that hair, too.
That, and I was incredibly forgettable. I couldn't utter a word to a guy without sounding like an idiot and turning bright red, so I just avoided talking as much as possible. In fact, I didn't even kiss anyone until I was in college - not until September 30th, 1995. His name was Ray, and he dedicated MJ's 'You are Not Alone' to me. Awww. Last I heard, he was working in Vegas as a concierge at one of the casinos.
Who needs all of that, right? What high school student wants to date? Sheesh. Ok, so nearly every sixteen year old girl wants to find love. But only if it's the right guy - and I didn't find anyone remotely close to that in high school. I had no desire to lead on the wrong guys, and the right guys had no desire to lead me on, much to my dismay.
So, I came to college with a lot of expectations. My years of dating solitude had resulted in a long list of what the 'ideal guy' would be like. I wrote it in my journal. Here's some of what I wrote:
"We would be open with each other. We would not be completely dependent upon each other. We would help each other to grow. A large part of our love would be due to the service which we would do for each other. Our love would include gratitude, understanding, and security. Maybe I have already found him, but I just don't see him for who he is yet - my rational, understanding, happy man who will frolic through life with me."
Yep, that's my firefighter! It's not often you find someone who meets all your expectations. (Well, ok, his being a truck driver wasn't exactly on my list of desirable qualities.)
So, how did I get past the incredibly awkward bright red speech impediment problem and actually meet my firefighter...errr...truck driver?
The first time I met my future husband, more than just a passing word here and there, was at a party. There were no sparks at the time. I came to the party with someone else.
I remember that evening vividly, sitting in his parents' green, blue, and pink living room. My firefighter was on the phone with someone I was told was his girlfriend. I remember him pacing and talking excitedly, trailing the really long off-white cord of his parents' phone behind him. The rest of the party moved downstairs and we got ready to watch Men In Black.
There were two couches for about 20 people. I sat squished and quiet against the arm rest at the very end of one of them (yay for wallflowers!) as we waited for him to get off the phone.
He came bounding down the stairs, hands braced against the walls on either side, skinny, tan, tall, outgoing, with bright smiling eyes.
"What? No one saved a seat for me??"
"Sure we did - right here." (Visualize the hand motion, signaling a spot across all of us on the couch.)
Where did that come from? Looking back, I can't believe I said that. He was just on the phone with his supposed girlfriend, for goodness' sake. To the regular people out there, it wouldn't seem like that big of a deal. But for me, that was way outside the bounds of normal and comfortable.
My firefighter exuberantly leaped across the room and laid his head in my lap. I was just joking, but wasn't sorry he took it literally. I spent most of that movie in silence, stealthily glancing down at his incredibly long eye lashes, thinking "Pretend this is normal. Pretend this is normal. Pretend this is normal." Which, translated, meant "whatever you do, don't let him catch you staring!"
Thankfully, the lights were down and I was able to avoid the embarrassment of the bright red part of all of this. I could feel the blood at the surface of my skin--I must have been purple. And, I had tunnel vision.
He laid across all of us on the couch like that for the whole movie. It allowed me to compose myself by the time the lights came on. I don't think I said another word to him after that; it was too risky. I simply went home with the guy who brought me and didn't think much of it, other than amazement at myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone.
I am not sure how happy the rest of the couch sitters were about what I had done, but it worked out well for me. Apparently, that uncharacteristic moment of non-introversion made an impression on him and he asked around to find out who I was.
He called me up a day or two later. (The girlfriend was really an ex-girlfriend.) This time it was his turn to have an uncharacteristic moment. I could sympathize with his extreme anxiety as he stumbled over his words to ask me out--this from the extrovert serial dater. His friend, who was there when he called, was laughing at him in the background.
Somehow, we got past our opposing natures, and realized that we were just right for each other.
And now, 12 years later, we're still the artistic wallflower type and the social butterfly extrovert rescuer type. I'm really glad he was born; he rescued me from the dating world, for which I will be forever grateful. I never EVER want to have to get out there again!! Today is his birthday.
Happy Birthday, Honey!
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