Avoiding Crisis

i met this guy in a bar and….

with 3 comments

This morning, out of the blue, my husband told me that he had been lying awake in bed thinking about one of the first weekends we spent together in NYC and how it was at the moment when he had to say goodbye that he knew that I was someone very special in his life.   There is a whole crazy, this-shit-only-happens-in-cheesy-romantic-comedies-esque story that goes along with this particular goodbye, but you’ll have to wait for that. 

What he said got me to thinking about how we met and how we ended up together. 

I met my husband, A,  while I was still in college.  He had just finished a Masters in Forensic Psychology and was packing up to leave the city.  The fall semester was almost over.  I had a few finals left, but was taking a break from studying. 

I had been dating someone else.  It was a long distance romance that had its share of problems.  Still, I wasn’t actively looking for someone that evening.

I had been entertaining the idea of moving to Washington, DC after graduation.  So when A and I began to talk and I learned that he had grown up in Northern Virginia and was returning to the area, I was interested in hearing what he had to say about work and life in the nation’s capital.  I thought he seemed like a nice enough guy and since I didn’t know anyone in the DC area I figured it couldn’t hurt to get an early start on making new friends in what probably would be my new home.  We exchanged email addresses.  I wasn’t the type of girl to give out my phone number to random guys I met at a bar.

The semester ended, the holidays came and went, and with it, my previous relationship. 

Sometime in late January early February I got an email from A.  It was a very casual, what’s up? kind of email. I didn’t think much of it.  I responded. 

And so it began. 

Soon one email a day turned into 10.  I’d check my email before and after class, I’d find myself daydreaming in class wondering if he had gotten back to me;  thinking about all the things he might have written; wanting so badly for him to have written me.  We talked about everything and about nothing.  About his dog, Peanut, and how she had gotten a bag of Cheetos stuck on her head, which caused her fur to turn orange.  And about how we both loved Cheetos — the crunchy kind, of course — and how we were both known, from time to time, to be able to consume an entire big bag of the little orange crunchy things in one sitting.

Soon our emails turned into nightly IM chats and then marathon phone conversations.  While I should have been cranking away at my senior thesis, working on my resume, and networking for jobs, I instead found myself waiting to talk to him via email, IM or by phone.  

In the meantime, my ex and I were trying to patch things up.  Or maybe we had already patched things up.  I’m not sure, I think I was in denial at the time. 

Getting back to me and A.  We had developed this awesome friendship and yet we had only met once, and only for a few minutes.  And while this may not seem so out of the ordinary these days, with all the social networking sites linking people to each other and the frequency of online dating, at that time it did seem totally strange. And yet, at the same time, it made complete sense. 

In March, the Barnard Alumnae Club of DC and the Office of Career Development teamed up to host a reception and networking events in DC for seniors who were interested in working in the nation’s capital.  I drove down to DC from NY.  The events were scheduled for a few days prior to spring break so I decided to stick around the area for a few extra days afterwords to see some friends and then head up to Pennsylvania to see my kinda, sorta, I don’t know what you would call him at the time, boyfriend.  

From the time I had arrived in DC, A and I had been trying to get together for dinner or at least a drink.  Totally platonic, of course.  At least that’s what I was telling myself.  He was working and I was busy with Barnard stuff so it had to wait until the weekend.  Eventually we found time.  We decided to meet at the Tyson’s Corner Mall.  It was about half way between where he lived and where I was staying and it was this huge landmark that I couldn’t possibly miss — needless to say, I suck with directions.  

Having had only met once and for such a short time, the whole evening felt quite like a blind date, or what I would imagine a blind date to feel like seeing how I had never been on one.  Not that it was a date or anything.  Just two friends getting together for dinner.

So I parked the car.  We met outside Bloomingdale’s — another landmark I was familiar with and wouldn’t possibly miss.  We got in his car and went to have dinner.  It was but a 5 minute ride to a restaurant.  Nothing fancy, just pizza and beer. 

But in those 5 minutes there was this tension between us, an attraction that I hadn’t felt in such a long time.  I felt at the same time completely alive and unbelievably terrified. I guess that’s what people call chemistry.

We got out of the car and started to walk across the parking lot.  I stopped walking.  Balancing on one of those yellow painted concrete barriers that mark off the end of parking spaces.  A came over to see what was up.  I said nothing.  I stepped off the concrete block that i was standing on and stepped practically right into him.  I told him that I was sorry but that there was something I had to do; something that I just had to get out of the way before we went inside.  

I kissed him. 

And then I announced that I was hungry and that we should really go and eat.  We walked into the restaurant. 

We were seated in a booth.  I don’t remember what we ate or drank or even much of what we talked about that night.  What I do remember is asking him for his wallet and looking through it.  How rude of me!  I always think you can learn a lot about a person from the contents of their wallet and/or purse.  And I totally remember the waiter saying what a cute couple we made and saying something about how nice it is to see two people so happy.  We laughed it off, dismissing it with a “but this isn’t a real date” comment.

When we finished it was still early.  It was a beautiful early spring evening.  A perfect evening for a walk.  Unfortunately, Tyson’s corner is not an ideal place for a romantic stroll.  He asked if I wanted to follow him back to his house.  That there was this quaint old town down near a river that we could go for a walk and get ice cream.  Not wanting the evening to end,  and never being one to turn down ice cream, I agreed.


Written by nicolemarie

October 23, 2007 at 8:39 pm

3 Responses

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  1. How adorable and so brave of you:

    “I told him that I was sorry but that there was something I had to do; something that I just had to get out of the way before we went inside.”

    What a darling post – it’s so important to go back and think of those budding and exciting moments…



    October 24, 2007 at 11:10 am

  2. Great story.

  3. That’s very sweet.


    October 26, 2007 at 1:27 pm

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