The club was jumping on a Saturday night. I was scanning the room, taking in the crowd, looking for a dance partner. I noticed one chick giving me a pretty direct look. She had long, dark brown hair, blue eyes, tanned skin, and was wearing a hot pink top/miniskirt combo. She looked young, but to be in the club she had to be at least 21 years old, (unless she had a fake ID). I was about to turn 23, myself.
People were moving back and forth between us, but she kept her eyes on me. Definitely, I had to approach her. I made my way through the crowd, and she had a big smile on her lips and in her eyes. I leaned in to ask her to dance without having to shout over the pumping music. She said yes, and we made our way to the dance floor.
We danced together through several songs, both fast and slow, and then left the dance floor together. We formally introduced ourselves to each other, and I met her friend. We stayed together the rest of the night, dancing some more, talking some, and I got her phone number before we parted.
A few days later, the day before my 23rd birthday, I called her. I asked if she’d go out with me for dinner on my birthday, but she said she already had plans. Oh. Yeah. But she suggested we make Saturday night a date, and I took the offer.
I spent my birthday playing games with my friends, but I kept thinking about that girl in the hot pink outfit I had met in the club.
Date night came, and we had a good time getting to know each other. She was, indeed, 21 years old, and an education major at the university. Smart, sweet, genuinely nice, pretty, warm, soft, smooth . . . ahem.
The first date led to a second, to a third, to a tenth, and on. We got along just perfectly. When we weren’t in class, or at work, we were with each other. We just loved being together. We’d hang out at her apartment, or at my apartment, or somewhere on school campus.
I wouldn’t call it “love at first sight.” It was more like just finding that perfect fit. We could sit in the same room together, not having to say anything to each other, and we just felt perfectly comfortable. We enjoyed just being within sight of each other, and especially within arm’s reach.
We became tighter and tighter over the weeks and months. A year passed, and it was obvious we had become a part of one another. At over a year and a half, we got a dog, together. We named the dog “Geordi,” after Geordi Laforge of Star Trek: the Next Generation – a show we watched together every Saturday night. This was a sign of a real commitment to our staying together.
A couple or so more years passed, and we were going into our final year of college. (She had completed her first degree, and was about to wrap up her second. I was a late starter.) We decided marriage was the best next step.
May 20, 1995 — 16 years ago, today.
The week after college graduation, we got married in her hometown, after almost 5 years of dating. I have the photo of her in her wedding dress on my desk at work. It makes me smile. She’s so different today, but so much the same, too. She’s still the little thing she’s always been, and still looks considerably younger than me. She’s still smart, sweet, genuinely nice, pretty, warm, soft, smooth . . . ahem.
And I’m still the silly nerd that apparently endeared her to stay with me. I hope so, anyway.
16 years of marriage, plus 5 years of dating; we’ve been together for 21 years of our lives. That just doesn’t sound like it can be right. I don’t feel old enough, she doesn’t look old enough. But thinking back, it seems that our life has progressed perfectly naturally.
We still like just hanging out with each other. We can still sit quietly in a room together and be completely comfortable just with each other’s mere presence. The cliché is to say we go together like peanut butter and chocolate, or peanut butter and jelly, but that’s putting two different things together. I’d say we’re like peanut butter and more peanut butter.