Before I met K, I was a bit of a wild child, going out all the time, hanging out with friends, and unfortunately, doing a bit of online dating.
There came a point when I knew who I was and what I was looking for, but I just couldn't seem to find everything in one person. Something was always missing. I'd meet a perfectly nice guy and we'd date a few times, then I'd realize that the "spark" just wasn't there. Then I'd go for the opposite, where there was plenty of spark, and none of the kindness or compassion I wanted. One guy, AJ, stood me up for an entire day when he was supposed to pick me up and take me to a BBQ to meet his friends. Nine hours (and no phone call or text) later when I called him repeatedly, he claimed he forgot that we were supposed to hang out that day. I promptly cut it off.
I was tired of dating, and I had reached the point where I was ready to give it up for awhile and just enjoy being with my friends. A friend of mine was having a birthday party at a bar a few hours away that weekend, and excited to get out of town, I decided to go. We all met at her apartment first, where one of our friends came by with his friend.
When I first saw him, I thought he was a total dork. He was quiet, wearing a short sleeved collared shirt with a big coffee stain on it. He was REALLY tall, and I felt kind of bad for him because he didn't know anybody besides the friend that he came with.
It was pouring rain that night, and I was still smoking then. Four of us, including K and I, went outside to huddle under the awning of an adjacent bar for a cigarette. The quarters were tight, and K was really quiet. A few drinks increased my courage, so I started to chat with him. As the conversation continued, we talked about our siblings, what we look for in people, and dating. I matched him sarcastic quip for sarcastic quip, and he seemed impressed. I told him I was a graphic designer and he stopped for a moment and said: "so, are you a Mac girl?"
And that was it.
After chain smoking 2 more cigarettes in the pouring rain, not wanting the conversation to end, we went back inside the bar and he bought me a beer. (Magic Hat Number 9, I'll never forget that.) My friends had moved on to another bar, but I wasn't really concerned. I kept waiting for a deal breaker (I have a
child, I hate my ex, I mooch off my parents, I'm broke, unemployed, a
douchebag...) Nothing came up. With every turn of our conversation, I started to let myself hope that he could actually be someone I could hang out with.
Three hours (and several Magic Hats later), we were literally running down the street declaring our love for each other and inviting strangers to our wedding. He gave me a piggy back ride and I stuffed a twice baked potato into his mouth like wedding cake. Now that I know him, I see how completely uncharacteristic this was for both of us. But at the time, we didn't care. We went back to my friend's apartment, where the rest of my friends were stacked like cordwood in the living room, and fell asleep holding hands. He met my pink gingham Heart Po the first night we met, and he didn't think it was weird. Nothing happened that night except for sleeping, and I had to get up early the next morning to get back home to my newly adopted kitty, Linus, who I had left for the night to come up to the party. I took the initiative and put my number in his phone. I had never been so brave before, but I felt something inside me that knew this was something I didn't want to pass up.
And 3 years later, we live together with our Brady Bunch family of cats and Carebears. And I'm thankful every single day that I went to that birthday party and chain smoked my face off.