Ten years ago, my life changed for the better. I went from the nerdy kid without a girlfriend to the nerdy kid with a girlfriend he didn’t deserve, who would ultimately become the wife I don’t deserve. The beginning of our story is a little weird, mostly because I was involved, and I was afraid of girls, especially girls that were out of my league, like Sarah.
I didn’t have the chutzpah to ask Sarah out straight up, so I asked her if she wanted to go see a movie, as friends of course. She agreed, because she already liked me. So I show up to her house on Thursday, February 3, 2000 – early – to take her to see the movie Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington. When I got there, Sarah gave me a poem she wrote for me. I should share it with you, but I won’t. Not today, anyway. Maybe in the future. I will tell the you point of the point of the poem, though. Basically, it said, “Jeff, I like you, and I want to be your girlfriend.” Sarah’s never been that subtle. So I should have asked her to be my girlfriend right then and there, but I didn’t. It was only 4:00 PM, and I wasn’t ready.
At the movie theater, I bought her a grapefruit juice and some popcorn. I got an orange juice. I didn’t drink pop back then, and I actually dreamed the night before that she convinced me to drink pop at the movie and it made me really sick. That dream did eventually come true after we were married. Every time I wanted popcorn, I would make sure her hand was clear, because I’d seen Saved by the Bell a lot, and I knew that would turn out to be really awkward.
After the movie, I was taking her back home – I still hadn’t asked her out – and I asked if we could stop at the mall, so we could hang out longer. We stayed there for 2 hours, till it was almost closed, talking on one of the couches. Two hours of talking, and I never mustered the courage to ask her, and her curfew was 30 minutes away.
We got back in the car. It had started snowing pretty heavily while we were in there. We drove up the road to her parents’ house. It sneaked up on me, though. I could have stopped, but I kind of missed the driveway on purpose. I didn’t want to spin out and freak her out, after all. So we drive around the corner, so I can turn around – the truth is that I was stalling, to try to get myself to ask her out. So we turn around in this subdivision that was unfinished. I pointed down a road and told her I didn’t want to turn around down there, because it looked pretty bad, and I didn’t want to get stuck. I wouldn’t want people to think we were making out. That preceded an awkward silence. We drove pretty much in silence back to her house. I didn’t miss the driveway this time.
We sat in her driveway for a few minutes, making small talk. She said she had to go, and as she reached for the door handle, I blurted out, “Wait, I have to ask you something.” Now, I’m not as smooth as Rod Kimble, so I couldn’t come up with a question on the fly like him. I only had one thing I could ask her. Instead, I started making smooth statements. Here was our conversation:
Me: Sarah, I like you.
Sarah: I like you, too.
Me: No, I mean I really like you. (I’m not sure if I thought she was dumb or my words were confusing, or what, because I think she understood what I meant.)
Sarah: I really like you, too.
Me: Oh, okay, well, I was wondering if you would like to be my girlfriend.
Sarah: Sure. (She rarely says yes, you see. It’s always sure or I guess so. Sure is a more certain answer than I guess so.)
Me: Cool. I was wondering if I could just touch your hair, because it’s really pretty. (Yes, that creepy statement was what I followed up asking her to be my girlfriend with).
So I patted the back of her head like she was a dog. Five hours after I initially got to her house – four hours and forty-five minutes after she gave me a poem basically stating that she wanted to be my girlfriend – I asked her out, and she said yes. She got out of the car, walked inside, and began her journey down a dark path that would change her life forever. It changed mine. It’s been getting better for 3,653 straight days.
Tonight, I’ll recreate that date. I’m stopping after work to rent Hurricane, even though neither of us really like that movie anymore. I’ll also be getting her a grapefruit juice and a bucket of popcorn. I might even tell her that I really like her, but I’ll probably wait five hours from the start of our date.