I love the “how we met” stories. They’re often my favorite parts of books, too. Even delicious tales with a failed one-liner are my favorite. But if the guy ends up with the girl in the long run, perhaps the line worked after all?
Once upon a time, I was 18 years old. I met a guy and we fell madly in love. It wasn’t love at first sight. But truthfully, I wish we had been able to draw out the friendship phase. The weeks of anticipation for what if he likes me as much as I like him are simply delicious.
After a month of trying so hard to just be friends we held hands for the first time Zing! and the rest is history.
And this is how we
met didn’t meet.
My cousin invited me to play the piano at her wedding. I practiced every afternoon for a month of church camp at WCYC. The kitchen was my home the first two weeks and then I enjoyed two weeks as a camper for my last year of senior camp. There were few things I loved more than camp. And performing. I loved the cabins, the friends, (so many cute boys, just saying), swimming in the creek, singing around a campfire each evening, talking about boys, hanging out with boys, oh, and learning about God and studying the bible . . . with boys. Okay! you get the idea.
No, I wasn’t completely boy crazy . . . but I did enjoy their company. The point is, I had a really fun time my last year of camp, (despite the time I fell off the cliff and didn’t die, but you can read about that story here). My cousin’s wedding was at camp after all the campers had left the last day. I had a great time chilling with my camp friends as a few of them were hired to wash dishes after the wedding.
How I missed the first potential meeting of the love of my life.
I scrubbed two (I mean four) weeks of camp dirt from beneath my fingernails and dressed up in a cute summer dress and played for the 20 minutes before the wedding started. And then I took my seat somewhere off to the side where I couldn’t see anything because I’m only five feet tall.
Afterward, I snuck off to hang out with my camp friends, posed for a few family pictures and enjoyed the evening washing pots and pans.
But now it’s time for the real story. A few days later I was moved into my dorm room at college and had been enjoying freshmen orientation (and meeting lots of new boys that I may or may not have been crazy about. I’m kidding, I was actually spending most of my time with my new bestie Danae and we were, neither one of us, interested in boys. Nope. Especially not the entire team of them that played soccer.) Being a freshman, I was on campus the week before classes started, along with the soccer teams, and a few other groups. Most of the student body turned up for Sunday night communion traditionally held at the church across the street.
I wasn’t looking for a boy, especially not one with a ridiculous one-liner.
On my way out I was feeling excited. Also overwhelmed. Small. Adventurous. A little scared of everything starting up tomorrow, but mostly I was in good spirits. Standing alone, I was looking around at all the groups that had already formed and deciding if I should walk back alone or look for Danae. A boy spoke to me.
He was wearing an extra-large T-shirt (he would easily fit a medium) with an old leather jacket that was a touch too small. The jacket was zipped and he had the appearance of a T-shirt skirt, if you know what I mean. He wore a pair of army pants cut off just below the knee, white tube socks pulled up mid-calf and sturdy working boots. Oh, and did I mention he had a scraggly goatee a good two inches long? Did I just describe the man of your dreams? No? Hmm . . .
This boy dropped his one-liner, with no preamble, “Hey, would you like to go for a ride on my motorcycle?”
I’m sure my eyes grew wide. Taking a small step back, I said, “I don’t even know who you are.” And I walked away.
It wasn’t the one-liner as much as the attire of the one who delivered it.
Riding behind a boy on a motorcycle did sound exciting and adventurous, but I was no dummy. The guy was seriously sketch. I wasn’t about to be kidnapped before college even started.
I scuttled over to my newly married cousin a few feet away, but she only laughed at me. “No, that’s Ben. He’s cool. You want to ride with him.” I did? She made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that I should be hanging out with Ben. Well . . . still. I didn’t think it wise. What if he was actually as weird as he looked?
It was decided we would all go out for a late snack. I rode with my cousin, Ben and a few others met us there, and I rode behind Ben on the motorcycle on the way home. We didn’t speak. It was awkward. But also thrilling.
A few days later I was walking to the town square for the college job fair and he jogged up behind me and said, “Hi.” He followed me around downtown as we wrote our phone numbers and dropped them into the boxes for all the drawings the businesses were offering. We talked, we joked, and I decided this guy was okay. He was flattering. Friendly. Smiled a lot. And he seemed to know everybody. And everybody seemed to smile back at him. Who was this guy? And why was he hanging out with me?
That evening I had a message waiting on my dorm phone. “Hi Tasha, this is Ben. I memorized your number while we were downtown. Since I have yours, I thought it only fair that you have mine. If you ever need a ride somewhere, give me a call.”
I did need a ride. I worked at the bank about a mile from campus. Normally I carpooled with a girl, but I was on my own next Tuesday. Walking was an option, but I called Ben and asked for a pick-up next Tuesday afternoon . . .
It was weeks before we realized we had missed meeting at camp. He was a groomsman at my cousin’s wedding and we never once noticed each other! Sixteen years later, he is still asking if I want to go for a ride, but now it’s a vehicle that seats the two of us and our four little tagalongs. Given the fact that he always takes out the trash without being asked, and tells me I should keep writing, I forgive him for growing a scraggly beard every now and then.