Back to school week always makes me reminisce. It was 10 years ago this week, September 2nd, to be exact, that I met my future husband. TEN years ago. How can that many years have passed? I can still picture the moment we met, so clearly in my mind.
It was the first day of my senior year, Andrew's junior year, of college. It was lunch time in the school cafeteria, Garlock for those of you who know RWC. Such a romantic setting. Everyone was catching up with friends, heading to class, hanging out. I had a longer break until my next class, so there I sat, alone, at a table, waiting, trying not to look too out of place. Apparently I did look out of place, because Andrew and his friend approached me and introduced themselves, asking if I was a new student. He thought it would be nice to make the "new girl" feel welcome. I smiled, introduced myself, and informed them I was a senior, but that I was a "commuter." I didn't live on campus, so I wasn't around as much and had a small circle of friends.
We made small talk. I learned that Andrew was on the soccer team. I'm not sure what else we talked about, but I do remember him saying something along the lines of, "Next time you're around, be sure to say hello." I agreed, and knew in my mind that I would definitely say hello the next chance I got!
I was struck by his friendliness, his incredibly handsome face, those piercing blue eyes, and the ability to make me feel, ironically, welcome. Yes, I would be sure to look for you again blonde haired soccer player. You made an impression on me.
We saw each other very occasionally throughout the school year. It wasn't until spring, near my graduation, that we "bumped into" each other more. If I was just arriving at lunch, Andrew would stay in the cafeteria and have a second meal (unbeknownst to me) just so we could talk. Couldn't get enough of that broccoli cheddar soup. One of my friends would let me know if she saw him coming so I could head in the same direction. I made sure to attend more soccer games.
We found out we had bowling in common (of all things) and decided that one of these days we should go bowling together. I still have the 3x5 index card he gave me with his name, phone numbers, open bowling days, times and rates on it. Very official.
I took a chance and put an invitation to my senior art show in his mailbox, hoping he would come to it. The night before the show, he drove back from Pennsylvania, just so we could go on what would be our first date - Pizza Hut and bowling. Sounds silly, but it was amazing. I think we talked, and talked, and talked the entire time. I didn't want it to end.
The next day, at the senior show, I was surrounded by family and friends, coming and going. I was secretly hoping he would show. Especially after the great time we had bowling. After nervously debating weather he should or not (and walking by a few times to check things out from afar), he came to the gallery.
And that's the first photo we ever took together. He still has that hat and t-shit and I still have that dress. This photo always makes me smile. I smile because I remember the feelings of excitement and looking forward to seeing him. I remember the hopefulness along with uncertainty. The butterflies. The nervousness. The beginning of something truly wonderful.
Love can blossom anywhere. Even in a cafeteria, when you least expect it.