This weekend Señor Hess and I were at dinner with some wonderful friends from college, and at one point in the night the conversation turned to the story of how Andy and I met. There were six of us sharing dinner together, and one newer friend in the group hadn’t heard the story.
That got me thinking, I don’t know that I’ve ever talked about that here. I could, of course, go back through my post archives to find out, but I’m lazy and that’s a lot of work. So if you’ve heard this before I’m sorry, you have permission to skip class today. Just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Now, for the rest of you, allow me to enlighten you on the greatest love story of all time…or, at least, how two college kids met at a bar.
It was Friday, March 26th, 2010; two days after my 21st birthday. I’d planned a week-long celebration with different events at different local bars each night, and that Friday night the celebration happened to be at a dueling piano bar with a free taco buffet and cheap drinks, a favorite among college students for obvious reasons. I was there with my girlfriends, and we were having a blast. The music was loud, the drinks were sugary and delicious, it was my birthday and life was good.
Then, in walked another group of our friends. We immediately invited them to pull up chairs to our table. I knew most of the people in the group, except for one: this handsome, green-eyed stranger with dimples and a sexy smile. Now, Trinity University is a small school –around 2,400 undergraduate students total. So it was really weird to meet someone completely new, especially during the spring semester of your junior year. At the very least you’d probably seen the person walking around campus before. But not this guy, he was a total stranger. And I wanted to get to know him.
After our groups merged into one huge friendship conglomerate, I ended up sitting next to the stranger (thank you, universe). He told me his name, Andrew, that he was a senior triple-majoring in accounting, finance and economics (yeah). He was from the Dallas-Fort Worth area – like me, his family still lived there – like mine…and that’s about all we had in common. He had just returned from a three-month internship at a prestigious accounting firm. I had just returned from performing musical theatre in China over spring break. He wasn’t really involved in many campus activities, he mostly hung out with his friends. I was involved in countless campus activities, that’s how I hung out with my friends. He was funny and smart and endearingly shy. I liked him immediately. I couldn’t tell, but I hoped he liked me too.
The night went on and we kept talking, both of us timidly vetting the other. I noticed our mutual friends noticing us, allowing us this magical private bubble in the middle of the noisy bar to talk and laugh and get to know each other. I would later find out that our friends were coaching this green-eyed stranger on what to do (he’d never had a girlfriend before, so this was all new to him), whether he should offer to buy me another drink (yes, always yes), whether he liked me or not (he did). I probably owe my marriage to at least a dozen tipsy college students. Thanks guys, you da best.
When it became clear that the group was getting slightly bored with our location, I was a little bummed. I didn’t want my conversation with this shy, mysterious Andrew to end. I’ve been accused of many things in my short 26 years, but subtlety isn’t one of them; luckily one of our plotting and scheming mutual friends noticed my hesitation to leave, and suggested we all reconvene at a bar closer to campus. I exchanged hopeful “See you theres” with Andrew, and said goodbye.
I tried not to get my hopes up. There was a chance he wasn’t even interested, I hastily reminded myself. He could have just been being polite. Thank the Lord that he did in fact show up to the second bar. And thank the Lord for alcohol, because we were SO awkward and jittery together.
He bought be another drink, we played a nervous game of pool in which he shot the cue ball off the table three times and finally began to loosen up and relax into each other’s company. At the end of the night, his friends suggested that maybe he’d like to walk me home. He did, and we sat ten feet across the room from each other, talking even more. He quietly asked for my phone number, and I happily gave it to him, trying to ignore the frenetic buzzing in my head and heart.
Then he didn’t call me.
Yep. That’s correct. He never. called. me. But, like I said a moment ago, subtlety isn’t my strong point. Several days later I sent him what I hoped was a casual text message, inviting him to meet me at that same bar where we played pool several nights before. He accepted my invitation within minutes.
Several weeks later, we shared our first kiss in yet another bar (I really feel like this story is giving you the wrong impression of my lifestyle choices) at my sorority’s date party…with my entire sorority watching. In our defense, we thought we were being discreet, kissing in a far removed corner miles away from the dance floor. I would later learn that in fact, we were pushed up against the booming speaker in the very middle of the dance floor, well in view of literally everyone in the bar. What can I say, tequila shots are sneaky little bastards.
One year later we would say “I love you,” each for the first time. One and a half years later, we would both graduate – I with my undergraduate degree, him with his masters – and both move back to our native North Texas. Two and a half years later, he would propose, and I would happily accept. Three years and four months later, we’d be married.
Now that shy, green-eyed stranger is my husband, and I completely adore him. Most days. Some days I want to punch him in the face, but I’m told that’s normal.
Someday we will reproduce awesome spawn who will hopefully rise to power and lead the resistance force in the inevitable zombie apocalypse. I hope they get his crazy intelligence, his quiet compassion, his thoughtful sensitivity and his dimples. And his teeth, too, the man NEVER gets cavities. For now we will continue our adventures: working, traveling, writing, living and laughing. He is the best friend I ever could have hoped for. He makes every day we share together wonderful, and I definitely wouldn’t kick him out of bed. You can quote me.
Here’s to you, Señor Hess.
—The Wife in Training