Tuesday, February 20, 2007
A Birthday Love Story
I met my wife when we were both fifteen. I had transferred into her English class and the only empty seat near the front of the room was next to her. I quickly spotted her as a soft touch for the borrowing of supplies I was too lazy or negligent to bring. One day she was showing off her learner’s permit and I swiped it from her and announced, “Hey, that is my birthday too.” She didn’t believe me, so I had to whip mine out as proof. She remained suspicious, but the novelty of a shared birthday caught her interest.
In another coincidence, we both joined the Social Studies Club. For those of you not up on geek culture, Model United Nations is the second nerdiest activity you can do in high school. Teams of students research and roleplay the international policies of other countries. As sophomores not deserving the famous countries, we were both on a team representing Gabon, an obscure but oil-rich African nation, at a local competition. On our birthday, I gave her a greeting card to lay some groundwork. A week after I got my license, I asked her to a movie. We went to see Breaking Away and on the way home I made a bit of an ass of myself and scared her off.
For at least the next year, she would continue to rebuff my romantic advances. I knew her entire class schedule and would make appearances. For the first month of English in our junior year, much to her consternation, her assigned seat was next to mine. There is a fine line between romance and obsession and I was in danger of crossing it. Stalker awareness was not as developed then as it was now, but in retrospect I showed warning signs. I would show up at her house unannounced. In the meantime, I dated a few other girls. One girl I had a slowly-going-past-platonic relationship with joined the Dungeons and Dragons group I was the informal leader of. Did I mention that I am a geek?
For my seventeenth birthday I had planned to just have a cake at my weekly D&D game. Unbeknownst to me, this other girl planned a surprise party behind my back. She knew most of my friends, ranging from the D&D guys to the preppy student leaders to some stonerish guys I had met at a computer club. It was a rather wide-ranging assortment. Who she didn’t invite were very many girls. In total there were three women at this party: her, my future wife (who was also celebrating her birthday), and a xylophone player in the marching band I had a crush on.
I was fighting a cold that night and about half-way through the party the xylophone girl and I took a walk down the street to get some fresh air. By the time we returned my hand had slipped into hers. Since I didn’t warn anybody I was leaving the party and I was the guest of honor, our return together was noticed and much commented on. While nothing had happened on that walk, gossiping tongues preferred to believe otherwise. My mom never learned the xylophone player’s name. She would just cup her hands in front of her chest and say “that girl with the big…” We eventually parted ways and I went back to wooing my future wife in earnest.
The Social Studies Club had romantic intrigues that make Degrassi High look tame. The pivot point in the relationship with my wife was when a bunch of us were all supposed to meet for research at the library and only she and I showed up. To this day, she thinks I somehow engineered that. I convinced her to give me another chance and we went to see that Stallone/Hauer trivia answer Nighthawks. The next day she went to Grad Nite at Disney World with another SSC member, but for the rest of the school year I continued to make inroads into her heart.
By the beginning of our senior year, we were a “couple”. We took as many classes together as we could. This time she gladly sat next to me in English the whole year. She was president of the social studies club and I was vice-president. When I won a place on the county Brain Brawl team, I wrangled a way for her to come along to the state National Honor Society convention as the school’s delegate. We were inseparable. For our eighteenth birthday, we planned a joint party and invited all our common friends. The rest is history.
Today is the twenty-five anniversery of that first joint birthday celebration. Usually, its just a dinner out for the two of us except for special dates. For our joint fortieth birthday, we threw an awesome 80s themed party. We have a lot of fond memories together and I look forward to many more birthdays in common.
Blatant Comment Whoring™: Does a love story get any dorkier than this?