Does anyone remember the significance of July 29th, 2000? Anyone? That’s right. That is the infamous day that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt chose to wed. Not to be outdone, my fiance Sean and I decided to get married on the very same day.
Ten years in and we are still happily married and living the good life. We have a beautiful house, a wonderful son, and more importantly lots and lots of incredible memories. Yes, Fadra is going sappy today. One of my favorite stories of all time is how my husband and I got together. Some of you may have heard it but being that today is my 10 year anniversary, it’s certainly worth reminiscing about again.
I once had a career as a software tester. To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting into. It was August 1999 and during the “dot-com” boom so jobs in technology were fairly easy to come by. And the lure of IPOs and buyouts made a start-up venture all the more attractive. I was single and had an apartment and a cat. I didn’t have much of a life so I was able to adapt to the long nights and weekends, especially when the kitchen always stayed full of soda and junk food.
We had company meetings every week to try to boost morale and lift everyone’s spirits in hopes that we would all soon be rich. We also used the meetings to introduce new faces, which were frequent. It was November and the new guy had a head full of curly hair and was wearing a bright yellow sweater. He smiled a lot and laughed when he talked. I thought he was just a little bit goofy.
Since it was a small company, Sean and I would chit-chat in the halls or the kitchen. He would sometimes stop by my office and we would throw some sarcastic banter around. I remember one time he stopped by. Right after he left, my office mate, who was a tell-it-like-it-is Indian girl, said, “why don’t you go out with him?” What was she talking about? That was preposterous and something I hadn’t even thought about. She told me I was always so happy when he stopped by and I never even noticed.
All of that changed one day in January when Sean stopped by my office again. This time, he told me he was giving his notice. Start-up companies often promise more than they deliver and he had had his fill. “WAIT! You can’t just quit! You have to at least come to lunch with us today,” I said, not realizing how heavy those words would weigh. He later told me that my reaction to his news would determine his next move.
He came to lunch with a group of us and we ended up chatting later on in the hallway. He casually told me he had tickets to the symphony and asked if I would like to go with him on Saturday night. That sounded lovely. We exchanged numbers and said our goodbyes.
I felt sort of a panic. Wait, am I going on a date with him? I don’t know anything about him. What will we talk about? What should I wear? I’ve never been an expert dater and was recently dating my way through a string of losers. So what was my hesitation?
I spent the next few days chatting on the phone with him and felt a sense of nervous excitement. I even held a dress rehearsal for my date night outfit. I neatly trimmed my bangs (not such a good move) and got ready for our date. Then my mind started to wander. What did he look like again? Was he cute? I think he was cute. Is he fat? I know he is a big guy but I can’t remember if he is a fat guy. Weird, I know. But our minds like to toy with us.
He arrived in his black Volkswagen New Beetle (diesel) and walked me to the car. He opened the car door for me. Let me repeat that. He opened the car door for me. I was taken aback. So this is how women are supposed to be treated?
Nice car, good music selection, and a flower in his car vase. He had no issues with his masculinity.
We arrived at 518 West with no reservations and a long wait. We stood by the bar and waited and talked and talked. He regaled me with stories of his youth: jetskiing on the Hudson River, triple black diamond skiing, jumping out of airplanes, motorcycles and more. I’m a total wimp (except for the occasional foray into spelunking) so what could he possibly see in me?
Dinner came and went, as did our tickets for the symphony. Dinner ran long and we ended up missing the show. I felt bad but Sean quickly offered that we run out to Chapel Hill for some after dinner drinks. I was having a good time and didn’t want the evening to end. I felt bad about the change of plans but he didn’t seem to mind one bit.
We started the 30 minute drive out to Chapel Hill and it started snowing. Yes, it was January but snow in North Carolina in the winter time is not a regular occurrence. A few flakes on the road and he assured me there was nothing to worry about. He was from New York and this was nothing.
Here is where the real magic started.
We found a place to park and start trekking in the snow. It was just a gentle snow coming down. And it made everything look beautiful. We were walking along the sidewalk when something in the snow caught my eye. I stopped to see what it was.
A diamond ring.
Nobody was popping the question or anything. It was simply a lost ring in the snow. It was gold with just a tiny little diamond in it. I had every intention of trying to find the rightful owner but more importantly I couldn’t help but think that this was a sign. This was a very good sign.
We arrived at the Top of the Hill restaurant and sat outside in their upstairs patio. It was covered and they had heaters. So there we were, sitting outside but keeping warm, drinking too many beers but talking and laughing the night away.
We listened to music and chatted the whole way back to my apartment. I got home at 3am, very late for me even way back when in my 20s. He walked me to the door and…
Said good night and walked away. I was pretty sure we had a good time. I was pretty sure he liked me. I thought he might kiss me. But no such luck. Was that it? Would I hear from him again? Did I do something wrong? Did I drink too much? Did I joke too much?
It wasn’t until our second date that things became crystal clear…
Read: A Love Story: Part 2