|Dawww, two weeks or so after we met.|
As Jay and I start prepping for marriage, baby making, and parenthood, I am reminded that eventually those babies are going to ask a certain question that I have no idea how I’m going to answer:
How’d you two meet?
Honesty is out for two reasons:
1) I did a lot of stupid crap in my teenage years that I will shield my children from like all parents before me.
2) The actual meet-cute is more reminiscent of a murder or rape case than love. Stars aligned, or something, because I could’ve easily ended up on a milk cartoon had I met any one else but him.
It was Labor Day weekend that irrelevant holiday which is only good for a 16 year old because it meant a four-day weekend and a final farewell to summer.
Two girl friends and I were in a very celebratory mood. The air tingled with a combination of the top-40 music blaring from the car radio, excitement, and stale weed smoke—another thing I won’t be telling my kids.
As teenage girls are wont to do, my friend was yelling her euphoria out the back seat window as I drove through the streets of the city. Her actions attracted the attention of many passers-by, but she zoned in on a group of guys who returned her calls.
Bouncing up and down in the backseat, she begged for me to turn around and meet them. Easily persuaded by her and my other friend’s pleas, I agreed.
I pulled up to a house with the garage door open. A Chevy truck with the hood up sat inside it with ten or so guys, who were very obviously older than us, huddled around it. One lone girl sat watching from a camping chair.
While the spark of fear hit me pretty immediately on doing the math of the situation: three young girls varying from 15 to 16 against this group of guys with tools wouldn’t stand a chance. One, or all, of them could’ve been a murderer, rapist, or crazy person.
I should have driven away. The smart, self-preservatory thing to do would’ve been flee. But, gathering confidence from my friends who had that blind boldness only afforded to boy-crazed girls, I got out of the car anyway.
It was dark, the guys backlit from the only light coming from the garage. To my mind now, they were all tall shadows, except for one.
“Hi, I’m Jay,” the shortest of the group wearing a black Element t-shirt and the ugliest pair of Jnco’s known to man all but yelled at me before anyone else had a chance to say anything. My friends laughed while his paused at his outburst, making me blush. The rest slowly offered names and then the question of age came up. The guys ranged from 19 to 21 and some rightly left when they heard our much younger response.
Jay, one of the oldest, and three of the younger guys stayed behind. We chatted for a while, Jay obviously centering most his attention on me while the others talked. We had to go pretty quickly after that because I had to get the car back, but we made plans to meet up the next night. The garage guys shook their heads at the idea, but Jay and the others didn’t care.
That night, the girls and I giggled over the boys we just met, each deciding the one they liked and would hope to see again. I thought fondly of the cute guy with the spiky hair and glasses while the girls laughed at his introduction and interest toward me.
At the time, I was pretty sure the idea of him was crazy. He was five years older than me and a college student. He had a real job, and I was pretty sure our romantic experience levels were on different fields. I was a junior in high school who worked at KFC. I’d never had any kind of serious relationship, and while I had rounded some bases, I’d never crossed home plate and wasn’t planning to anytime soon.
I had no idea then that an unlikely encounter would turn into a ten-year relationship or that we’d have some of the best days of my life together and work through the worst. Call it divine intervention, chance, fate, whatever, but because we decided to take that drive and stupidly talk to some strangers, I met my future husband on the side of the road.