Hi! Welcome back… I don’t have anything to share today so we will just get on with the continuation of yesterday’s story.
September 1999. The news had circulated through the bleachers that I wasn’t the only person to be dumped at this football game. She got dumped, as well. Now, I must have been pre-occupied with myself and my problems (typical) and had no idea that this was going to happen or that it had happened, but I had a chance now and I wasn’t going to waste it.
I immediately started looking around for her, scanning the faces of all the classmates that surrounded me… I couldn’t find her. Did she leave? I thought. I decided that maybe she was walking around receiving expert relationship advice from her friends who had no real relationship experience and were most likely quoting from movies they had recently seen (i.e., She’s All That or 10 Things I Hate About You). So, I went to see if I could find her (yeah, I also went to the concession stand and got a Mountain Dew and a slice of Dominos pizza, so what?!). Anyway, I was unsuccessful… she must have left, damn, I thought. I went back to the bleachers to try to enjoy the rest of the football game of which I had not seen a single play.
As I started up the bleachers looking for some friends to sit with, I saw her. She was looking right at me! Now, I can’t tell you what she was wearing or where exactly she was sitting… but I can remember seeing her face and as I write this I feel the same pang I felt at that moment. There was a trace of sadness on her face when I looked at her and then she smiled. It had gotten dark so the lights were on, illuminating her face against the dark night sky, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen at that point in my life and it is a memory that I hold on to so tightly sometimes I fear I might crush it. It was like a moment from a movie (i.e., She’s All That or 10 Things I Hate About You) and I would happily live in that moment forever.
I quickly got nervous and my heart was beating a little faster as I made my way up to her. When I finally approached her I said, “I heard you got dumped.” (I know, it is amazing how any girl was able to survive my unbelievable charm).
“Yeah” she said, “I heard you got dumped too.”
“Well, I guess we can just be dumped together then.”
We started talking, I don’t remember what we talked about but it felt natural… like talking to an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long time. I was able to fight the urge of asking her out, although that is desperately what I wanted to do but it was probably a little too soon for that. Of course the end of the game came far to quickly and we parted ways, but I felt that I was on my way in the right direction.
Within the next few days I was on the then popular Internet chat “ICQ” (if you used it, you miss it… just admit it and we will move on). I got a message with the familiar “uh, oh” sounder that indicated someone wanted to chat with you, it was from a name I didn’t know “Whinnie” (full disclosure, my ICQ handle was “TMoney32”). Sure enough it was her, another pang hit me. She had looked for me
and wanted to talk to me. The best part was that even back then I expressed myself much better through writing than talking, which meant that it was time to turn on the old Severson charm. We chatted for hours and then again the next day and the next day.
During that time there was tension boiling in the school as a couple of new students were causing a trouble. It was a group of kids (girls and guys) who had transferred from a near by school and they were less than thrilled with the culture at Franklin Junior High where there was an overwhelming amount of “preps” (or at least that’s what we were called back then… you were either a prep or a stoner, but even that line got blurred frequently as I recall). There were fights and threats happening all over the school. There was even a rumor that one of these new kids was able to hide a razor blade in his mouth to bring into school (this was never confirmed).
One of the new girls had not taking a liking to my new, um, crush. And it was decided after a brief argument that she would be suspended for a couple of days as a preventative measure. When I heard the news I went to find her to see what had happened (it was all very dramatic, of course).
I was wearing a grey Polo t-shirt on this particular day and as I walked up to her she traced the letters across my shirt with her finger and said, “Polo” with a smile. (And I thought I was smooth…)
She was wearing a red Tommy Hilfiger sweater. So, in response I mimicked this move and traced the letters across her chest and said, “Tommy.” (That’s right, 14-year-old Tim went right for second base in the hall… I didn’t get a stop sign either).
She told me the suspension was no big deal. No big deal? I thought. I was crushing on a bona fide bad girl, if I would have been suspended I would have definitely cried (sorry for stating the obvious). To me it was a big deal because it meant I wouldn’t see her for 4 days since the weekend was following her suspension. But, I was greeted when I got home by an email with one of those chain surveys that got passed around with 50 questions you answered about yourself and passed on to your friends. I can remember some of the questions on the survey but only one truly mattered to me.
#49 Would go out with the person you are sending this survey to? Yes.
This was serious. I had wanted this since I saw her that summer. Did it mean I should ask her out? How would I do it? Would she really say yes or was it a joke? (Junior High was a very stressful time for me)
The next week we continued to talk both in person and online. We saw each other mostly in the morning prior to school starting in the middle of the school where 8th and 9th grade split. Each day I went thinking, today is the day, I will ask her out this morning. And each day I went to class with a ball of regret in the pit of my stomach. Friday came around, it was the perfect day because if she said no I would not have to worry about seeing her for 2 days which seemed like enough time for the embarrassment to pass.
October 8, 1999. My birthday. We were talking as we normally did every morning and the start of the school day was quickly approaching. I had to ask her soon but I kept procrastinating (something I continue to be very good at today). The first bell rang signalling 5 minutes until school was to begin… my chest tightened. Just do it!, I thought to myself, but I couldn’t do it (tick tock, tick tock).
It was starting to get awkward. You’re 15 now, just do it! And as that thought went through my head, the second bell rang. Now or never.
I leaned in close and whispered in her ear in a voice that I am sure sounded pathetic, “Will you go out with me?”
She pulled away, looked at me for a moment, smiled and leaned in and whispered, “Yes.”
Dreams do come true. We both then turned and walked away to class (aahh, Junior High romance).
This year, on my birthday, will mark the 13th anniversary of that moment. Now, when it happened, I knew I was now going out with a beautiful, smart, funny, “bad” girl. What I didn’t know is that she would turn out to be the love of my life, my best friend and my wife. She is what I live for in this life and I am grateful every day when I think back to the moment that I saw her.