--I was 16 years old.
--I was sitting around a firepit in good ole Evergreen Park.
--I was in a play called, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly", which is about the Holocaust.
--I had a really small part at the beginning and served as an extra throughout the play, so I had a lot of down time.
--I went to a cast party hosted by one of the guys in the play.
--I met some new people who have since become a huge part of my life.
--I have lost touch with a lot of people who I thought would still be my friends today. Life, eh?
Oh. And I also met my husband. Ten years ago today, at said cast party, I met the man who would become my husband.
How do I remember? Well, opening night for the play was October 12th, which I wouldn't remember except that it was a Thursday night, making the next night Friday--obviously. The 13th follows the 12th, making the second night of the play Friday the 13th. Theatre people are notorious for their superstitions (Macbeth, anyone?), and moments before the "curtain went up" (there was no curtain in our theater) someone said, "Hey! I just realized tonight is Friday the 13th!" What do you get when you combine high school theatre geeks with theatre superstition and raging teenage hormones from hell? I'll tell you! You get a bunch of nerds wishing each other "Good Luck!" instead of "Break a leg!" just to be safe.
Anywho, the next night was the "epic" cast party at Keith Wood's house. (We didn't use the word epic....I can't remember what word he used to describe the party back then. Probably bitchin'.) I remember looking forward to it all day on Friday and Saturday (the 14th). I had to work that day and spent part of my shift training a new girl. When I left she said, "Have fun at your party tonight!"
I remember very specific details about that weekend. I remembered so much about that weekend, even a month later and a year and two years later (and that should have been my clue right there).
At the party, a bunch of us were sitting around the firepit, laughing and being loud and goofy and horny, just like normal teenagers. I saw a tall, lanky kid wander into the yard and pull up a chair. I didn't recognize him but he looked slightly familiar. We started talking about Keith Wood and his eleventeen siblings (no lie) and I was killin' em! Joke after joke, man! (This is how I imagine/remember it in my head.) In my loud, obnoxious teenage glory I yelled out, "Hey New Kid! Which brother are you? WHICH BROTHER ARE YOU????!!!!" New Kid looked around and said, "Who me? I'm not related to anyone here. I don't know anyone here."
Me: OOPS! Bwahaahahahahahaa Sorry! ::obnoxious teenage laughter followed by self-indulgent teenage chatter about lordknowswhat--probably NSync.::
New Kid shrugs and looks at everyone laughing at Dumb Blond Angie.
This is where New Kid, who's name turned out to be Graham, slyly looks at me again and thinks I'm cute. (Supposedly. I have no knowledge of this because I was talking to my friends and was too self-absorbed to look at New Kid again. This is what Graham tells me happened.)
The night continues. There's lots of laughing and noise, coupled with some inappropriate lap dances around the firepit. (What? We were teenagers. You probably did it, too.) Somehow my position around the fire shifted and a few hours later I was talking to my friend Chandra (note to self: Facebook her and findout whatever happened to her) about the TV shows of our youth (because we were like, so freaking old back then!) when New Kid (who was sitting in front of us) tilts his head back and joins our conversation.
The conversation continues awkwardly until New Kid realizes it's dumb for him to be sitting with his back to us and turns his chair around. Finally! I get a better glimpse at New Kid's face and see that he doesn't resemble a Wood sibling at all. He's tall and thin and has a fun sense of humor. Eventually Chandra disappears (or maybe she just disappeared in my memory) and suddenly the conversation is left to me and New Kid. CRAP! I let my insane fear of silence take over and I start peppering him with questions. Where do you go to school? Who are you here with?
Turns out New Kid goes to Marist (RIP, all-boys school) and isn't there "with" anyone because he's the driver for the evening. His brother was dating a friend of mine, and between their small group (New Kid, New Kid's Brother, Brother's Girlfriend, Girlfriend's Best Friend, and Best Friend's Boyfriend) he's the only one with a driver's license. Somehow they sweet talked him into borrowing a minivan from one of his parents and driving them to the party where they would stay until someone's curfew kicked in and they had to get home.
New Kid seems nice enough. He may have told me his name, but I don't remember it. (Again, I way too self-absorbed. Besides, I didn't think I'd ever see New Kid again.) We start talking about work and he says that he's a summer camp counselor. ::swoon:: I'd always wanted to be a camp counselor (probably the biggest regret of my teenagedom) and when I said that I wanted to work with him, he says, "Great! You got a car? Then you're set. Megan (Brother's Girlfriend) will hook you up!" Then New Kid shouts across the firepit, "Hey Brian! I recruited her to work at camp with us!" Somewhere across the firepit I hear a voice say, "Cool." I saw a hand wave at me, but I don't think I ever saw New Kid's Brother that evening. If I did, I most likely thought he was Keith Wood's brother.
Well, it's a good thing I couldn't see across the firepit. Had I been able to see across the firepit I would have noticed a few of my friends (including Brother's Girlfriend and Girlfriend's Best Friend) exchange knowing looks. Based on what I was told when I was 16, apparently one of them thought that New Kid and I would make a cute couple once New Kid and his girlfriend broke up. I was "safe" and "uncomplicated", so....a good rebound? From what I remember, they had planned on introducing us at some point, but we ended up meeting and introducing ourselves on our own.
Well, at some point I had to return home or drive someone home. I start making my way out (we had to exit the outside through the inside) and I see New Kid inside. I say, "Well, I'm leaving. BYE!" and give him a big ole hug. In the basement light I'm really struck by how tall this kid is. I mean, wow! I felt like a midget in his company.
About a month later our mutual friends start talking about setting us up. They talk to him and tell him a *slightly* different story than the one I was told, but it was necessary to get either of us to commit. Two months later we started dating. I don't always remember October 14th, but this year I remembered for a few reasons. The first, you ask? Well, our 10th anniversary is coming up in a few months (10th dating, 3rd wedding) and every now and then we look at one another in complete amazement. It definitely doesn't feel like it's been 10 years. However, it's pretty undeniable. Since meeting each other we've both earned degrees, got married, purchased a home, one of us got herself preggers....it's pretty crazy when you think about it.
The other reason I remembered that today was the 10th anniversary of the night we met? It's sappy, really.
Today we went to a baby shower held by Graham's coworkers. For us. Actually, for our baby. Our baby.
Ten years ago, had you told me that New Kid and I would be married and just a few weeks away from the birth of our daughter, I would have screamed and run far, far away. "New Kid? But....I barely even know the guy! What's your name again?"
It's pretty amazing when you think about it. Every now and then I'll hear one of those ridiculous country songs about "You n' me, way back when" and I roll my eyes and change the station. And then some weird anniversary like this rolls around and my mind can't even process the events that have taken place in the last 10 years. As sappy as those songs are, they're clearly written by people who have looked at their spouse or loved one and thought, "What the hell....ten years already?"
So, New Kid. Happy "Anniversary". It's been a good ten years, hasn't it? I hope the next ten years are just as wonderful.