It was a great summer. In fact, it was dubbed the “summer o’ fun”. But as soon as my junior year of college started, I buckled down. I started an intense internship, had a few tough classes, and started having quiet nights at home with my roommates Bridget and Kristy.
I was coming of a chaotic year, adjusting to a new college and living in an apartment for the first time. But by the close of that summer, I was in a good place. I had cherished friends, was happy with my job, and was starting to plan my future.
And then a hiccup. I was hit with pink eye for the first time in my (adult?) life. I still don’t know how I contracted it, but was house-ridden for several days in November. A lot of wiping down surfaces and warm washclothes and sleeping. A few days after I was cleared was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. My friends from home were back from college for the holiday. So what else was there to do but hit the college town bars. Yes, folks. I went to bars before I was 21. That’s college town Albany for you (at least circa 2002).
Sara, Jen, and I went to Michael’s on Madison Ave on November 26th. Drinks were had. Dancing was done. I was thrilled to be a part of the social world again.
I distinctly remember standing near the bar, and seeing a boy across the room. He was sitting on a barstool at the opposite wall. He had glasses and was oh so handsome. I kept talking to my friends, but was continuously distracted. I tried to make eye contact a few times, but to no avail. He was facing his friend, drinking a beer.
I don’t remember how long it took me, but I finally decided that enough was enough. I realized that his friend was a bartender at a bar in Troy that my friends and I frequented during the college breaks. Sara and I giggled a little about it. Since she knew the friend better than I did, I begged her to approach him. She was reluctant, mostly because she didn’t think that bartender would even know who she was! After some begging, I told her I would pay her $5 to interupt their conversation so she could talk to the friend, and I wouldn’t be perceived as the “rude” one.
Sara, the great friend she was, obliged. While she talked to the friend, I oh so smoothly started talking to the boy with the glasses.
I sat, talked about our jobs, where we went to school, and where we were from. I discovered that he was a good Catholic boy, and divulged that I, too, was Catholic. He told me his birthday, which I assured him I would remember. I have a “thing” with dates, you see.
At the close of the night, Jen and Sara were going home, and came over to fetch me. The Boy offered to walk me home. I felt safe with him. I trusted him. I gave Sara a look which I hoped would convey that. She understood. She trusted him too.
A short time later, we exited the bar. As we turned the corner onto Ontario Ave, he quizzed me. What was his Birthday? May 3rd, I replied. A few steps later, it started to snow lightly. He stopped me on the sidewalk, put his arms around me, and kissed me.
Four years, three months, and five days later, he asked me to be his wife.
Five years, one month, and ten days later, he was my husband.
Nine years, seven months, and five days later, he became the father of our baby girl.
And ten years later today, knowing all the ups and downs we would face, I would still have taken that walk to meet him.