As a tribute to my beautiful wife who definitely did not ask me to do this, I would like to recount the story of the fateful day our paths crossed one rainy afternoon in Lubbock, TX.
I started school at Texas Tech University in the Fall of 2008 and lived in the Wall dormitory for my first year. I met a lot of crazy people and did a lot of crazy things, not the least of which was to start playing Rugby. At the end of my freshman year in Spring 2009 I needed to decide where I was going to be living that Summer and the following semester. So I and a few of my friends from the Rugby team banded together and signed a lease for an apartment adjacent to campus so that we were independent but still within walking distance for our classes.
The Fall 2009 semester quickly rolled around and classes began. Most of my classes were bunched together in the early morning or afternoon with the exception of a History class that started around 5:30 pm. One evening I was walking to class and noticed a pretty girl walking the same direction I was. Being an introvert and lacking much confidence in myself, I simply admired her from a distance hopefully without being too much of a creep. I ended up seeing her a few more times in this way, never interacting due to shyness or distance as she was usually either far enough ahead or behind me that it would be awkward and noticeable if I sped up or slowed down to make conversation.
After a few weeks of this, one rainy evening walking my usual route to class I had to stop and wait to cross the one road separating our apartment from campus. As I waited for the opportunity to cross, I look over and see the same girl standing there waiting alongside me. I instantly became a nervous wreck and stood there awkwardly in silence trying hard not to make it obvious I was avoiding eye contact. As the traffic slows and the pedestrian light come on I see her take off her flip-flops to cross the lightly flooded streets. Since I was also wearing flip flops, I thought this was a clever idea and so I said "Hey, that's a good idea" and got a small smile from her.
We crossed the street separately and donned our footwear as we reached the other side and continued walking to our separate destinations. As I kept walking I noticed she was going in roughly the same direction I was, and I realize that she was actually headed to the same class that I was except by a slightly different route. It was a massive lecture hall of at least 200 students, and she sat towards the back on one end of the class whereas my usual seat was closer to the front on the opposite end. I spent the rest of class trying not to be obvious as I found numerous reasons to look back in that direction to catch another glimpse of her.
After class ended that evening I tried to walk slowly back towards the street to help increase my chances of running into her again, and it worked. We ended up waiting to cross the street in a very similar situation, this time I took my flip-flops off first and made some sort of stupid comment like "Here we go again" to which I received a similar smirk as before. Finally mustering up some confidence I introduce myself and make some small talk as we walked back in the same direction. I was headed to my apartment and she was headed to a student parking lot that was along the way. As we drew closer to the end of our short walk I began to experience all sorts of nervousness and anxiety because I knew this was my chance to ask for her number.
We arrived at her car and the peak of my anxiety but I somehow managed to ask the question: "So....do you have a Facebook?" I heard myself utter.
What. Facebook? I couldn't even ask for her number? I had only ever asked 1 other girl for their phone number and it was the most awkward thing I had ever done, until this moment.
Caught off guard, she actually laughed out loud at the request and responded with: "Sure, but do you remember my name?" After a brief flash of panic, I had indeed remembered her name. So we parted ways, and I rushed home to add her as a friend and send her a message. We messaged back and forth over the next week or so and I eventually asked for her number...through a Facebook message...
Not long after that we had our first official date at the Starbucks where I worked (ugh...come on Matt). I was smitten with her from the start and as I dropped her off at her car that evening we hugged and said goodnight. She later confided in me that I give really good hugs, and that was one of the reasons she was attracted to me. A few more days went by with us messaging each other more and more frequently until we eventually had our second date. It was a Tuesday and so we picked up Rosa's Mexican food for Taco Tuesday and headed back to my apartment to watch Kung Fu Panda.
As we sat eating our food and watching the movie I decided to make a move - I tried to hold her hand. I don't know why that was such a difficult thing, but it really was for me. As I reached out and gently grabbed her hand in mine, she held it for a moment but then pulled away. I forget exactly what she said because I was so devastated. Did I really just get denied a hand-hold? Wow. I figured that meant she was uninterested and the remainder of the date was awkward and I ended up driving her home not long after.
We still texted a few more times after that but not as much as before. Since I figured she wasn't interested I didn't try as hard to keep the conversations going until I finally had to ask straight out what happened. She confessed to me that she was nervous and her hands were a bit clammy and that made her self-conscious. Feeling a bit relieved but still somewhat unsure if that was the whole truth I decided to give her another chance and we continued talking. Things slowly started going back to the way they were before the hand-holding incident and when we finally met up again it was clear that we both had feelings for each other despite some of the initial awkwardness.
We went on a few more dates and eventually late one evening in late October we "made it official" and have been together ever since. We ended up getting married on our 5 year anniversary and are currently living happily ever after.