It was on this very day, many years ago, that I met her.
I can hardly believe how many years ago it was, to be truthful.
It was during my second year of university. My buddies and I went on a road trip to a town about an hour away from school. Our friend was at an agricultural college there. I think that he had mostly gone there because it was a small school and he could play basketball for them. But, he also liked plants… and stuff.
The first night of the visit, we hit a local bar. I want to say that the place was called “The Yard” or “Scotland Yard,” but that is totally a guess.
Once inside, my friends immediately bee-lined for the bar. Drinks were ordered. Drinks were consumed. It was officially “on.”
I stood back, surveying my surroundings. Not the classiest joint I’d ever been in. But, the male to female ratio seemed decent enough. The speakers were blasting the dance music of the day – which, oddly enough, sounds exactly like the dance music of every day – and some guy was informing us that he liked to move it, move it. He liked to mooooove it.
Apparently this hombre was all about the moving it.
I was still looking around when something caught my eye. A group of girls standing off to my left were laughing and having a great time. My gaze met the gaze of one of the girls. And I said…
You know how you hear horseshit about “sparkling eyes” and how “bright her eyes were?”
Well, I finally got it.
I was captivated.
Now, it’s important to note that I was firmly entrenched in my “I only date short, cute blondes” phase.
This girl was a tall (must have been 5’10!!!!) and a brunette. But, she was so very cute.
In fact, she was that devestating combo of pretty/cute. Something that is far more rare than it ought to be.
I looked towards my friends to see if they had noticed her. Since she wasn’t at the bottom of a glass, they had not.
I began thinking about how I was going to play this. I decided on “the funny, but mysterious, stranger from out of town.”
Then I realized that I didn’t know how to do that.
So, minutes turned to hours. I was still hanging with my friends. She was still laughing and dancing with hers. We caught each other looking many times. I gave her the half-grin. She smiled back.
What a smile.
“Holy shit,” I said, being drowned out by Shaggy singing “Oh, Carolina.” (This was before anyone outside of his family actually knew who he was.)
When the song ended, she made her way towards the bar. As she walked past me, I said “Hi.”
Yes, I am THAT smooth.
I said it in a mocking “well, it’s about damn time” tone.
She immediately shot back with a “Hello” that really meant “I was sicking of waiting for your ass to do something.”
Then we both smiled.
As pretty as she looked from across the room, from up-close she was just gorgeous.
I totally forgot where we were.
And I’m not entirely sure what I said to her. But, I remember feeling like I was doing a good job. She was laughing. I was imagining picking out China patterns with her.
She was a volleyball player. She asked me if I liked the sport. I said, “Of course.” (I hate it.) She said, “No you don’t.” I laughed. She asked, “Do you at least like volleyball players?” I replied with “Ask me in an hour.”
She was funny. She was smart. Very quick. She called me on things. I LOVED it.
I am unsure of how long we talked there by the bar. But, if I had to pick a moment to be stuck in – GROUNDHOG DAY-style – that one would certainly get much consideration.
Her friends began yelling for her to join them. They were toasting something or arguing about something. She rolled her eyes to me. I am not sure what a swoon feels like, but I think I had a little one.
She said, “I have to go check on the kids. Come find me later.”
I said, “Definitely.”
I totally checked out her bum as she walked away. It made me weep a little.
I turned back to my friends, who continued to be oblivious to the whole thing. One of them hugged me and asked if I was having a good time, while his face was two inches from mine. I said, “Yeah.” And I really meant it.
Now, this is where it gets a little hazy for me. We decided to leave the bar. I have a faint recollection of someone from my group having an issue with a dude in another group. We may have been tossed out. Or I may be combining the events of two or more different nights into the same memory.
In any event, as we were leaving, I walked over to her and asked where she was going later. She gave me the name of a local pizza joint.
The moment we got outside, I started trying to convince my friends that we had to go there. Now, getting a bunch of drunk dudes to eat pizza is not exactly like negotiating a middle east peace agreement, but getting them all going in the same direction at the same time is no small feat.
After some puking, some arguing and a crowded taxi ride, we ended up at the pizza place. We ordered our food, and after an eternity of watching the door, I saw her walk in.
She looked even better under bright flourescent lighting. (Which, as Newton’s 17th Law proved, is pretty friggin’ rare.)
I immediately went over to talk to her. It felt as natural as it had in the bar.
She mentioned taking a walk over to the little park across the street from the pizza place. (Mainly because her friends were staring and making kissy-faces at us.) I quickly agreed.
We found the park bench with the least amount of pigeon crap. I took off my jacket and let her sit on it. And we talked.
No, we really talked.
It was amazing.
The give and take. Guards were down. Embarassing things were admitted.
It is rare that a 19 year old guy is thinking beyond immediate gratification, but I could really see myself with that girl. Long-term.
Just then, the clouds parted and we were lit by a full moon. It was beautiful.
She looked at me and said, “I am having a really good time.”
I replied, “Me too.”
And then I turned into a werewolf and ate her.
Every year at this time I think about that girl. And I miss her.
She tasted like veal.