May 1, 1994.
I don’t really remember many of the details. I was eighteen; he was nineteen. It was a Sunday, and the day was warm – or warm-ish, anyway. We both had wicked bangs.
We’d been crazy about one another for quite a while, had even shared those three magic words (no, I’m not talking about “Oh, thanks, Starbucks!”, although those three words are definitely magical), but – paradoxically – we’d never gone on a real date until now.
“Date” is a bit of a stretch here, too, because neither of us had a car and we weren’t about to spring for a cab, and public transportation was sorely lacking, so we were limited to whatever was within walking distance. He officially asked me to join him – on a date – and so I raced to my room to get ready. I don’t remember if I changed my clothes, although I do remember brushing my hair. I also distinctly remember that I wanted to ensure that I had fresh breath, but – considering that he was waiting for me downstairs – I knew I didn’t have enough time to brush my teeth, so I opted for mouthwash instead.
Except that the miniature, travel-sized bottle of green brew that I hastily grabbed did not contain mouthwash but shampoo (a fact that began to dawn on me as I tipped the bottle back – expecting the thin, Scope-y liquid to immediately flood my mouth – and… nothing… happened… because the shampoo was sloooowly oozing toward the opening of the container). I finally put two and two fully together as the very edge of the ablution reached my lips (but, thankfully, stayed clear of the rest of my mouth), leaving me squeaky clean – if not exactly minty fresh – for my suitor.
We got french fries (Cro Jos [Joes?], they were called, named for the student center in which we purchased them – the enormous wedge kind of fries that are actually a bit too dry and mealy, but which were the rage back then) and took them down to the amphitheater by the library. This was not exactly a hidden, private oasis, so there must have a reason why we chose this destination – other seating was full? Some event was going on? We were overly dramatic and liked the notion anything having to do with the theater? – but it escapes me now.
I have a decent enough memory, especially for “important” things, so you would think I would have a vivid recollection of such a pivotal event. But after the amphitheater… well, that’s pretty much all I remember. We talked. We laughed. Maybe we kissed? Yeah, there was probably kissing, and I probably spilled something on myself. The rest? I have no idea.
But that was the beginning – the unofficial, official beginning – and we haven’t looked back since.
Twenty years, today. Nick and I have been together for twenty years.
Which seems impossible, because twenty years was forever ago. And yet, looking at these photos, in some ways it feels like it just happened.
Twenty years. *blink*
Come to think of it, our first date pretty much set the tone for the rest of our relationship. We’re still talking. We’re still laughing. I am certainly still spilling on myself. Some days – hell, some individual moments – are so etched into my mind, I feel as though I can touch and taste them, like the shampoo on the tip of my tongue. The rest just blend together, a blur of I vaguely recall that this happened, the mostly-warm fries eaten on the grass, without anything standing out too particularly much… except that I know Nick was there with me.
Which is pretty much everything I could ask for.
I’m not looking for flashy Ta-Das and scrapbook-worthy (or, nowadays, Facebook-worthy) experiences, although those have been plentiful and much-appreciated (okay, I won’t lie – we’re totally going to Puerto Rico, just us, this summer to celebrate. French fries only take us so far, you know). I’m looking for someone who knows me better than anyone else, who can make me laugh more than anyone else, someone with whom I can share a look from across the room and just know that he knows.
It’s not always pretty, and it’s not always easy – but that’s okay, because the hard stuff is how we’ve gotten to where we are today. And it’s a good place. A really good place.
Especially since we’ve both ditched our bangs.
Can’t wait to see what our #TBT looks like in another twenty years.
Floralia, 1994. We were both still sober at this point. I think.