"You really should meet Mark, I think you'll really like him," so said my former college roommate every time she called to see if I had finally sent in my measurements for a bridesmaid's dress. Mark was her future brother-in-law. While living with Kate in college, she frequently suggested guys to me. Usually the pairings were so ridiculous that my standard response was an astounded, "Seriously?!?! umm yeah, I don't think so." So when she kept name dropping Mark, my thought was, "yeah, whatever."
Fast forward to the evening of the rehearsal dinner. The wedding was in Waxahachie, TX. I had flown in from Princeton, NJ, and had logically assumed that the weather in TX in November would be positively balmy compared to the northeast. Everyone else had assumed the same thing, including my (future) mother-in-law who had planned an outdoor rehearsal dinner in a lovely garden center. The weather had other ideas, and a cold front with gusting winds rolled in that day.
Early in the evening, I caught a glimpse of Mark out of the corner of my eye, but still had "yeah, whatever" rolling around in my head. But then, I overheard him trying to convince the other groomsmen to help him bring more chimineas out to the patio. Let's be honest, the other groomsmen were kind of duds, and were very reluctant to be pulled away from their drinks. To persuade them, he said, "Look, girls don't like to be cold, and if you want to meet any girls, this is what we have to do!" I liked how clever and quick on his feet he was, and he was trying to save the day for his mom's party too! So I made it a point to talk to him the next time I saw him. Maybe Kate had been right after all.
|What got us talking in the first place|
We lost track of each other over the course of the evening, and what with the wedding ceremony and all, didn't really see each other again until the reception. I'm fuzzy on the details, but I think he sought me out for a dance, maybe I asked him, I don't remember. I enjoyed spending the evening with him, but I'm not very good at letting my guard down. His constant refrain was, "Man! It's a shame you live in New Jersey." and my response was the very non-committal "yeah, whatever."
At the end of the night, he brought us drinks, and was trying to convince me to stay in Waxahachie for one more night. But my ride back to Dallas was already in their car waiting, and my brother had agreed to take me to the airport in the morning. Also, I saw through his thinly veiled attempt to get me to stay longer by getting the largest mixed drinks he could think of--long island iced teas, in case you were wondering. I downed mine pretty impressively, said good-bye and left.
|The very fun Czech wedding march, with us not dancing together|
|one of our first dances? please note, this was a polka...polkas don't have words, so why is he singing?|
In the end, no subtlety was necessary, because at the same time that Kate was trying to get a read on Mark's feelings for me, he was trying to found out what my feelings were about him. It's always helpful to have a good friend in your corner. He asked her to check if I'd be ok with him having my number. Kate was thrilled that her plot to have me as a sister one way or another just might be panning out. I thought it was sweet and old fashioned the way he'd asked if it was ok to call. So we started talking on the phone...for increasing amounts of time. Probably to the annoyance of my roommates in our thin-walled rental. Sorry guys!
One evening in early December, he started to get a little awkward on the phone, and wanted to know my plans leading up to Christmas etc. Something along the lines of, "Umm, I've gotten quite fond of you, O'Brien, and if it's ok, I'd like to come visit you." I loved the idea, but had to explain my very complicated end of the year itinerary which included a trip back to St. Louis for Christmas, immediately followed by a trip with my college choir to Rome through the new year, immediately followed by a conference for work in Manhattan. "And so," I finished, "if you want to come see me, it'll probably have to be next year in January." His immediate response was, "But I want to see you this year, how can I make that happen?"
To be continued...