My husband and I both come from a long line of storytellers. It’s in our blood. I’d argue, however, that my husband usually takes a more exaggerative angle when recalling past events, but nonetheless, we both love to tell a good story. It is fitting then, that the story of how we met has become one of our most beloved – and contested – stories.
My side of the story begins in a little old smoothie shop on the campus of the college we both attended. It was spring finals week of my junior year of college and I was working the lunch shift when a mutual friend, Mike, stopped in. He ordered his smoothie, but stuck around, making small talk about his plans for next year, how studying was going, and how he was going to lunch the next day with his friend, Adam.
“Honestly, right now I don’t care about who you’re going to lunch with, can’t you see I’m busy?!” I thought, as I ran about trying to meet the demands of the lunch rush.
“Do you know him?” Mike asked.
I did not know Adam. I had heard of him and seen him around campus, maybe exchanged niceties once or twice, but that was about it.
“You should come with us,” he added.
“To lunch??” I responded. Immediately the thought of a set up flashed through my mind, but I quickly put that behind me. I knew Adam was studying in the seminary program, the same as my brother, and so dating wasn’t allowed.
Mike quickly added that since he had once come to dinner at my apartment that year as a guest of my brother, he wanted to return the gesture by inviting me to lunch with him and Adam. I agreed to go, but mostly out of intrigue. Something seemed fishy about the invitation and so my curiosity compelled me to go.
My curiosity was further piqued the next morning by a phone call from my brother asking me my plans for the day. I sort of beat around the bush, and then told him my lunch plans.
“Oh yeah, I knew that!” he responded. That’s when I knew something WAS up! I told him I’d see him later that afternoon to help with a paper and then got back to my studying.
When lunchtime finally arrived, I met the two guys out on the campus quad and we headed to grab a pizza. As we walked, Adam told me of his summer plans to work at a church back in his hometown. I relaxed, taking this as confirmation that he was still in seminary and not free to date.
But not more than five minutes after we sat down for lunch Mike blurted out, “Adam is actually leaving seminary after this week.”
And that’s when all of my suspicions were confirmed. I was on a set up – although everyone knew it was a set up except me. As we continued to talk about school, our families and the future, Mike freely interjected anything and everything he could think of to make Adam more appealing to me.
“Adam, comes from a large family… you must want like 10 kids some day, right?” Mike said.
Adam’s eyes shot Mike a “shut up” look and internally all I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to get back to my roommates and tell them all about my hilarious experience.
Once I returned back to my apartment my brother confirmed that Mike was trying to set Adam and me up. In fact, the previous morning the two of them stopped my brother in the hallway to ask his permission for the secret setup, to which he responded, “Yes, but only because she’d never go for a guy like you.” When my roommates asked me what I thought about Adam, my quite picky self surprised them and me by saying, “I think I’d be interested if he is.”
A day later I received an email from Adam, apologizing for being “sneaky” and promising he wouldn’t do it again. I wrote back that it didn’t take me long to figure out their real intentions and that I was glad next time there would be no sneakiness.” As I fell asleep that night I had knots in my stomach and physically couldn’t eat. You always hear talks of butterflies, but no, I lost my appetite and struggled to swallow. As I laid in my bed replaying the events of the past couple days in my head, I remember thinking, “You’re going to marry this guy.” I followed that with the thought of “you’re crazy, you barely know a thing about him!”
Finally, the week was officially over and he was free to date, so he invited me to coffee. We chatted about sports, our families, our backgrounds. Everything under the sun. We were there for three hours and somehow it only felt like 30 minutes. As we headed back to campus, we agreed to stay in touch over the summer and later that afternoon I headed back to my hometown and he to his. It would be five months before we saw each other again.