Thursday, May 19, 2011

"That Guy" I Married

On this day, twenty years ago....Special Agent and I had our very first date.

When I thought of Special Agent prior to the week we started dating, I looked like this.

Anyone who knows me well will recognize this look

I had stormed off on my college boyfriend earlier in the evening and called the girls to go out.  Special Agent had shown up at the same party and I distinctly remember walking in and seeing he and his friend there and thinking, "Great, That Guy and his Friend are here. I haaaate That Guy and his Friend...." I considered leaving. He didn't like me much either, and there were times when I thought he was f'ing with me in order to illicit the look above -  purposefully. Jerk.

The party was in full swing and after some drinks I found myself sitting on a set of stairs with a lot of other people (seating was limited) which put me in close proximity to That Guy. I put on my armor and pretended I didn't notice. Stupid boys.

But something weird happened.

We talked to each other.

Not snarky verbal judo, actually talking to each other.
There was laughing.
He was smart!
In fact...I kind of...liked him?

I stayed on the stairs talking to That Guy later than I intended and when I tried to leave, he didn't want me to go.

I didn't want to go either.
It was the Twilight Zone.

I spent the next rainy and dreary day breaking up with College Boy and considering how it would feel to play the field for awhile. I wasn't going to marry College Boy, so i had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to head back to school free and enjoy being unattached.

I was empowered.
I was independent!
I couldn't stop thinking about That Guy I hated.

We saw each other again the next day and both sober, we spoke hesitantly to each other, both of our guards back up. We navigated the conversation uneasily, but I thought there was still something going on. Nonetheless we were both playing it cool. We agreed we would see each other later at an event.

I attended the event with another classmate, and gave That Guy a wave when I saw him. The Onion DOES NOT CHASE BOYS. He waved too, and we went about the evening. It was a long event and at some point we met up and decided it was getting old and decided to get coffee at a local diner-type place.

Game on.

We sat in the booth and the ease of the previous conversation slowly trickled back in. He thought it was weird that I ordered tea and croissants. I pretended I was worldly, but really just didn't want to tell him I couldn't stand the taste of coffee. We stayed at the coffee shop and talked for about 3 hours.

And something happened there.
I can't explain it.

We spent the rest of the summer together, every evening and most of the weekends, knowing that the end of the summer meant he was going away. My family was surprised I was dating a boy I had disliked. College Boyfriend came around to see if I would reconsider ending our relationship and even tentatively asked "are you dating That Guy? Why?". I didn't care. That Guy was the flame and I was the moth. I think he kind of liked me too.

Yet, we reminded each other it was only for the summer. He was leaving and I was staying and those facts weren't going to change. I was doing a whole unattached final year of school thing, and he was heading out to start his new life in the Marines.

Only the summer.
Only the summer.

The dog days of August didn't change anything except the strong stance we had on breaking up. We changed it to breaking up, but leaving things open to connect again at some point. Then, we both admitted we didn't WANT to date anyone else. SO much for our big plans.

We wrote letters while he was away and I would race home over my lunch period to check the mail. When I missed the mail, Twin would bring the letters to where I worked and I would hide in the bathroom, reading and re-reading the scrawl, savoring the conversations that only existed on paper. I would hide the letters in my pocket and when I had a second, pull them out and just look at the worlds. Squeeze the letter. Wish for Christmas.

I stood in the bathroom stall with the door closed, my head leaning against the cool metal. I read the letter as fast as I could, drinking in the words. My heart lurched when he wrote of the future and said "someday do you think you would marry me?".

I was 17 years old.

Oh my.
I didn't think I would ever get married...?
I was ok with living in sin for life.
I was kind of a bohemian feminist...
I had to go to college and become Mary Tyler Moore...

I let that comment ride for a while.Or...for about the time it took for me to send a letter back saying I wouold love to...someday.

We saw each other again for 10 glorious days around Thanksgiving and savored the time while it lasted.

I forgot school existed. 
I didn't even go.
Friends, no we don't want to go anywhere. 

When he left again, we knew we could call which made things easier, but barely. I ached for him, and thought of little else. I made plans in my mind of where I would go for college when I was done with school just to be with him. He was in Boston at intel school, but had the possibility of going to"

Radio Batallion in California
Edsel, Scotland
Rota, Spain

I decided to become a world traveler or a California girl immediately. I embarrassingly called it Cali. Me and LL Cool J.

In February, we discussed that it would be a lot easier to travel overseas if we were married. It was surreal and sort of like we were pretending to be pragmatic. We didn't seal the deal, however. We weren't engaged.

But when i hung up the phone, I beamed.

Me, the bohemian feminist who didn't believe in marriage.
Or war.
I was going to marry a Marine.
I was going to marry That Guy.
I was going to move to California...
With That Guy and LL Cool J.

That Guy was 1rst in his class, so he was told he would be given special consideration to get his choice of duty stations, which was great, but you couldn't rely on it. The Marines don't really work that way. He was dreaming of the rain in Scotland, since California really meant he would be on a boat somewhere and not together anyway. The Marines (A Gunnery Sergeant, specifically) got wind of some marriage plans and in the spirit of LL Cool J, said:.

Hmph. I don't think so.

Oh, no, no
This wasn't the way it was supposed to go...
The Marines don't care. 
If they wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one.

Now was the gut check. There was really no reason to get married, since we weren't going to get to be together anyway. That Guy bravely told me that, gave me an out. 

I didn't want an out. 
The slimmest of chances existed that we would get to be together for the next 18 months
But still. It was he I wanted and I wanted to marry, him. 

It didn't make sense. 
It didn't need to. 
That's how I knew.

Happy 20 year anniversary of our first date, Special Agent. I am glad I stayed for the party.

I eventually traveled to Cuba to see That Guy, read more about it here.