Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How MSH and I became MSH and Me

It's been 2 whole days since I posted anything, but I'm here now. I was feeling a little under the weather on Monday, then spent all day Tuesday catching up. I'm sure you know how it is.

Yesterday, I posted a comment on Pioneer Woman's blog (she's my inspiration for starting this blog) hoping to win a William's Sonoma gift card (I didn't; Darn you random number generator for not coming up with 44!!). Anyways, as a result, I have had a flood of new visitors, or at least a puddle of new visitors, in the past 24 hours. I don't know why, but I've become obsessed with checking my account to see how many people visit my site and where they're from. I can't see names, but I can tell when my mom or two of my aunts visit because I know who their ISPs are and where they live. Also, since the three of them live in pretty small communities and use less popular ISPs, they are easy to spot. But the rest of the visitors are my mysterious audience, and I love an audience.

On to the topic for today: How MSH and I became MSH and me. Please note that all conversations recounted here are verbatim as far as I'm concerned. We were in ninth grade together, but we didn't know each other then. It was his first year at the school (it was Jr. High; 7th-9th grades), and he was one of the cool kids, and I was (am) a nerd. I wasn't even aware of his existence, and I'm sure he was not aware of mine. I don't know how we never met back then; the school was rather small, and we knew all the same people, just in different contexts. So we had to wait almost 8 more years before we'd have a chance to meet again. So, here's how it happened.

My beautiful friend Dalton and I were waiting tables at a restaurant in my hometown. We'd only met a few months earlier but were instant friends, just add water and PRESTO! She decided to have a housewarming party in August of 1999, so of course, I was there. She and MSH went to high school together, and once you're a friend of MSH or Dalton, you are never forgotten. So, of course, he was invited there, too. We were introduced and had several conversations throughout the night and a couple of card games with various groups. He was there with several friends, some of whom had names I recognized from my Jr. High yearbook, and they were involved with some of the conversations to varying degrees and in different combinations. Before too long, I knew, I really liked this guy, and I'd really like it if this guy would ask me out or something. He was tall and handsome and smart and funny and interesting. He looked so cool in his unbuttoned Abercrombie plaid shirt; somehow he pulled off long sleeves in August in Alabama without looking strange. But then, tragedy, the words "my girlfriend" fell from his lips like an atom-bomb on my hours-old crush. He had a girlfriend. I felt the hot sting of disappointment paint my cheeks pink and chastised myself for being so silly. I admit, I allowed the conversation to peter out, and we finished our card game. I left the kitchen to hide in the comfort of the company of my friend Dalton, never mentioned the event to anyone, and assumed it was over. As I'm sure you've guessed, it wasn't.

Two days later, at the restaurant, my friend Dalton comes in grinning. Dalton has a big smile everyday, but this one was different, bigger and sly. She had that I've-got-a-secret look in her eyes, and she was almost exploding with the prospect of telling me something. I thought she'd met a man or won the lottery, not that Alabama has a lottery, but never the less. She starts out, casually, "So, do you remember that guy, MSH, that you met at my party."

I'm thinking "Oh, crap, was I that obvious, how could he have known, I didn't say anything stupid, did I?" In that nanosecond between her question and my leery response, I replayed every moment with him and every word I said, searching for any clues that I may have let slip my irrational instant infatuation and my subsequent disappointment. Nothing. I answer, "yea", trying to sound just a casual as her. I don't think it worked. For one thing, I wasn't able to look him in the eyes after she mentioned his name, so the whole conversation is taking place while she looks at me in profile and I look at her out of the furthest corner of my eye.

She goes on, "Well, he called me the day after the party and said 'So, what's the story with your friend?'." I felt my whole head turn red; my ears burst into flames and started ringing; and I used every ounce of self-restraint I have ever possessed to keep myself from jumping up and down. Then I remembered the vilest words I'd ever heard, "my girlfriend", and died. Then I came back to life just in time to hear her say "I told him that you were a really great girl and he said 'Do you think she'd marry me?'." I fainted. Not really, I've never fainted. But, on this occasion, I did almost pee my pants, my vision grew dim, and the ringing in my ears jumped another octave and a half. She continued, "I told him that he should ask you out first." I was utterly stunned, nearly speechless, and didn't believe a word she said.

My ability to form more than one syllable at a time returned, and I uttered the only sentence my feeble brain could come up with at the time, "But, I thought he had a girlfriend." Her reply changed my life forever. "Oh, he does, but he's about to break up with her. The only reason he hasn't yet is that her birthday is next week, and he didn't want to be the jerk who dumps a girl right before her birthday. So, after he breaks up with her, he's going to ask you out, okay?" I managed to say "okay" and maintain consciousness throughout the remainder of my shift. Every day after that I looked for him to walk through the door, any door I happened to be near; I imagined seeing his tall figure, silhouetted by the street lamps, stroll through the restaurant doors. I half-expected to see him leaning against my car every time I left the place; I fantasized about him being behind every door I opened. Days passed, weeks. He never showed up. I didn't know what to do. I'd fixated on him so wholly that I couldn't imagine what would happen if he didn't come around. I was irrational; I felt like a crazy woman who builds relationships with people she's never really met. I could see how insane I was being, but I had no ability to stop myself.

Finally, on the worst possible night, he appeared, in the green room with a bunch of his friends to shoot pool. It was Parrot Head night, so I was wearing a sleeveless mid-riff bearing Hawaiian print top with my hair in two ponytails. When I saw him, I wished that I could turn back the clock and return to the time when our uniforms were flattering black vests over long-sleeve black button-down shirts and black skirts. I wished I'd done something more adult with my hair; and I prayed for a shirt that covered my belly button. None of those wishes came true. Instead, the prayer I'd prayed for weeks did. We talked for a little while, but I had work to do, so I had to keep leaving. Finally, he met me at the front of the room, away from his friends, and asked me if I'd like to go out with him. He was so calm and cool, and I had sweat huge puddles in the past few minutes. I, of course, accepted. I said something that I know was remarkably dorky, even for me, but I can't remember what it was. I do remember that my vision had dimmed again, my ears were ringing, and I'd made 5 trips to the bathroom to pee since he'd arrived. Whatever I said prompted him to explain that he'd waited so long to ask me out because he didn't want to be one of those creeps who asked me out in the restaurant, but finally he realized that there was no other place to ask me out because Dalton wasn't having another party until Christmas and just showing up someplace where he knew I'd be seemed even more creepy. So, that's how our story begins.

I'll tell you more of our story later, like how I knew I wanted to marry him, the time he kept that really big secret, and other important or insignificant tales.


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those that came here yesterday from PW's site. I fell in love with yours instantly and will be visiting daily from now on. I'm sorry to be posting "anonymously", but I can't seem to get it to post any other way. My name's Jayme - and I'll be back!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm another that came from PW's site. And I've added you to my favorite's list. So I'll be back too. Anxious to read more. I'll post as anomymous because I don't have a google acct. I am Margie. See ya tomorrow.