Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Last First Date Part 3

My Green Eyes

And so it went....

We had too much fun with one another not to hang out and it always seemed we had schedules perfectly timed to fit in a lunch at the MSC or do laundry at the Jot 59 or Wild and Wooly Wednesdays at Double Dave's Pizza.  I still thought of him as a friend and I so enjoyed hanging out with him.  He was funny, interesting, and it never felt awkward to be with him.  We liked so many of the same things and we had become such good friends. 

Throughout those first weeks, I was really digging into student life at Texas A&M and had no trouble being by myself now.  Now it was a choice to go and do rather than being by myself because I had no choice.  I had groups of friends from Fish Camp and groups of friends from my sorority and groups of friends from my dorm.  It was how I always pictured college life.  I was not interested in dating although a guy had caught my eye from my Fish Camp.  His name was Grey.  He would stop by my dorm window to chat if it was open or would walk me to class a few times.  It always seemed strange, forced, and the conversation was hard.  I always was relieved when Patrick came around or asked me to games.  Our friendship was so very easy.  I liked being with him and it felt right. 

I remember Patrick's very first compliment to me.  Our conversations were usually not too serious and we always joked with one another.  I would learn very quickly that Patrick didn't give out compliments just to give them out. He did not try to flatter with his words and he means what he says. He is not a man of a huge amount of words but you know exactly how he feels.  He has a hard time hiding what his face reveals.  We were deep in conversation when out of the blue, he stopped and said, "I love your beautiful blue eyes."  Nothing romantic, just stating a fact.  In our not-giving-an-inch usual way, I stated a fact back, "They're green."  Without missing a beat, without an apology, without him being embarassed he replies in the same tone, "I love your beautiful green eyes."  His smile says it all; he's funny.  Still is. 

It wasn't until I realized others thought he was funny, did it start to change  how I felt about my "friend."  I was never truly a jealous person.  I never really cared about anyone in a way that I would be jealous.  I have green eyes, but I'm not a green person.  Wasn't a green person.

I knew Patrick's schedule on certain days because we were always meeting to eat lunch, study, or head off campus.  One day, close to where I knew his next class was, I decided to cut him off and say hello.  I still rememer it was in G. Rollie White Stadium, second floor, top of the side stairs. I was a little early, knew he wouldn't be surprised although he wouldn't be expecting me, climbed the stairs and waited outside his classroom for a quick hello.  It didn't take long until students began coming up the stairwell and filing into the classroom.  Student after student but no Patrick.  Thinking maybe he was not going to class for some reason, I began to gather my backpack and things from the floor and I heard voices.  I continued to gather my stuff and listened as the voices got closer.  Then there was giggling.  Talking, but lots of giggling.  The voices were muted through the stairwell, but there was no mistaking the voice.  Patrick was coming up those stairs.  But so was the girl attached to the giggling voice.  Whatever he had said, she thought it to be the funniest thing ever.  They topped the stairs and he immediately caught my eye.  Not a second glance back, he smiled and headed my way.  The girl, obviously disappointed, said something about seeing him in class....with a quick nonchalant wave, his eyes were on mine.  And that smile, I had grown to love. 

I'm not really sure what happened that day.  But it changed.  I knew he was funny.  I realized now, others knew he was funny too.  I didn't like her knowing he was funny.  I didn't like him being funny with her now that I think about it.  This was my bud, my friend, my hang out guy.... My green eyes were suddenly greener than they had been.      

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Last First Date Part 2

Not one dance


I'm not quite sure how our "second date" actually came about.  I don't remember the first week of school and I don't remember how we made plans to meet up as a group and go boot scootin', but I DO remember how excited I was.  Two steppin' was my most favorite thing to do in college and I hadn't done much of it at all in the first year at Texas A&M.  In fact, I hadn't done much of anything my first year at A&M.


I started my college career with too many ties back home.  The people I knew were 6 hours away.  Far enough to have a hard time getting home especially without a car.   My roommate was an upper classman and never "home."  I spent most of my first year in my dorm room, by myself.  The girls in my hall had all pledged sororities, most were upperclassmen, and all had lives.  They were busy.  I wasn't.  I went to class, the cafeteria, study groups.  That was it.  It was a very challenging year for me.  I was coming off of a busy high school exsistence.  Lots of clubs.  Lots of activities.  Lots of friends.  I was miserable in college.  I was deparately lonely.  I think, looking back on that one year, especially the first semester, it was possibly the loneliest I had ever been.  I spent weekends in my room and weeknights in the library.  I had even applied to LSU for the spring semester, was accepted, and had a dorm assignment.  I wanted my home.  I wanted my life back.  I wanted to be busy again.  


I was not a Believer in college but looking back, God's Hand was all over my path, even then.  I see that now. And I am thankful.  It would be a long time before I would come to know Him, but He loved me and He knew I would be sitting here.   


Somehow, before I left for Christmas break, I met a friend.  She was the one God used to keep me put.  She was the one who picked me up out of my pit and walked beside me the rest of my freshman year.  She introduced me to new people, taught me to sew, brought me to her house and cooked me meals and more importantly, introduced me to boot scootin'.  She signed me up for Aggie Wranglers, found me a dance partner, and drove me to lessons.  I fell in love.  It was the most fun you could have in College Station, and the best part, her friendship was enough to convince me to giveTexas A&M another shot.  By the end of my second semester, I had been chosen as a Fish Camp Counselor, had a new group of friends, and I met Patrick Fitzgerald.  


Going dancing on a Friday night with a big group of friends was exactly what I had in mind for an end to a great first week of my sophomore year of school.  Going in a group assured me plenty of friends to two step with, girls to hang out with, and no one to assume we were on a "date."  I felt like a bird let out of my cage my sophomore year of school.  I knew so many more people, I was in a new dorm, I had pledged a sorority, and my ties back home were not my focus.  


Patrick was in the group of friends, a mixture of new sorority sisters and some Corps boys.  Everyone had on their Rocky Mountains and Justin ropers, but my favorite, the guys in their cowboy hats.  Waiting in line to get in, I found myself next to Patrick.  He and I were joking around together and laughing.  We were talking about the first week and all that had gone on since we last talked.  It was still easy.  I liked talking to him, but there was still no draw to him for anything other than a friend.  In fact, I recognized another guy friend up in line that night.  I excused myself from our group and went up in line to chat with him.  I hadn't seen him since the previous semester. We had taken Aggie Wranglers together, gone on a few dates, enjoyed Sunday afternoons at Research Park with his dog, Image.  I distinctly remember Patrick's statement when I finally returned to our group, "You can go on ahead up there with him if you want to."  I was so taken off guard at the slightest hint of seriousness in his tone.  Once I caught his eye, however, his joking smile was there and we laughed, but I never forgot the way his statement sounded.  Whatever I thought I heard, I remember thinking that I was not in this to find a boyfriend and hoping I was wrong about his tone.  (We still laugh at this memory and he admits, he already like me at this point but would never have given me the satisfaction of letting it show.) We talked all the way in, talked as we settled in on two stools off to the side, and talked for the rest of the night.  Good songs would come and go and he never asked me to dance.  I so badly wanted to two step....but he never asked.  We laughed and joked and talked some more, but he never once asked me to dance.  


I danced a couple of times that night with some friends that were there and some from our group, but for the most part, I sat and talked and wondered why he didn't want to dance.  I wanted to talk, but I wanted to dance more.   The couples dancing went around and around, passing the very spot that I sat, almost as if taunting me.  I remember Garth Brooks, I Got Friends in Low Places, came on.  Ugh.  I wanted to dance.  As we talked, in the background I could hear the soft shuffling of boots on the dusty dance floor.  I remember feeling frustrated that night.  Not so much with the time I spent with him, but with the songs that came and went.  I felt awkward leaving him there each time I went to dance.  He explained that he couldn't two step well and I'm sure we joked about it.  I know I was bummed. 


Our night ended without one dance together.  I knew so much more about him, still thought he was a neat guy, and he was, looked fantastic in a cowboy hat and Wranglers,  but not one dance.  We parted ways  in the parking lot and I climbed into my girlfriend's car and we drove back to campus.  I thought about my night the whole way.  I knew that we would be friends, but that would probably be the last time we would go "dancing" together.  In my opinion, at that moment, life was too short not to dance.         

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Last First Date

My last first date was 21 years ago to the day...and almost to the time as I sit here and type. 

September 1, 1991 I was having a make-up first date with a guy I had been talking to over the summer and who I had known the spring semester of my freshman year.  I say "make-up" date because I was trying to make up to him for the fact that I had canceled on him the night before.  It had been bid day, August 31, 1991, and I had just pledged Tri Delta. My new "sisters" wanted to go out to celebrate.  It sounds bad, I know, but this was not a guy I thought I would be interested in beyond a friend to hang out with, so I didn't think it would be too bad to cancel and reschedule for a lunch the next day.  Beside, in my mind, a "lunch" was more for a friendship anyway, so it would work out great.

He picked me up from my dorm room and we drove in his white Escort to Rita's, a TexMex restaurant in College Station.  I still remember that I wore a white short set and he had on a pair of shorts and a polo.  I remember his car was hot, his air conditioning was broken and in the middle of the TX summer, it's kind of a big deal.  I kidded him that I might not hang out with him again, because I didn't like to sweat on dates.  He laughed and joked that he wasn't going to hang out with me again anyway so we were good.  We laughed.  It was just easy.  His radio was broken too so he had the Steve Miller band playing in his cassette...over and over and over.  I told him he was lucky I liked Steve Miller; he said I was lucky he liked me.  We laughed again. 

We talked from when he picked me up until he dropped me off.  It was not strange, I was not nervous, and there were no awkward pauses in our conversation.  He was a guy I already knew.  We had spoken all summer, shared information about our families, how we grew up, things we liked.  I already knew so much about him.  We talked as if we had been friends forever.  He was cute, but I seriously just liked him.  He was funny, interesting, and had a great quirk about him.  We joked with one another, laughed at the same things, and never once gave the other an inch.  It was fun.

When he took me back to my room, my new sisters were outside, so he and I parted ways without really any plans to see one another again, at least officially.  Walking away, my sisters asked who that was and commented on how cute he was.  I kind of shrugged, laughed it off, and told them he was just a friend, good guy, but just a friend. 

What I should have said was, "Oh, him?  He was my last first date."