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.