Four score and seven years ago…. Eighteen years and four days ago a woman asked me out on a date and I said YES. And before you get all excited thinking I’m sharing a bit of sordid history here, you should know the woman was a graduate school friend of mine, and she wasn’t asking me to go on a date with HER because she was already married, to a guy. Rather, she was trying to nudge another classmate of mine, a young, hot Spanish Guy (only it turns out he wasn’t really Spanish), into asking me out.
Spanish Guy had tickets to a baseball game. There we were, this gang of friends and classmates, hanging out in the Ratskeller, having drinks and talking after class and Spanish Guy happens to mention these baseball tickets. He had an extra ticket, did anyone want to go to the game with him?
I do! I do! Pick me. PULEEEEESE PICK ME, PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME, I screamed in my head. But it felt like middle school gym class all over again. Who, out of the group of us sitting around that table, would be chosen to be on Spanish Guy’s team, to get to go that baseball game with him?
I held my breath, the wait was excruciating. It was baseball, after all, a guy’s sport. Mark expressed interest in the tickets. I was certain he was going to pick Mark, I wouldn’t even be given a second thought. Damn you, Mark, I thought.
Because, you see, I had a thing for Spanish Guy. A crush, I guess you’d say. But I had it bad. I’d had it since the very first day of my very first class in graduate school, from the very first moment I laid eyes on him. I about broke my face smiling at him whenever I saw him, but trying not to smile too much, lest I seem like some kind of smiling freak. But up until that night at the Rat, Spanish Guy seemed rather nonchalant, like it didn’t matter to him if I was around or not.
But then Karen intervened. She told Spanish Guy to take me to the game. Or she told me that I should go to the game with Spanish Guy. She told Mark to buy his own damn tickets if he wanted to go to a baseball game. Honestly, it’s been 18 years, my memory is a little fuzzy on some of the details. But to make a long story short, in the end, IT WAS ME! I GOT PICKED! I was the CHOSEN ONE! I was on the team!
A few days later Spanish Guy came by my house and picked me up for our date. I was sporting new clothes, having labored over my wardrobe, nervously hoping to look my best. Hoping with all my might to pass some sort of worthiness test. Spanish Guy’s brother, and his friends, and his brother’s friends would be at the game, and I really wanted them to like me. To think that I, a GIRL, was worthy of sitting in that stadium seat next to Spanish Guy.
I don’t remember which major league team won that particular game. But if you’re keeping score, you should know that I won. That baseball game was the first date of many, which eventually gave way to that old childhood song: Belle and Spanish Guy, sitting in a parking garage at graduate school, K.I.S.S.I.N.G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage. It’s been 18 years since that first date, baby, almost 8 years since the baby carriage, and yes, I’d do it all again. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Even though I learned that you weren’t really Spanish after all.