Wednesday, August 01, 2007

In the Beginning

e.b. suggested that I write a post about my first date with Deano. While our first date was memorable, in my opinion it is worth it to preface the date with just how we got there…

Dean and I met in August of 1998 when we were both sophomores at the University of Minnesota. I had just moved in to my first apartment in Dinkytown with three other girls. I had met up with Amanda in freshman composition class and we are still very close almost ten years later. She needed a roommate and we seemed to really hit it off. As for the other two we picked up along they, that’s a different post entirely. Similarly, Dean had just moved into a large house with eight other guys. My roommates already knew Dean from the dorms, where they all shared the same circle of friends (in fact Amanda was dating one of the guys in the house). As a group, us girls would often go to the house and hang out with the guys. You could count on it to get rowdy and out of control and still some of my favorite memories are of those times. In general, I look back so fondly on my college days (much more so than high school), but unfortunately I don’t have time to address everything today. For some reason, I always gravitated towards Dean at those get togethers; he was always so sweet and funny. He never brought any girls over, and despite my sporadic and failed relationships, I rarely mixed the guys I saw with the boys I liked to just hang out with. Maybe because I felt more comfortable with those guys than any of the guys that would try to be my boyfriends. And the few times I did, I received unbearable flack from my “protectors”. So on the evenings when we would all just hang out, towards the end of the night when people would pair off, Dean and I would sit and flirt and drink and talk about baseball and music and life.

This casual friendship continued for well over a year. Things changed in December of 1999. I clearly remember having all the guys over to our apartment for the Vikings-Packers game and getting a phone call from the guy I was sort of dating at the time. I was sitting in my room talking to him on the phone with my door open so I wouldn’t miss any of the game or any of the social action. (In retrospect, it was pretty obvious I wasn’t into this guy.) But as the phone call continued I was paying more attention to Dean and Amanda, who were deep in conversation. I was feeling a little indignant because Dean usually had these introspective conversations with me. Not her. But they kept looking in my direction I can’t even tell you what my then-suitor and I were talking about, I just remember the looks on Amanda’s and Dean’s faces while they were talking.

Later, Amanda pulled me aside and told me what she and Dean had been discussing. She told me that Dean had confessed to her that he had feelings for me, but he worried I didn’t feel the same way. Very honestly, the thought had occurred to me, but I was frightened I would break his heart. I was very unsure of exactly what I wanted out of anyone and Dean wasn’t someone whose feelings I could take lightly.

I spent the next several days agonizing over that conversation with Amanda. I ditched the boy on the phone that night. And I decided I wanted to kiss Dean at midnight, during Amanda’s New Years Eve party. Her parents had everyone over for a celebration and at 11:54, I asked Dean if he would kiss me for New Years. And at midnight, he did. While everyone else celebrated the new year, we pondered what this meant for us. A couple minutes into 2000, he asked me on a date. And I said yes.

So after that story, our first actual date doesn’t seem quite as romantic, but I owe it to e.b. to share what it was. On January 5th, we went to the Gopher basketball game. I was alone in the apartment on winter break and it had snowed all day long. Neither of us had a car on campus, so he picked me up on foot in a parka and together we trudged through the six or so inches of snow through Dinkytown to Taste of Manhattan pizza on Washington Avenue. We had slices of pizza and each shared memories of when we had been to New York. I was wearing a dark blue v-neck sweater and jeans. He wore his trademark button down plaid shirt and khakis. Then we walked up 4th Street to the Barn and watched the Gophers beat the Wolverines. Even then we knew it was much more than a first date, we knew it was the start of a long journey together. I don’t think either of us could have predicted where it would take us, just that we wanted to do it together.

Now almost eight years later I was happy to think about the early days of our relationship again. There are so many things that we do that just kind of blend in with the other ordinary memories but it’s amazing how we remember the most monumental moments of our lives, the ones we knew would change everything.

10 comments:

Runner Girl FL said...

YEA!! Deano is the best! I love that story. Your Kids will love that story. Maybe not the 100th time but the 1,000,000th they will. :)

Scott said...

That was a nice story, Nat. I too recall my finest memories from college. No other time in life is so free. You don't go home to parents, as wonderful as they can be -- but you are totally free to make up your own mind with only yourself to answer to. I think it's extra special that you came away from the epic saga with the man you were to marry.

e.b. said...

Awwww I love that story - especially where you decided to kiss him! I think the 1st date was romantic and cute, given the weather especially. But really it was special because it was the two of you.

MyUtopia said...

Sounds like you guys have been together as long as my husband and I have been together. Great story, thanks for sharing.

greensunflower said...

I like this story. I like the stories for friends turned lovers turned spouses. Having a good husband is a must in life and I think you might have done it.

Amanda said...

Yippeeeee! I made the blog! And what a great story! As a roommate, I had been waiting for MB and Deano to hook up for a while. But I think we all knew it wasn't ever just going to be a "hook up." There was something more to the connection they had - and still have today.

Of all the relationships that came and went through those college years, Deano and MB stayed strong. Looking back, they did it right. No crazy drunken hook ups. No high school baggage. No staying in a relationship because of fear, peer pressure, whatever. They just simply enjoyed each others company and that grew into a once in a lifetime relationship. I have long admired their relationship and now, as MB is getting ready to head back to her “home” after the summer in MN, that still holds strong. I consider myself lucky to have been a part (is integral cog to strong?) of their relationship from the beginning. And while it doesn’t happen often enough, the nights out my husband and I are able to have double dates with them, are some of the best.

Ok enough mush --- when are you going to tell the roommate stories from 1301? We could write a book…or how about you just blog about it!

Katie said...

That's such a sweet story :)

jenbeauty said...

awwww, I love good stories like this!!

HUGS for making me smile!

fermicat said...

Thanks for sharing this - great story.

magnetbabe said...

Thanks everyone for chiming in! I knew you all would appreciate that story and I enjoyed sharing it. Pretty much everyone from my real life knows it, so it was good to have an excuse to tell you all how we met.

amanda is right, though sometimes I wonder if my memory plays tricks on me that I felt there was always something special between Dean and me. I like to think it was there all along, and if she agrees with me, I'll stick with it! I would love to share more college memories, and maybe sometime soon I will (though they may need to be edited for content...).

I also like what greensunflower had to say because dating a friend and letting it slowly blossom into a lifelong companionship is an absolutely amazing experience. I went into the relationship initially with my guard lowered and didn't have to worry about just being me, it was always there. Some people love the feel of first dates with people they just met, but I always hated them. I think we did it perfectly. :)