Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How it all started

Our first date, he took me to a tattoo parlor.

Really.

It was right after Christmas break from my sophomore year of college, this soldier walks into my life. Quite unexpectedly but immediately I was intrigued. His family was a member of the church that my childhood best friend's father was a pastor at, in my hometown. It was literally days before I loaded the car back up to head back to Austin and I was not looking to meet anyone. My freshman year of college was tough. I was a small town girl in a very strange and new city and my heart was shredded by my high school sweetheart. To say that the past year was difficult is putting it lightly. However I finally had a talk with myself after the fall semester and decided that it was time to make it work. Whatever I had to do, I was done being unhappy. I had also just finished reading "He's just not that into you" so was on this heightened, woman power, trip.

Sgt. was stationed about an hour and a half from my school at the time, and our original plans to meet up in Austin were ousted by a freak ice storm accompanied by some snow. If it snows in central Texas, things are shut down and water is stock piled, we're not always sure what to do about it. Sgt. was driving back into Austin to pick up his car from the airport after helping a buddy make a drive down and told me he would call me when he got to town, "maybe we could get some coffee", I believe was the sentence. It was the same day the girls were moving back into the dorm and as an advisor I had the priority of greeting people and helping haul clothes up the stairs (my dorm was only three floors, and was built in 1921, it was much quicker and probably safer to use the stairs than it was to use the elevator.) Then the ice storm began. Normally I would've thought "no way is this guy going to call" but to be really honest, I wasn't thinking much about him at all until I got back to my room that afternoon. There was a message on my answering machine. "Hey K.J. this is Sgt. I was just in town and wanted to see if you wanted to go get that coffee but I guess you're busy so hopefully I'll talk to you later on, have a great day!"

"He sounds cute!" states my room mate. "Doesn't he?" I believe was the extent of my reply. He'll call back if he's interested. Later on that evening I was online and he hops on. "I called you, did you get my message?" "yep, I did, sorry I missed ya! Was running all over the place" "oh no problem, so are you available now?" "umm... yeah sure!" I honestly wasn't exactly sure what we would talk about but I let him call none the less. That first night he called, we talked for over four hours. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I think the only reason we got off the phone that night was because he had PT the next morning and said he needed "at least a couple hours" of sleep. That was it. For the next week and a half we talked every chance we got. He would call me on his lunch hour or send me a good morning text before PT and at night, I would forgo the Sex and The City marathon going on with my best friends in my room and I would camp out in the hallway in my disc chair with a blanket and phone in hand. Every night we would talk for hours about anything, about everything, and I was in awe that he could even hold a conversation for that long. Most of the guys I had the pleasure of dating over the last year were usually asking me if I was at the Fiji party last weekend or if I had ever tried a Jagger bomb. Sgt. was asking me about my childhood, asking me about my dreams for my future. We decided to try a second time for our first date. We made plans for him to come down that Friday and have dinner. The idea was that we would pick somewhere that had live music since he had yet to experience that in Austin, however things didn't work out quite like that. He called me as he was leaving post, he got off right during rush hour, and had to fight traffic all the way into Austin. The hour and a half drive was over 2. When he called to let me know he was about to exit, my stomach began to tie into knots. Never mind that the past hour and a half I have been reapplying lip gloss, shaking my leg at my desk and making the short walk to the bathroom down the hall every 15 min. I was nervous. I had butterflies. I had a secret code worked out with my room mate so she could let me know what she thought of him. I wouldn't let him know any of that though.

He finally arrived and when I walked out to meet him a huge smile crossed my face and I hugged him. We went up to my room to get my coat, mostly we went up so my room mate could get a look at him and as we walked out the door she said "I love that jacket hon!" - Sgt. passed the coded test :). We made small talk in the car and tried to find a place to eat. The first place we stopped we went inside, looked at the menu, and decided we weren't in the mood for sandwiches. The second place we stopped was closed. Try for a third. I am out of ideas but off in the distance Sgt. spots a small little sushi joint "What do you think?" "Sure! Why not?" He pulls up to park and as I'm getting ready to open the door Sgt. says "If you wait one second, I'll get that for you" I believe I let out a short and girlish "ok" and he made his way over to be a gentleman.

We ordered sushi and this being only my second time to try it (despite my insistence that I loved sushi when he suggested it) I had no idea what to order, so he took care of that. We sit down and the waitress asked us if either of us would like a fork, "yes, please" "no, she doesn't want one, she can use chop sticks" - ummm, what? I let the man teach me how to use chopsticks and the fact that he was able to saved him a serious talking to about ordering my own silverware. (I am in fact, much better at using them now than he is... hahahaha) The conversation at dinner was great! I coyly smiled and played a little hard to get, we flirted... and then he made me eat fish eggs. I wasn't going to be the girl that wasn't willing to try anything so when he asked I agreed to it, he told me to just put the whole thing in my mouth and when I did, I immediately wanted to spit it back out. UGH.... my gag reflex was in full force and I had to hold a napkin in front of my mouth in order to chew with my mouth open. I did however, eat it and not spit it out in front of him.

As we finished up dinner and walked outside, Sgt. awkwardly reached for my hand. I smiled and for the all of ten steps it took to get to the car, we held hands for the first time :).

After that we weren't sure where to go next, but we didn't want the night to end. As we were driving around I brought up a conversation from earlier in the week about him wanting another tattoo. Like I said earlier, I was from a small town and had never even been INSIDE a tattoo parlor, let alone watch one done... I was curious. He was a little worried. It took me a while to convince him that I wasn't trying to test him by suggesting a ridiculous date event. We finally found one that was open and I proceeded to tell him to make sure he really wanted to do this, after all, tattoos are permanent and I didn't want him doing it to just impress me. He assured me that wasn't the case so for the next couple hours I sat there watching and we talked. Strange I know, but it was and still is the best first date I've ever been on. It wasn't boring, and the company couldn't be beat!

After the tattoo we went back to the car and he started it up. We were waiting for the heater to warm up when he looked at me and said "I really want to kiss you, can I kiss you?" I looked over at him, smiled, he smiled and then I said "nope."

"what?"
"haha, no"
"but... why?"
"because... you can't ask for a kiss, you just have to take it."

He seemed satisfied with that answer and drove the ten minutes back to the dorm. He insisted on walking me to the door, even though it was freezing outside and my extended offer of him being able to stay in the car. "No, I'm walking you to the door because you deserve at the very least that and any man who doesn't walk you to the door does not deserve a second date... promise me that, ok?" He did walk me to the door and after the awkward key fumbling and seventh "goodnight, I had a great time" he did it. He took his kiss. And I floated back up to my room.

From there it was a movie night, a date night, a pulling the car over because he can't wait another second to kiss me, a few "lets cook dinner together", lots of Starbucks, at least 10 surprise chocolate covered coffee beans just because, one "will you be my date to Cav. Ball", a thousand "you are so beautiful"'s, a few tears, countless smiles and laughs, 3 airplane terminal goodbye's, one baggage claim hello, one surprise hello, 3 flower deliveries, 15 care packages, one "I don't think this will work", a couple "I was an idiot"'s, 1 WLC, 1 Germany, 1 Iraq, 2 FOB's, leave, a thousand pictures and a million "I am so crazy about you"'s - I can't help but dream about how many other numbers and memories we will be adding in the future.

There is no other man in the entire world I would rather be with and the smile that crosses my face, and my heart, when even just his name is mentioned, is a testament to how happy he makes me. Every day with him in my life is like taking a deep breath of fresh air... it replenishes the soul. I can't wait to get him home!!!

4 comments:

Whennrome

aww I love your second to last paragraph. And that you described the texan's freak out to any sign of regular winter weather. In college I saw two big freezes, and 1 snow on christmas eve. Miracles, if you ask me. Very sweet story.

And my son will be raised with those values come hell or high water, or my daughter will learn to expect them. That is if I am fortunate enough to have either.

Lindsay aka Corn

I agree. Love the second to last paragraph!

What a great story, no wonder you can't wait for the next chapter to start!

SidLovely

loved the story, and I also loved your second to last paragraph...you always have a really creative way of putting things.

Everyone has been writing their "how we met" stories, so maybe I'll have to post mine soon.

Jrzy Army Wife

That's an amazing story. I love listening to people tell their first date stories.. they always make me smile... as did yours.