My husband, Steve, is no stranger to the goings on at the Married Cat Lady. He’s often referenced in both ramblings and wake up calls. He’s also the best editor and reader I have. I decided that in honor of Valentine’s Day this week, I would tell the story of our lurrvee (or at least a piece of it).
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Steve and I met working at the park district day camp in college. We worked together for a few summers, but never talked all that much, unless he was offering pretzel rods to snack on. After Steve left the park district to work full time, I worked there for another summer or two.
Towards the end of one of those summers, I heard that Steve and his longtime girlfriend had broken up. This was interesting to me because I had always thought that Steve was cute—I specifically remember watching him go through the “Thriller” dance with his group of 10-14 year old boys for the day camp talent show, and thinking about how adorable he was with a Monster energy drink in his hand, wearing socks and Adidas sandals.
Our hometown has a big festival every summer—Ridge Fest—that we all used to go to, or at least go out for. That year, I was walking to my friend Katy’s house to prepare for the fest festivities. Of course, in preparation, I was also walking down the street with a case of beer. As my friend Mary and I toddled down the block to Katy’s, a blue Jeep pulled up next to us. In the blue jeep was a boy in a bright—and by bright, I mean blindingly fluorescent—green button down shirt.
“Hey Becca,” Steve slowed to a stop next to us, “what are you guys up to tonight?”
“Hey! We’re gonna head up to Desmond’s a little later. You should come up there!”
He thought for a second and then said, “Yeah, ok, I’m meeting some people now, but maybe we will.”
“Awesome! You should!” and I smiled a—hopefully—enchanting smile as he drove away.
Mary turned to me, a sly smile on her face. “You, know, I heard that Steve is interested in a piece of Becca.”
“What?! Seriously? Excellent,” I smiled thoughtfully. “How did you discover this?”
“Well…” she started, “after you mentioned that you always had a bit of a crush on him last week, I may have mentioned it to someone else…”
“Seriously?!” I exclaimed again, “If my arms weren’t occupied, I would punch you!”
Then she tried to run away from me and into Katy’s house.
Our night progressed and we went up to the bar. Steve and some of his friends came. I remember that he bought us a round of bombs, which we all appreciated, and made me like him a little more.
We decided that our next move should be back to my parents’ house to go swimming. Two of my girlfriends and one of Steve’s friends decided to take a cab back. I, on the other hand, decided that I did not want to get in the cab.
“I’m just going to walk,” I announced.
“Why? No. I don’t want to! I have heels on!” Mary scolded me.
“I’ll walk with you,” Steve shrugged.
Hook, line, and sinker! My clever plan worked.
“See? It’s fine. We’ll meet you guys there!”
Steve and I started our trek home—about a twenty minute walk—and I started telling him about my school (I’m a teacher IRL; have I mentioned that?). We were in the process of negotiating a new contract, and there were whisperings that we might go on strike.
“It just makes no sense to me!” I angrily explained to him. “How can they expect us to give the best for the kids, when they treat us like crap?” (Or something along those lines—it had been a long night already by this point.)
Steve likes to describe the walk home as “strategically listening to a hot girl drunkenly vent with the hopes that [his] investment would pay off.”
I should have known then that he was a keeper. He listened to me angrily shout about education all the way home, watched me do a cartwheel in the street, and then he kissed me under a streetlight. It was quite romantical, now that I look back at it. (Although Steve just informed me that he doesn’t think that was when we kissed the first time. But then why do I have that memory? Did I make it up?)
We finally arrived at my parents’ house, and crept into the backyard where our friends were already splashing about.
“Shut up! Jane and Fred will not appreciate it if you fools wake them up!” I whisper-shouted.
“It’s fine! Your mom was still up when we got here,” Mary countered, splashing water at us.
Steve and I joined the pool party, all of us giggling and swimming in our skivvies. At some point, my girlfriends went inside, bringing Steve’s friend in to lay down on the couch—and prevent him from walking into my sleeping parents’ bedroom—and Steve and I were alone again.
We kissed. And kissed some more. And then all of a sudden, the sun started coming up and birds started chirping.
“How did that happen?” I asked him.
“Honestly, I don’t know.”
“Well, I am an excellent kisser, so you may have been distracted by that,” I reminded him.
We got out of the pool, dried off, and Steve went to rouse his friend from the couch. I crawled into bed with my girlfriends, thankful that we had all called off work the next day.
Later on the next afternoon, Steve had to come back to my parents’ house to retrieve his fluorescent green shirt. I felt a little shy as he walked up the driveway. I wasn’t sure how I was feeling in the sober daylight. It didn’t help that he had this dorky, striped man-tank on.
“Hey,” I walked out to meet him and handed him his shirt.
“Thanks,” he said as he took it, “How are you feeling today?”
“Well, I haven’t left the couch except to get snacks.”
“Yeah, I’m in the same boat. Listen, did you find a pair of gym shoes, too? My friend thinks he might have left them here.”
“Yes, actually! I wasn’t sure where they came from. How did he leave without any shoes?”
“It’s not out of character,” he laughed and shrugged his shoulders.
We grabbed the shoes from the back porch, Steve left, and I returned to the couch to watch old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. And then, honestly, I didn’t think too much about our rendezvous for the rest of the day. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I’d had fun, sure, but it’s not like Steve and I were going to fall in love and get married…
— — — —
So this wasn’t the way Husband and I met per se, but it was definitely the start of it all.
I was originally going to write this as a timeline of a few events in this one post, but I’ve already rambled quite a bit, so I guess this is going to be the start of a series of posts about our lurrrvveeeee.