When I began to realize that my feelings for Mike were traveling to the ‘more than friends’ category, I did try to deny it. We were both seeing other people — I’d been dating Jason for FIVE years – that’s like eternity when you’re 20. Looking back, it seems like it happened over night, but the progression from just friends to “more than friends” was actually several months in the making.
Mike and I were both commuting to school (me from Olney, him from Champaign) and I remember first starting to realize that maybe my feelings for Mike were more than platonic when I began daydreaming about him on my commute home while listening to Trick Pony’s “Night Like This” on the radio. The refrain from the Trick Pony song is:
“It’s just what I need on a night like this
A long walk in the dark, someone I can’t resist
A little rendezvous, a little mystery
When I look at you I think that’s just what I need”
And I was thinking about Mike… uh oh.
But it gets worse. I’d be sitting in my Health Economics class and find myself staring out the door at the entrance to the men’s restroom. Mike always stopped into the bathroom when he arrived at school, so I knew if I was looking at the right moment, I’d see him, and maybe he’d smile or say hi. Ridiculous much?
I also found myself dressing nicer for school. Instead of my typical sweatpants and ponytail, I started donning jeans, sweaters, and makeup. Suddenly, there was a reason to look nice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One day, Mike missed school, and I was distraught. I was actually wearing Jason’s fraternity jersey that day and later was glad that Mike wasn’t there so he didn’t have to see me with Jason’s last name plastered on my back.
Because I had back-to-back classes all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I typically ate a healthy lunch of a Snickers bar between classes. I was dressed in a black skirt and striped top because I was responsible for teaching a lesson during my SOS Methods class that morning. Mike came around the corner to spot me leaning against the wall, chewing on a Snickers bar, with my backpack at my feet. He stopped in his tracks and said, “Wow. You look nice!” despite the fact I was inhaling a candy bar. I remember thinking, “huh, maybe he likes me too…”
Email is what allowed us to advance our relationship, giving us the option to type to each other on days that we didn’t see each other at school. On September 11, 2001, Mike and I had plenty of extra time to chat, as both of our classes were cancelled. Once we realized Dr. Shelton wasn’t going to show up for our second class, I asked for Mike’s email address. He wrote it on a blue post-it note that I still have.
This a layout from our wedding scrapbook. I started with our dating years and this is a mash-up of photos, ticket stubs, and memorabilia I collected during the early days of our relationship. The infamous post-it made the book (bottom left) and the title of this series also comes from a post card I found during those early days.
The next day, I sent Mike a forward from one of the many that were circulating regarding September 11. Seriously, I was so right-wing back then, he had to have found me endlessly amusing…
As I read through our first emails to each other (they are saved on a CD) I want to share some of them, but most of them just make me laugh. Mike and I were both totally ridiculous. Knowing him as I do now, I have no idea why he even started dating me… The quote in my signature in many of our first emails is “Tonight we are all Republicans” from the day Reagan was shot. ROFLMAO – Mike also taught me my first texting lingo during our first few exchanges, even though texting wasn’t popular yet, Mike was an online gamer and familiar with the terms.
Mike’s first email response,
“Thanks for the forward, cutie.
It would be nice if the rest of the world realized all that we do for them…
I know we had discussed going out for some grub after class one day, that still sound interesting to you?
To be continued…