Chapter One: Barefeet and Bubble Gum
One of our first dates was to a Padre's game. Photo circa 2005
I’ve known my husband for nine years now and somehow everything and nothing seems crazy about Scott being my husband. When I think of the fact that twelve years ago I was eating my lunch alone in the stacks of my high school library wondering if I would ever meet anyone beyond my family who would truly know me, everything about it seems crazy. But when I think about how nature is the avenue we both use to understand this world, how living life and loving our families are our first priorities and how we both enjoy simple pleasures like riding bikes, drinking beer and eating burritos (and apparently things that start with the letter b), nothing seems crazy about it.
We met down by the beach, as you might have imagined. We were at a mutual friend’s birthday party located in the small garage of a weathered beach house. There was a keg of beer, a ping pong table and about ten other party guests engaged in drinking games. It was a clear, invigorating January night and damp salty wind snuck through the cracks in the garage. I was in my sophomore year at The University of San Diego and he was in his at San Diego State. Our interests weren’t too far off from what they are now.
The first thing I noticed about him was his face. I think I lost my breath a little when he walked in, even though I pretended not to notice him. The second thing I noticed was that he wasn’t wearing any shoes, despite the cold. One of the first things he noticed about me was my wetsuit tan. The contrast between my tan hands and white winter arms was pretty obvious and proved to be the perfect topic for our first conversation.
A few minutes after Scott and his roommate Mark arrived, my roommate Kate and I got a phone call letting us know that our friend was having a party at his house out by San Diego State. We prepared to leave, but in order to exit the garage we would have to walk by Scott and Mark, who were nonchalantly standing in the doorway.
Mark was tall and had thick brown curls that fell around his happy face. He stood about two or three inches taller than Scott who I estimated to be around six feet. Scott had short sand colored hair and a narrow build all the way up to his shoulders, which were broad. As I passed him, we made eye contact. He said hi, and I, pretending to have just noticed him, said hi back. His eyes were gold and green and kind. They looked like eyes that saw the good in the world and held onto it.
After a few minutes of talking, he reached down and gently clasped my wrist in his right hand, lifting it closer to his eyes. He made a cute remark about how I must be a surfer to have such awesome tan lines, but just as we got to talking about surfing, my other friends pulled up in the alley to take Kate and I out to SDSU. Scott asked where we were going and I quickly explained that we were headed to a party out at State. He had miraculously heard of the same party and, although he and Mark had a fun night of burning CD’s planned (a detail I learned later), he said they would try to meet up with us and took my number.
Scott called about an hour later. I was too nervous to answer and threw my phone at my friend Stephanie who kindly answered and explained where we were and how to get there. When he arrived to the party, I’m not even sure I went to the door to greet him and the three roommates he had brought along, either because I was too nervous or I was trying to act cool (probably both). I found him soon after and we sat on the couch. People around us were drinking straight out of wine bags and dancing to pop music, but I couldn’t tell you much else about the party since Scott had captured my focus. I had gum in my mouth and kept blowing bubbles (nerves again. That, or I was just an obnoxious college girl) as our conversation jumped from surfing to school to life. He made a comment about my gum.
**Please brace yourself for my corniest/craziest/creepiest (but most successful) pickup line ever.
And I said, “I bet I can blow a bubble in your mouth.” And I did. And then we kissed for three hours until his roommates pulled him away to go home. No lie.
Kissing him made every part of me feel alive. We were simply drawn to each other like magnets. I felt as though we kept kissing to hold on to the happiness we found in one another. I felt I could see through him to something pure and exceptional; to something awakening that I’d never encountered in any other experience in my life.
I went to sleep that night with three of my roommates in a queen size bed lying awake not because of discomfort, but because every part of who I was had been awakened.