It was a warm May evening when I first laid eyes on Mike. I had attended a college group at church earlier and a group of us went to a drive-in afterwards to hang out. Mike was the brother of one of the guys in my new group of friends. I thought Mike was really cute. My friend Ruthy told me that he was going to be a social worker. I figured that he must be a compassionate guy. Good quality to have right? Then I found out he played college soccer. Even better. I always loved soccer players. He was ticking a lot of boxes for me.
I decided to introduce myself to him. Trust me, that was out of my comfort zone. I had never had a boyfriend, and never been kissed at that point in my life. I found out that he was a really nice guy. He lived in a town about an hour away and was driving into the city several days a week for soccer practice and games before starting school again in the fall.
It wasn't all sunshine and roses, however. I was nineteen years old and not quite, shall we say, mature. I had one of my crazy friends visiting. She wanted to show me how much fun it is to ride on the roof of a car. So we took turns spinning around in the parking lot with one of us riding on the roof. I know. Not smart. Mike didn't think so either. He tells me now that he thought "she's hot, but too immature."
Luckily, he saw past the foolish antics and we became friends. I saw him about once a week after his soccer practices at his brother's house where a large group of us gathered for Bible study. We would stay up talking until all hours of the night. Yes, talking. He then would have the hour drive back home and would have to work the next day. Sometimes we would still be talking at 4 or 5 in the morning. Poor guy. It is amazing how little sleep you need when you like someone.
I began to get quite frustrated in the fall. He had moved into the city for school by this time.I really liked him. But, I was afraid he just thought of me as a buddy. Sometimes I would get an inkling that he liked me, but he would never act on it. We were still hanging out a lot, mostly in groups and we still talked late into the night. I attended several of his soccer games. One thing I have learned over the past decade is that guys are not into subtle hints. Forget that, guys aren't into obvious hints either.
In January, we went snowboarding. We had done this several times before, but this time was different. It was just the two of us. I was thrilled. I decided to try snowboarding for the first time on this occasion. I know how to ski fairly well, but as Mike snowboarded, I figured I could give it a shot. It was raining at the ski hill. For those of you who are familiar with skiing/snowboarding, you know that rain + skihill = ICE. I kept falling. Hard. I smacked my head a few times. But, I was stubborn and determined to board like a pro by the end of the day. I would get going and then hit an edge which would send me flying. Mike was quite concerned and he kept trying to give me his helmet. Stubbornly, I refused. When I talk to him about it now he thinks that I wouldn't wear it because it would look dumb. Not true. I wouldn't wear it because I was afraid of breaking it.
Anyways, at one point, I took a particularly nasty fall and landed right on my face. My nose started bleeding. Tears came. Mike came up to me and wiped the hair off of my face. That is when I knew he liked me, and that he wanted to be more than just friends. I can still remember the feel of his hand on my face pushed my hair away. He called an end to our snowboarding. I had a concussion and threw up in the parking lot. He bought me Tylenol and Pepto-Bismol. Very romantic stuff.
From that day onward, things were a bit different.
To be continued...