Fifteen Years

"I could runaway, but I'd rather stay in the warmth of your smile lighting up my day, the one that makes me say heh, 'cuz you're the best thing that ever happened to me or my world."-Paul Weller

Fred and I have a tendency to forget our wedding anniversary. However, it is impossible for us to forget our real anniversary.

I am always hesitant to answer when people ask how we met because it sounds so much more scandalous than it actually was. "I dated his roommate," I reply and quickly add, "but I had broken up with the roommate long before we started dating."

Fred has it a bit easier. He talks about how he moved to Chicago and was living with this guy with whom he became really good friends, how that guy started dating this girl who was going to school in another state, and how that girl would call up and leave twenty minute long messages on the answering machine which would entertain them both.

Where our stories converge is on New Year's Eve 1993. Or, to be more precise, a few weeks before New Year's Eve when I called up Fred (who, by that time, had moved back to Minneapolis) and invited him to the New Year's Eve party I was planning. Now, I should note, I invited everyone I met to this party. I had hatched the idea of throwing a gigantic party while I was still in school and terrified that I would lose touch with all the people I knew. I figured, if people planned to attend my party, they would be forced to remain friends with me after I graduated.

So Fred came down to Chicago and stayed with us, along with a bunch of my college friends, and we had a connection. At least, I thought we had a connection. We had been friends for a couple of years at this point and while I had always found him to be very cute, I had never really considered him boyfriend material because 1) he was way too nice and 2) he was so not interested in me. But, this time, I thought he was sending out "I am interested" signals. And I responded by engineering a clever scheme involving lipstick to get him to kiss me before midnight (at least, I thought it was clever, but, in retrospect, it probably wasn't, though it did succeed). Then he kissed me at midnight. The way this has been described by observers was that Fred was going around kissing everyone full on the mouth and then they noticed that he was still kissing me.

And that was that.

Okay, so there was that rough patch, at first, where he said he was just being friendly and didn't mean anything by it and I slunk off to the bathroom and cried to Maria. I blame that bit on all the champagne we were drinking. Obviously, we worked it out eventually.

Fifteen years sortof flew by. Some days, I still feel like that tipsy twenty-one year old trying to steal a kiss.


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