A few years ago, I made the Great Exodus from California to come to a place I swore up and down for years I would never end up. It wasn't really a choice, it was an act of desperation. I was getting over some Bad Things, and starting a new life. I was a MESS, y'all. I was alone, friendless, living with my aunt, her husband, and three adolescent cousins. I shared a room with a 11 year old girl and depended on the kindness of my family. I got a job, and my uncle would take me to and from work every day. In my off time, I read lots of books, smoked insane amounts of Marlboro Lights, and learned to love a good bottle of wine. I rarely spoke to anyone that was not a blood relative. i longed to go HOME, told myself my move was temporary, and cried myself to sleep most nights.
After several months, I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be returning "home" anytime soon. I saved up, had my car shipped across the country, and gained some measure of independence. I moved out of my aunts house and in to my younger sisters apartment. I had self-esteem again. I was still really shy and insecure, but I was healing. I chose to be alone for almost a year. I met people, I spent time with acquaintances and my sister and her friends, but I wasn't ready to befriend anyone in any way as I had lost my ability to trust people. I had absolutely NO interest in being in any kind of a romantic relationship AT ALL.
The people I worked with were wonderful. Eventually, I made friends. I smiled all the time. I was the office comedian. We were a tight knit group and I loved going to work every day. The company I worked for had two offices: the main one in Tallahassee, which is where I worked, and another location in Panama City. There was this guy from the PC office who used to work with everyone in Tallahassee. He would come to Tallahassee every now and then for work, and the whole office would get all twitterpated and make plans to go out for drinks with him after work. It annoyed me, I was like, "Who the hell is THIS guy, and why do you all care so much?" Everyone would tell me how cool he was, how he was smart and funny and decent and a little goofy. I would shrug and say things like, "Whatever. I mean, he's just some dude who used to work here, I don't see why y'all make such a big deal about him."
Then, one night, I went out to drinks with everyone. The Secret Crush developed. My friends and co-workers were right: this dude was SO COOL. Funny, smart, goofy, and adorable. It got to the point where I could barely speak when he would come around because I'd get so tongue tied. I'd have to hide out in my office trying desperately to stop blushing furiously every time he walked by. The day he showed up at our office in a Motorhead shirt, Chuck Taylors and a purple Mohawk, I couldn't even enter the room he was in....I accepted the fact that my little infatuation had turned into a GIGANTIC CRUSH. I could not even make eye contact with him. Fortunately, no one seemed to notice.
One afternoon a few weeks later, my boss was on the phone with someone, and she was sitting across from me, looking right at me, saying, "Yeah, I think she would. You should ask her. Here, let me put her on the phone. " Next thing I know, my secret crush is on the phone asking me if I'd like to go out to dinner some time. I of course said yes, and endured ruthless teasing from my co-workers about the seven shades of scarlet I turned for the rest of the workday.
We made plans to go for sushi a few weeks later. I was ridiculously nervous the night he came to pick me up; you see, it was April Fools Day, and in my still-fragile state, I was sure the whole thing was just a big joke on me. It wasn't. We had a lovely dinner, and followed it with drinks at a funky little bar. The conversation was amazing. I hadn't felt that good in a very long time.
Next thing I know, I wake up half naked on the floor of my bedroom with a trash can by my head. To make along story short, I really should NOT have had that third, fourth, or fifth glass of sake at dinner...not to mention those three double whiskey sours at the bar. Apparently, after showcasing my literary knowledge, wowing him with my cute outfit, and making him laugh using my witty conversational skills, I puked. Repeatedly. All over myself. And him, and his truck, and my car, and my house. Then I broke the shower curtain rod when trying to clean myself up in the shower and my sister said things to him like "What the fuck did you do to my sister, I will kill you, you motherfucker."
Imagine my horror, and embarrassment, and utter mortification.
Lucky for me, he decided it was no big deal...two years later we share a house and a dog and he STILL teases me about that night.
Brian, I love you. You helped me learn to trust again, to have faith in myself, and to discover that love doesn't have to equal unhappiness. Happy anniversary. And be nice to those dead baby octopii with the big heads.