When Mardougrrl met TEG...
Our first meeting was not auspicious. He was angry about something, sitting in the corner by the steps while the rest of us bowled (hey, it was Jersey). He was nursing a long necked beer (ah, underaged drinking) and generally looking morose.
So, of course, I was curious.
“Who is THAT?” I asked my then-best friend. After all, these were all of her new friends from college—I was the one who had gone away. I had a sad little twinge when I saw how full her new life was...without me. I was struggling at college, back home for my first Spring break. But...on the plus side, at least ONE of her new friends was cute.
You can guess which one.
“Oh, that's just TEG.” she replied. “I told you about him.” And then she proceeded to spill the sad events that had led to his blue mood (inaccurately, I found out later).
I saw him again a few days later—we all went to shoot pool. And again, he was taciturn. But we did say a few words to each other; words so prosaic they must be lost to posterity. No, really. I think they were something like, me: “I suck at pool.” him: “yeah, you kind of do.”
Fast forward to the end of the summer before the beginning of sophomore year, a few days before I had to return to college. My best friend (at the time, alas, we are dunzo) and I were going to have dinner after a long, tense time. We were vowing to rebuild our decade old friendship. So, I was surprised to see TEG sitting on her stoop, yanking off his tie and shoving it into his pocket.
Surprised, but not entirely displeased.
Not a lot of friendship-rebuilding took place that night. Instead, I spent ALL night talking to TEG—arguing about Zen Buddhism and art and philosophy and psychology and technology and, well, everything. My brain was buzzing. I had never been able to speak with ANYONE in quite this way. I was used to shoving parts of myself into the background with my friends, family, boyfriends. TEG saw all of me, immediately. “You are a writer.” he said to me. I tried not to smile, pleased. “Why would you say that?” He rolled his eyes. “It's so OBVIOUS.”
I asked my friend whether she had mentioned my dreams to TEG. “Nope, writing never came up.”
After I got home that night, I told my mother, “I met the most wonderful guy, but I don't think I'll ever see him again.”
She gave me a sleepy smile. “If it's meant to be, mija, it will be.”
A few days later, we went to the beach together. By this time I was hardcore flirting, but TEG was being OBLIVIOUS and yet also delightful and smart and adorable. Did I mention that by now I had a serious crush?
I mean, he threw my Keds into the ocean. How could I NOT?
Fast forward to a few days before Thanksgiving break. I am not someone who usually taps into premonitions; in fact, I am usually the last to know what the Universe has in mind. But...I had a vivid dream that TEG and I would get together. I woke with the absolute CERTAINTY that it would happen.
We got together at our favorite diner during Thanksgiving break, and TEG admitted, frankly, that “I was going to ask you out, but then I thought...nahhh.”
Surprisingly, that didn't discourage me. Validation! He felt the same way. Now I knew it was going to happen. I just didn't know when.
On December 18, 1992, it did. He called me at school, while I was procrastinating with writing up my final exam papers. My roommate had already gone home for wintersession.
“Uh, I'm not asking you for a date; I'm asking you to be my girlfriend.” We were always on the same wave length, after all.
A few days later, I went back home and to TEG.
Sample conversation from our first date. me: “I never want to get married OR have children.”
Y'all can stop laughing now.
I can't say I never imagined that TEG and I would last this long. It might sound cheesy, but from the beginning, I always knew we belonged together. And it hasn't always been easy—we've both changed a lot in these fifteen years. We've gotten married (twice) and have a toddler who rules our hearts.
And yet, nothing has changed. The conversation has never stopped. He's still my favorite person to talk to in the world. He's still the one I run to with every blessing, every hurt.
Happy fifteenth anniversary, TEG. Many, many more.
Labels: family tales