No, it’s not what you are thinking.
I first met my now wife, my freshman year of college. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She had a boyfriend. And that was it. I never tried to do anything ever.
But we got along swimmingly. Had similar interests, mainly film. We quickly became best friends. And to be honest, romance didn’t occur in my head. We just hung out constantly.
Friends of ours were 100% convinced we would end up married someday. We just brushed it off.
Almost two years past. Right at the end of my sophomore year, she had the big bad breakup. He dumped her. He probably cheated. It was a mess. She took time to recover. She went abroad that summer for school.
Meanwhile, we were both in some student activities together. At that time, one of the board members…through a series of machinations…got her boyfriend who was transferring into our college a minor role on the board. He never transferred. They broke up. HUGE mess. The word on campus was all…you know…nepotism. Accusing our organization of hording seats for people we knew…
Hard cut to the other side of the summer. For my future wife, she had a phenomenal summer abroad. I had the worst summer I had in college. Thought it would be the hardest thing I had to deal with in college, life had other plans, but I didn’t know that then. That summer is a story for a future date, but sufficed to say, I almost didn’t go back to that college. But it worked out and I made it.
The story of how things shifted into a romantic relationship is both complicated and organic. Just sort of happened. That is a story for another day, sufficed to say…we both knew this was the one. This was going to be a relationship that lasted.
Which brought us to this awkward point. School was in full swing. We didn’t want 1) our friends to be right about us being together forever and 2) people claiming more nepotism in our organization.
So we made a decision. It was my future wife’s senior year. So, we decided we would hide it. At least till she was on her way out. Her roommates would know for obvious reasons. But, for everyone else, no way.
This made things….awkward.
My number one excuse was “focusing on school work.” When friends asked me to drive an hour to go hang out or a concert or something, I was like “nah too much school work.” The truth was my future wife and I were doing the relationship thing. Going to parks. Walking the city. Out to dinner. Studying together. Just spending time. Being a couple.
I know it made some of my friends real mad. I figured they would chill when they knew what was going on. Most did. Some didn’t…
For her it was a bit easier cause her roommates were most of her friend group in college. We just had to dodge the people in our student organization. This was relatively easy in that we were together doing things before we were dating. So, it was no thing to see us together.
I remember sometimes we timed things. She would show up somewhere first, I would come in from another direction. But, that kind of covert operations was few and far between.
The closest we got to ever getting busted was around Christmas time. Exams were finished or finishing. It was about to be holiday break. Last night we would see each other till school was back for the spring.
I saved up money and wanted to take her out to a real snooty dinner. I put on a suit. She put on a dress. That kind of thing.
She lived in the senior dorms which operated like an apartment complex. Complete with a big like communal quad in the middle. I was going to pull her car around (she had a better car than me) to the main entrance and we would go out to dinner. So, I went to the garage to get her car.
Unbeknownst to me, my future wife walked out of her apartment facing the quad and ran straight into a mutual friend who was also in our student org. He also had something of a crush on her. And seeing her all dolled up…got him confused.
He asked where she was going. Said she had a date, but didn’t say more. She started walking toward the exit, and he started following. He put on a little gas. She put on more.
Now the gate out had a bunch of interesting security features. One of them is you could swipe your card to get out or press the big button. BUT, if you closed the gate behind you and swiped your card, you could sort of lock it out for 10 secs. Dunno if this was an error or like a security precaution, but this is the only time I have ever heard of someone using it.
She hit the button, opened the gate, shut it behind her, reached inside and swiped the card on the card swipe, locking the door. She ran out into the street.
I know none of this. I am in the circle waiting for her. She comes out in her beautiful dress and accoutrement, almost running, jumps in the car, and just yells, “GO GO GO.”
I slam the accelerator and we were gone.
From then on, we referred to this as The Terminator incident. Found out at the end of the year, that our mutual friend just saw the brakelights of a car speeding off. Never saw who was in it.
The remainder of the year was without incident. Most of our friends were seniors (like my future wife), so it was alot of, “Oh we are going to go…” etc.
The last two weeks after exams were kind of celebrations. I got an apartment right near campus, and I had lined up a bunch of summer jobs on campus. So I had nothing to do till after graduation, when campus switched to summer mode.
At that point, it was all over, so we lifted the curtain. I told my friends. Most were really happy for me. Some were…still upset I wasn’t “around like I should be.” Some were embarrassed for their behavior around what they know now was my significant other.
All of those mixed emotions sort of faded away. We didn’t care. We were just too happy.
On campus, it was hilarious. I remember running into my other best friend on campus. Who was big into “trying to break my out of my shell” that year. Wanted me to go to all these parties. Said I spent too much time by myself.
As soon as he saw us together holding hands, he just started laughing. “This has been going on all year hasn’t it.” I said, “yeah you right.’ He just laughed his fucking ass off.
When I look back on it, we totally didn’t need to hide our relationship. We flat out didn’t. Like no one would have said anything. Maybe some light gloating.
But, you know, sometimes when you are in college you don’t know how people will react.
I wouldn’t change a thing. That was my favorite year of college. And it was because I spent it with my favorite person on planet earth. Wouldn’t have it any other way.