Monday, April 1, 2013

How Charlie and I Met and Fell In Love

I could pretend someone asked me to write this post but really most (if not all) of the people who read my blog know. I might also be writing it so in case I get Alzheimer's I will be able to look back and remember, or so our future kids can read it, or just because I haven't posted anything lately. But mostly I am writing it because it's April 1st. We'll get to that at the end, I promise.

My sophomore year of college I needed to take a Statistics class. I signed up for one, and my roommate/best friend, Lorelei signed up for one as well, a different one. On the first day of school we decided it would be cool if we took Statistics together, but we weren't sure which one of the two we were signed up for would be best. The benefit of my class was that it was in the late morning, which afforded us enough time to sleep in, and also allowed for our afternoons to be free for practice, as we were both on sports teams at school. The benefit to Lorelei's class was that it was taught by a new graduate student who was from Maine. My class was taught by an old professor from India. Now, I am by no means racist or anything, but Statistics is hard enough without adding in a language barrier.

In order to figure it out we both went to each others classes. So Lorelei and I meet outside of DPC at 10:50 am on the first day of school and went to the Stats class I had signed up for. We sat in the back row and chatted as other students filled the room. Charlie, or Chuck as he was called in those days, walked in and Lorelei waved at him. She told him to sit with us and he did. She introduced him as "Chuck" and he instantly said "Charlie", to which Lorelei and I gave each other a funny look. Lorelei explained that he was on the track team with her, and that I was her roommate. I don't know what else we talked about, I do remember Charlie laughing about something and thinking to myself "he has a funny laugh." As we left the class to go to lunch Lorelei said; "You better watch out, or he'll have a crush on you." I just laughed it off. You see, I had a boyfriend at the time. It's funny to me that I don't remember what we talked about but I can remember my exact outfit. Blue capris from Aeropastale, a white tank top and a white bolero with beading on it.

Later in the afternoon we went to Lorelei's class. I remember the room was in the top floor of a building on campus, not sure which one, and it was super hot. After the class let out I walked to practice and explained why I was late to my coach. He never said I had to pick one class over the other he just told me to figure out which would work best. Even though I had a feeling Lorelei's afternoon class would be easier, I decided to stick with my mid morning class.

The next class day Charlie sat next to me. Then a girl named Joan sat on the other side of me. She wore brown clothes everyday and talked about horses constantly. Once she told Charlie and I that she and her boyfriend always dressed exactly the same "in brown tones". We still laugh about that sometimes, even thought I don't know why it was so funny to us at the time. So Charlie and I sat next to each other and talked before and after class. We had to do problems from the book for homework, but instead of just saying do 1-10 the teacher would say "do 1-4, 6, 9-12, 23, and 27" but he never wrote it down.  I had this issue where I would do problem 24 instead of 23 or something ridiculous like that. Charlie made fun of me quite a bit for that. Our first test came and went and as the teacher was handing them back I said "I need a tutor, I suck at this." Charlie volunteered to help me and do homework, saying something along the lines of "At least then you'll do the right problem". Once I got my test back I ended up with a B- and Charlie had a lower score. I wondered to myself about taking help from someone who got a lower grade than me but figured it would be good to have someone help anyways.

We would meet in the Union after practice/dinner and do homework together. I never told my boyfriend where I was going, not sure exactly why. Once though he found us doing homework and Charlie still laughs about the interaction the two of us had. He came in while Charlie and I were talking and said he'd been looking for me. I basically blew him off, telling him I was doing homework and needed him to stop bothering me. After he left Charlie and I talked for about an hour and did maybe 2 problems.

We continued meeting to do homework, and kept chatting in class. I got good grades on my homework, since I was actually doing the correct problems. However my test grades were falling. Since Charlie was "tutoring" me I took little initiative to do anymore work for Stats than what we were doing together; which was not much. I figured the tutoring needed more time to sink into my brain and then I would "get it". If you know me you know that I do not "get math", so that was a pretty dumb assumption.

During that semester I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend, it took three attempts but the last one finally stuck. The final nail in the coffin so to speak was when I started hanging out with another boy. This new boy and Charlie were in the same major at the time so they knew each other. One night I was with the new boy and we were going to go to a party, we left his dorm room with a bunch of other friends and Charlie left the dorm room next door, to go to the same party. We chatted about how funny that was and then all walked there together.

Another time the new boy and I went to a hockey game. My grandparents had season tickets to all of the UMaine games and they gave me the tickets for a night that they were no able to go to the game. Who should be sitting in the seats behind us? Charlie. Out of an arena that holds 5,000 plus people, Charlie was sitting right behind us. Charlie and his new girl friend that is. We talked about how weird our run ins had been and then watched the game with our prospective partners.

Charlie and I ran into each other randomly throughout the semester. He was on the Cross Country team so I would see him in the field house or out running with his friends. He also was injured for a portion of the time so he did a lot of pool running and we would see each other there, since I spent a lot of time at the pool. At one point we were walking to the field house and we passed my cousin Tyson, and both of us waved to him. I asked how Charlie knew Tyson and he said "Oh I know him pretty well, we took a class together and he lived in my dorm. How do you know him?" To which I responded "Well, he's my cousin."

The new boy and I ended up breaking up. Charlie and his girlfriend kept dating. Honestly, it never crossed my mind until December that I liked Charlie, or that there might be some reason behind our random run ins.

Charlie and I met up to study before our final and kind of studied. I found out later that Charlie studied more after I left. After the final was over I said goodbye to Charlie and went home for vacation. This was back in the days of IM so we chatted a few times over break. We had more random coincidences  I remember once talking to him over IM and mentioning that I had been to the dentist that day, and he said he had been to the dentist that day too.

On New Years Eve my Mom had just bought a house and my friends came over for a party. Nothing was set up, there were boxes everywhere and mattresses on the floor. I had told my friends that I kind of had a crush on Charlie and we all giggled as 19 year olds do about that sort of stuff. Right before midnight my cell phone rang and it was Charlie, he called to wish me a happy new year. I remember talking to him in the garage at my Mom's new house in my bare feet on the freezing concrete. My friend Allie kept saying "Lauren loves you!" through the door so talking in the kitchen was out of the option.

After returning to school in the winter I had a nasty run in with my ex, ex boyfriend. The one who was suspicious from the start about Charlie and I. Apparently he remembered my e-mail password and had been reading e-mails I had sent to Lorelei over break. He then took it upon himself to freak me out while I was at school for winter training (ie: in my dorm alone for 2 weeks before everyone else got back to school). This prompted me to sleep in my friends dorm for a week, and change my IM name. I let Charlie know that my IM name was different and explained things to him. He was very nice about it. I thought we would see more of each other but as it turns out when you have a girl friend and aren't in the same class anymore you have less time to devote to a random girl you don't know has a crush on you.

The semester was off to a kind of crappy start. I was still freaked out by the ex boyfriend incident, Lorelei had a very serious boyfriend (who is now her husband) and was with him a lot of the time. I pretty much threw myself into studying for my classes, practicing, and listening to Death Cab For Cutie's album "Plans" on repeat. During this time everyone on the team was not allowed to drink. It's called "Dry Season". The coaches felt that dry season was needed to make sure everyone on the team could preform their best and be ready for Championships. Since I was not legally allowed to drink this wasn't a huge deal but it did cut down on the parties I went to, and parties that people on the team threw.

We had our Championship meet at Boston University in February. After Champs that guys on the swim team who lived at the "Swim House" (a messy house with 4-5 messy guys on the swim team) were going to throw a huge party to celebrate the end of dry season. The party was called "The Beer Olympics" so you had to have teams of four and compete in different events. Seven years later this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but at the time it sounded like a great time, and wait it gets worse. My friend Kiki, her boyfriend (now husband) Pat and our friend Megan were all on the team named "I'm with Stupid." I think the name was Pat's idea. Kiki and I drove, or attempted to drive to Bangor in a snow storm in order to get supplies to make out outfits for the party. She got into a fender bender on the way there so we turned around and went back to school; where we convinced Pat to leave work at the Rec Center early and drive us. Oh the power of girl friend persuasion.

That night Kiki straightened my hair (a big deal back then) and we made up our shirts for the party. We also decided it would be cute to wear jean skirts and leggings. I confessed that I had a crush on Charlie to Kiki and Pat before we left. And we talked about the dilemma about him having a girl friend. Kiki said to me on the way out the door; "Just steal him."We laughed and drove through more snowstorm to get to the party (it was Maine, you had to drive through snow all the time).

Our team did terribly in all of the events, and were out of the running very soon. Charlie and his friends "Team Malarky" showed up at some point and Kiki kept jabbing me in the ribs to go talk to him. I never got the guts to do it, but my jean skirt pared with leggings and a shirt that said "I'm with Stupid" was apparently all I needed to get Charlie to dance with me. We were dancing and then all of a sudden he kissed me. And I kissed him back. And every ones jaws fell to the floor because "Diver Lauren" (as they called me back then) never did anything like that. Seriously, I am not scandalous, I had never kissed a boy who wasn't my boyfriend already, and never in front of that many people, and I'd never kissed someone with a girl friend before.

My friend Kristen said "He has a girl friend!" to which I responded "He likes me better." It all made perfect sense to me at the time. Another friend, Justin, pulled Charlie aside and told him if he was messing with me he would get beat up. Justin was still on edge about my other boyfriend incident and had my best interests at heart. Then I left the party with Charlie and to the shock and amazement of all of the people at the party. I went back to my room and the next morning I realized it wasn't as easy as "He likes me better" and felt terrible for kissing a boy with a girlfriend. So, I ran away to my grandparents house for the rest of the weekend.

I had a knot in my stomach for the whole weekend until Charlie e-mailed me from school while I was in Pittsfield and told me he'd broken up with his girlfriend. I happily drove back to school and we hung out that night and talked and talked. We've been together ever since.

Just like our random run in's the semester before, we kept finding out weird little coincidences or things we shared in common. On April 1st every year at the Old Town Dairy Queen everything is 50% off. So on April Fools Day Charlie and I, as well as two other friends, went to DQ for half off everything day. The line was out the door to order and the people working inside were covered in jimmy's and soft serve. When we got to the counter Charlie ordered a salad; quite a random choice looking back on it now, and when the person working asked what kind of dressing he wanted in my head I said to myself "blue cheese" since it's my favorite dressing and was what I would have picked had I been ordering the salad. And then Charlie said "Blue Cheese, please" and then ordered a Cookie Dough Blizzard; which is my favorite type of Blizzard. When the server asked what size he asked if I wanted to split it with him; obviously I said yes. That was the first moment I knew I wanted to marry him. Not many people can say they fell head over heals in love with their husband over blue cheese dressing and a blizzard at DQ.

So that's our story. All the scandalous details (well, most at least). Charlie says he can't remember the first time he knew he wanted to marry me, but he did talk about Blue Cheese dressing in his wedding vows.

Happy April Fools Day!


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