OK FINALLY, part three. April was a little crazy, so forgive the MONTH LONG delay in writing. Also, I can’t believe we are more than halfway through May. What is it about adulthood that makes me feel like time goes so fast and is also standing still? That doesn’t make any sense, but you get it. If you are just joining me make sure you check out Part One and Part Two first, or this might be a little confusing. Anyway, here we go– all of the phone calls and emails have brought us to this moment, the first date.
June 20, 2010
June in Ocean City means it is warm and perfect. The days are sunny, the evenings are cool enough for a sweater, and everything smells like salt and sea. The only downside is a seagull might jack your sandwich mid-conversation. If I ever find that seagull his whole family will pay. Just kidding, PETA.
My sister Molly is graduating high school this day, which feels unreal because I can only remember her as small and annoying and now she is a grownup, and taller than me, and we are friends. It’s even weirder to write this seven years later because Shannen graduated last year and Grace will next year and we just celebrated Molly’s 25th birthday and HOW IS EVERYONE SO OLD?!
A few photos from the day (BABIES! I was 22!) :
After photos I run home to get ready to meet Steve (!!!!!!!!)
I stand in my grandmother’s guest room, one I would later call my own, staring into an oversized gold mirror until I no longer feel like a sack of potatoes wearing makeup. I put my hair up, then down, then half up, more mascara, less lipstick, is my eye twitching? Are my eyebrows even? What is this outfit? I practice smiling, saying various versions of “Hey!” until it sounds more “relaxed cool girl” and less “excited murderer”.
Before I know it our dog is barking Steve’s arrival, and This is the Moment.
It is a weird feeling to finally meet someone in person when you’ve been corresponding only through text and email for six months. Since we’ve already been through the important stuff like favorite colors and work laments, I have no clue what to talk about. This leaves us awkwardly staring at each other, stumbling over our words, hoping for something profound to happen.
LOL GUYS. L. O. L.
We drive to dinner in Steve’s blue Chevy Malibu and talk about stuff I cannot remember for the life of me. Probably the weather, because that is my awkward go-to. If I ever start talking about the various states of weather, a miraculous thing will be happening: I am at a loss for words. Now you all know my secret and can call me out. At dinner I decide my order based on what he orders first so we are having a sandwich and a salad, respectively. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T.
Side note: salad is basically one of the safest date foods in existence, if you are wondering. Don’t even get me started on things that could fall out of your face when you’re trying to look impressive (i.e.: tacos/burritos, lo mein, loaded burgers, pulled pork, things where the cheese or pasta awkwardly goes on forever). When you don’t spend a lot of time going on dates, it gives you plenty of time to think about what Safe Food you are going to eat when your love finally comes to call. Half-kidding. Eat whatever you want, but consider yourself warned about mozzarella sticks. Also, Sushi dates never end well for me, but I digress.
We stumble through polite dinner conversation and nervous laughter until by the Grace of God we make it to our next adventure: mini-golf. Ocean City’s nightlife is severely limited in that it is a dry town devoid of anything open past 8pm. What we lack in bars and other happenin’ nightlife we make up for in doughnuts, ice cream, and amusement rides, ok?
For fact-checking purposes I just asked Steve if he remembers me winning our game of mini-golf, and he said,
I’m pretty sure I just let you win.
::Insert eye-roll emoji here.::
After the game we decide to walk the boardwalk and talk, because we’ve basically had a bunch of
awkward silence and mild competition interrupted time and haven’t gotten past the pleasantries.
Ever the resourceful small-group leader I say, “Let’s talk about something serious.”
I KID YOU NOT HE WAITS A BEAT AND SAYS,
“Ok. Shark attacks.”
?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!? WHAT THE
I could not contain my laughter. Shark attacks? SHARK ATTACKS? But y’all, this was a providential conversation because we actually had a SHARK WEDDING. Our reception venue was held at a yacht club, for context. During our wedding dinner a bunch of guests ran to the window because some shirtless rando was outside with a shark he’d caught, hanging up for all to see. There is photo evidence, but I will spare you because it is graphic and disgusting. To this day I still feel very unclear about the whole thing, and I wasn’t even buzzed yet. #NeverADullMoment
Anyway, back to the first date.
The shark attack comment breaks the ice significantly, and the rest of the night is really nice. When he drops me off at the end he says, “So, can I call you tomorrow?”
Using my best Jim Halpert face, forgetting he does not know me enough to know my HORRIBLE DARK TWISTED humor I shrug my shoulders and say, “Eh.” Go ahead and judge, friends, because I still cringe at this moment. I was young & stupid and thought I was funny (I was not). Thankfully I can read the room and immediately burst out laughing and apologize because that was a bad joke and yes I want to see him again.
June 21, 2010
The next day our date is planned, but I am getting cold feet. I don’t want it to be weird since it didn’t immediately feel all glitter and sunshine, and I’m worried that it speaks volumes about where the relationship is headed (it doesn’t). I vividly remember standing in my sister’s bedroom waiting for my mom to agree with me and let me off the hook. Instead she says,
Kate, you always do this. You do this with school or guys or anything that scares you. If you don’t like it right away or it’s not exactly how you imagined it, you give up. This boy came all the way to Ocean City to see you, so give him another chance, and don’t be a B.
She doesn’t call me a B outright, but I understand what she is saying and she is right. Why are moms always right? It’s super annoying.
I am so glad I decide to go on date number two, this time to ice cream and the boardwalk, because it is one of the best days of my life. We spend FIVE HOURS talking and laughing, and I only have three missed calls and one angry voicemail from my dad wondering if this online date has finally gone wrong and so help this guy if he harms a hair on my head. I call my dad back to tell him I am very much alive and it’s fine.
Steve and I sit down on a bench toward the end of our date and he asks if he can visit me in Nashville sometime in July. I agree, and we part ways promising to talk and text and plan our next time together.
July 20, 2010
A month later Steve arrives in good ol’ Nashvegas and I immediately take him to Chick-fil-A because he has never been and what kind of devil sorcery is that? He quickly becomes obsessed with Chick-fil-A.
On July 20, 2010, sitting outside on a bench across from the Franklin Theatre, Steve asks me to be his girlfriend. It is hot as Hades so we immediately walk to the air-conditioned Sweet CeCe’s for celebratory froyo, holding hands like the young lovers that we are. It is adorable and gross at the same time, and it is the beginning of the best summer ever. Here is a photo of me on that bench while visiting in 2014.
In August I visit Ocean City the same week that Steve’s family is on vacation, and they generously invite me to dinner at their beach house. Immediately I love them because they are the nicest, friendliest, happiest people I have ever met. They are also way less dramatic than my collective household, so I’m sold. Steve’s brother Dan does an amazing impression of Christian Bale’s Batman, and I eat pepperoni pizza like it’s my job, which are the two things that stick out in my memory of that night. A few days later Steve says I love you for the first time, and I do not want the trip to ever end.
Steve visits Nashville again in October, and it is short and filled with mishaps. The brakes on my car give out, I have to work doubles, and other tales from the crypt. During this same trip I make the decision to leave my beloved Nashville, because something feels different and special.
In December I move to Ocean City and in with my Nana. I have every intention of moving to New York to be closer to Steve, but God has other plans. ISN’T THAT ALWAYS THE WAY.
Instead of moving I start work at St. Damien in May of 2011, and we spend the next year and a half in a long-distance relationship. To this day it is one of the most difficult things we’ve gone through together. In January of 2013 Steve moves to Ocean City, and we are engaged by June of that same year. Our year of engagement is quite a tumultuous ride, but I’ll save that for another time.
There you have it, ladies & gents. How we met, from first message to first date. We will celebrate three years married on June 7th. Time flies when you’re talking about shark attacks, amirite?
One of these days I’ll share more about our year of engagement, but until then you can check out my piece on Planning Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank that I wrote for Spoken Bride.
Hope you are having the best Monday! It’s raining in Ocean City and we have the heat on so I officially hate the Northeast.