"Someone Ran Me Off the Road......."
Most people have a romantic tale of the first date or the first time the laid eyes on "the one." My story is a little different. It involves a quick trip to Columbus that turned into my car being pulled out of a snow bank by AAA.
After meeting Selena through her older sister Angie (Angie and I were co-workers at the Ohio State University) and keeping in contact for a couple of years mainly through social media and texting, we both finally had some free time to hang out in person. I had a break in my work and coaching schedule and Selena was in Columbus from New Jersey for the holidays. Selena invited me to Columbus for New Year's 2012/2013. I had no plans so I thought "perfect...I get to spend the night in Columbus and reconnect with some friends." I hit the road after work with plans to stop and drop my bag off at my cousin’s house and then go hang out with my friends. About 30 miles outside of Columbus, a wonderful driver cut me off and my car ended up stuck in a snowbank on the side of the road for the next 3 hours. By the time a tow truck was able to pull me out, all I wanted to do was go to my cousin's house and to get some sleep. When I told her of my plans to "stay in" and hit the road back to Youngstown in the morning, Selena begged and pleaded with me (at least that's how I remember it) to come and see her so I obliged.
"Did she really just do that?.........."
I remember arriving to the apartment and being greeted with the warmest hug. Angie and her then fiancé Tony stepped out to go to dinner, leaving Selena and I at the apartment by ourselves. Almost immediately she got up, opened all of the blinds and placed a pillow in between us on the couch. I thought to myself "did she really just do that?" She claimed that the pillow was to place over her feet because they were cold and the blinds were open because she liked looking at the night sky. I'm pretty sure she was just nervous. We spent the next couple of hours or so sharing stories and making small talk as friends. Halfway through our conversation I noticed something.................her ice cold feet were tucked under my leg. I guess she was finally comfortable. Those feet were really cold!
"You keep bringing her name up........."
It's hard to believe that 3 years would pass before the next time we saw each other. Work and coaching took up the bulk of my time and the passing of my father in summer of 2013 brought on new set of responsibilities. She was still in New Jersey working late nights. During that time period and we continued to exchange messages and an occasional phone call. We shared everything from crazy work stories to crazy dating/relationship stories. The two of us even kept in contact to make sure one another made it in safely. I would text or talk to her while rode home from a late night of work and she would keep me company when returning from away games. Every now and again I would share one of our lighter stories with my mother and one day she said "you keep bringing her name up..........you never thought about dating her?" Truth be told, I never really considered it because of the distance.
"First sundress of the season........"
Our first date (if you could call it that) came on Selena's birthday. She was visiting one of her best friends from college, Ronqesha, in the Cleveland area so I decided to drive up from Youngstown to take her to brunch.. The weather was sunny and in the 70's the previous two days but turned to rain and 40's on the day we were supposed to go out. The only thing she had left to wear was a sundress. Needless to say, she was freezing. We laughed for a while about it but I left it alone so that she did not feel awkward. I liked the fact that she could take a joke but I reassured her that she looked fine and that no one would notice. When we entered the restaurant the hostess looked Selena up and down and said "first sundress of the season." The laughter started all over again.
We sat down, ordered our food, talk for a while, ate, talked some more and laughed. Before we knew it, 11am turned into 5pm. That would explain the funny look the wait staff was giving us. We were only supposed to be gone for a couple of hours then she and Ronqesha were getting together for manicures and pedicures. We hurried to get back to Ronqesha's house so Selena could salvage sometime with her. We sat in the driveway saying our goodbyes...........for another two hours. I would remind Selena that her friend was probably going to disown her for flaking out of their nail appointment. She would say ok as if she was ready to go, then she would lean her seat back even further and continue the story that she was telling. The conversation never ended.
"SHE'S A KEEPER!........"
I have always heard people ask couples "how did you know that she /he was the one?" Well here is the moment I knew it. After a brief period of dating, I mentioned that I would be awarding scholarships from the scholarship fund that I established in honor of my late father. We briefly spoke about the details of the event and that was pretty much the end of it. A short time later, Selena texted me asking about airports in the Youngstown area. A short time after that, she gave me her flight details. She booked a flight because she knew how important this event was to me. Either that or just really loves Youngstown.
The awards banquet was the first time she would be meeting my family. I watched the way she interacted with my mother, traded jokes with my brother, and made my nieces feel special. I thought to myself "she's a keeper!"