This story is so much better in person around the dinner table. It takes a long time to tell it- but in the end, it's totally worth it. I hate those stories that are completely encapsulated in "we met in a bar" or "we met at a date night in college" ... there is no panache, no zing, and just no life behind that statement.
So, I called Husband up and had no way to decipher between Husband and Roommate as both had
* Husband for a name
* hometowns in Moultrie
* brown hair
* little sisters
* SAE pledge-ship
* left hand dominance
Seriously? What were the odds?
So, life moved forward to the greatest summer ever. Enter Team Prom. Enter "My Pious Friends & Drunken Companions." Enter 2004.
Wait, let's back up.
There are two summers that are truly iconic in my mind. Summers that exemplify what a summer should be and summers that dread the coming of fall and the ending of the greatest times.
Summers are always fun, but if you get one summer like this-- inseparable friends, tall tales, every day a new adventure, cold lake water, shag dancing in the sand, bon fires, hot sun, never a problem kind of summer, count your blessings.
I am lucky enough to have two.
The first was 2001.
When it ended, I was on a date at Speakeasy- what was supposed to be the Last Date with my summer love. We went into our summer knowing that we would conclude at Labor Day. It was pragmatic and it made sense. We were very sensible people.
The summer ended, he did not.
There I go again- getting ahead....
It was my first summer in Athens. Brother had just graduated from UGA & he had this ah-mazing shack on Morton Ave, in the heart of Five Points and all things college. My roommates were my brothers two best friends, Frank & Murray. We shared a bathroom that had never been cleaned and I lived on the sun porch that had windows all the way around. I would open them at night when it rained and it felt like camping- complete with running water and a bathroom.
The shower had a window high enough to cover your goods and held a crackly radio. I wore flip flops in there and Frank taught me how to fix the toilet when it would not stop running. I lived off eggs and Diet Coke. It was summer of that song, "One bottle of wine, two dixie cups, three AM I fell in love...."
Miranda and I would stay up until dawn eating ice cream on the front porch. One of us would swing and the other would be sprawled out on the half wall that wrapped around the front porch. Across the street, a developer had torn down two houses and was replacing them with four "modern" homes for rent. We watched them being built that summer.
We would walk to Son's of Italy for dinner, hand wash our dishes, and build small fires in the backyard. We'd lay on the driveway when it was too hot to be inside with icy bottles and try to find a cooler temperature as July sweltered on.
The summer prior, I spent it at the beach and came back to Athens with an amazing tan and a new-found self confidence. No sweaty fingers. No worries. The first day back, the entire sophomore class convened at Bourbon Street bar where there was no air conditioner, the credit card machine didn't work, and all they had was Natural Light beer. Cheap-- but effective.
The SAEs were playing pool in the back, by the bathrooms. I made my way to the eternal ladies' line when a boy said, "WIFE!" from across the green felt. A smile between the two and Husband made his way over.
A high five between the future Mr. & Mrs. and we struck up a conversation. He passed his que off to his partner and bought us a round.
I bought the next.
He bought the last.
A high-five out and they were off to their antebellum mansion and we were off to ours. Summer was over & fall was here. Rush started the next day and there was ever-important work to be done.
And so, that is how it went that entire year. We would run into each other at the bars, on campus, at parties, on sidewalks, and on the road. Always with a high five, always one buying the first and the other buying the next. Always ending with a high five out.
Never a question for a phone number.
Never an invitation for a date or an upcoming social.
Never a question to relationship status.
Just a whole lot of high-fives and rounds of beer.
Enter spring 2001. This was getting a little ridiculous. I was looking for him when I went out, trying to be cool & not succeeding. The first week of April brought a horrible date from the Kappa Sigma fraternity down to Augusta & I thought I was going to kill him. So much for my cousin telling me how much fun he was. He wasn't. He forgot his wallet. He complained. He was annoying. And I had to spend the whole day with him on the golf course.
Whatever. I get back to Athens & see Husband's teal Ford Explorer the next day in a parking lot. Shuddering with the prior day still fresh on my mind, I had nothing to lose except a sheet of paper.
No hesitation: "Husband! Call me! It's your turn to buy! 555-4693 -Wife"
Literally, I skipped away.
He was going to call.
I was so sure, I went ahead and got a shower.
He was going to call.
I should probably go ahead and get my work done, so that when he called- I could go ahead and get ready.
He was going to call...
He didn't call.
What does this have to do with the summer? I'm getting there.