It’s a long post, I know, but I tried to make it funny. To me, it’s a sweet little story with some parts that still make me laugh.
It was early on in my second year of college in 2009 when my friend Jacko assisted in setting up my brand new record player.
And when I say “assisted in,” I mean she set it up and I mostly just watched. She did, at one point, suggest I crawl under my tiny dorm room desk and plug something in.
When I stood up again, she was texting someone and smirking.
“Colby just called you a hipster for getting a record player.”
Great, I thought. Some guy I don’t even know is making fun of me from another province.
I had never met Jacko’s friend. All I knew was he was extremely sarcastic and was in his 100th year of Genius University.
I demanded his cell number so I could tell him off. I can’t remember what I said, but I’m sure expletives were involved.
After that, Colby and I occasionally exchanged texts, emails and Google Talk messages. I met him a few times and hung out with him and Jacko. He was funny, highly intelligent and had an impressive vocabulary. As a grad student, his trips home were infrequent and brief.
In the span of a year, our occasional communications became more of a daily ritual. Since we both spent so much time at our computers for school, staying in contact was easy. I had formed a solid friendship with someone who I had only briefly met a few times.
In the summer of 2010, I organized a big movie date for a bunch of my friends. Three couples and myself. And Colby happened to be home so we brought him along too. I jokingly called him my date and sat beside him in the dark theatre. It hit me then: this guy is something special. After the movie, I avoided eye contact and suddenly felt very shy.
This is going to ruin everything, I thought.
In order to save the friendship from potential awkwardness, I kept my feelings from him.
(I’d like to add that the other three couples there that fateful night have all broken up since.)
On his next trip home, I attempted to ask him out on a dinner date. With just us. No friends. I mucked up the whole thing by waking up ill (*cough cough hungover cough*) and having to cancel.
By February 2011 (and my 23rd birthday) every single mutual friend of ours knew of my very strong feelings for him. I’d had a few birthday drinks when he showed up at my apartment during my birthday party. I made an awkward joke about surprises and fled to the kitchen to fix myself another drink.
“Just don’t ruin this.” Gulp, slurp, gulp. “Friends surprise friends all the time. Just… be cool.”
The party relocated to a bar, I had another drink and made small talk with Colby. We were left alone for a moment and the girly, sugary cocktail started making words for me.
“Do you know why I dye my hair pink?”
“Because you like pink hair.”
And then Jacko fell asleep on the table and everyone went home.
When roses arrived for me a week later on Valentine’s Day, I realized he’d understood and felt the same. Like me, he was shy and not sure how to say what he felt.
We survived a long distance relationship for over a year while he finished school and we moved in together this summer. March 6th will mark our second anniversary.
And he still makes fun of me and my record player.