Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Our Story

In honor of Brendan's 40th birthday today, I thought I'd tell the story of how we got together. I don't think I've written about that here on the old blog yet, so for those who are interested, here we go!

I was walking to class with my roommate on a cold January morning in 1992 (I was a junior at Purdue). First day of classes. As we approached the Math Building, she elbowed me and said "Hey! Isn't that Brendan Casey?" And it was.

I wasn't expecting to see him ever again because he'd taken a semester off the previous fall and I figured he'd stay in Florida. I'd been disappointed upon learning from C. that Brendan was taking that semester off . . . we'd hung out quite a bit (just as friends) the previous spring and I'd thought he was pretty cool. And for some reason, I couldn't stop thinking about him all that summer and that empty fall semester.

So when I saw him that morning in January, wearing a black trench coat and sunglasses and looking like a super cool rock star, my stomach flipped over half a dozen times. He was back! That's all I thought about that morning--he was back.

He called me that afternoon. (I later learned that I was the first person he called.) We met up in the dorm and chatted (awkwardly, at least I was awkward) awhile, and when we parted, I was light-hearted and nervous.

But we didn't get together right away. I was nursing a new and pretty severe heartbreak, and was therefore hesitant to start up anything again so soon, even with someone who played bass and sang in a rock band and had somehow lost his braces since the last time I'd seen him and was super good-looking and made my stomach do flips.

He either sensed I wasn't ready for anything or thought we'd just pick up our friendship where we'd left it eight months before, because pretty soon after, he took up with some girl I didn't approve of. I'm sure she's a perfectly nice person now, but at the time, my only thought was this: "Well, he obviously has NO taste in women, so he clearly doesn't deserve ME." No, truly, that was my assessment of his character. :)

Still, my feelings were very hurt, because WTH? Couldn't he see how awesome I was? Was he BLIND for pete's sake? Was he possibly INSANE? (Blind and insane were the only two reasons I really considered.) And if so, then why does he keep calling me and why do we keep hanging out together so much?

So for the next couple of months he saw this girl and I saw a few other guys. (Um, not all at once. In succession. Just realized how that sounds.) His band played a few shows and I went to every. single. one. and watched him. I'd already made up my mind that I'd get him one day, but I wasn't at all sure how I'd go about it.

We were both taking accounting that semester, so we became accounting buddies. I can't remember if we were in the same section or not, but all of the homework was the same and we had the same crazy exuberant professor who waved his arms and worked himself up until he was sweaty and beet-red during every lecture. (Once, this professor waved his arms so emphatically his shirt popped up over his ample stomach and he turned even redder than ever. Good times.)

So we did homework and hung out. Brendan told me about economics and MIDI and effects processors and I brought him to Objectivist Club meetings (because, in my humble, I thought he needed to get on the plan asap).

At the end of March or beginning of April, we started hanging out more often and things became more intense somehow. I was interested, for sure. I wanted him. He persisted in dating that other person, but I could see some cracks there. I decided that at the very least, I'd have tell him how I felt about him at some point and then deal with whatever happened as a result. I remember consciously deciding to Carpe Diem and be courageous and honest and virtuous, etc. Hooray for that. But I was nervous. Really really nervous. So I kept putting it off.

Then he broke up with the girl he'd been seeing and the time had come. Another week or so went by for various reasons, and we spent all of our free time together. I thought that he was interested, too, but I couldn't really tell for sure. Even so, I girded up my Carpe Diem Resolution one night and told him "I think you're the coolest guy." His response: "Wanna go out?" 

Our first date was the next night, and our first kiss was early in the morning the next day (a really long date!), ten years to the hour before the birth of our first child. And the rest is history. We've been together almost half of our lives. Crazy to think about, because we're really not that old yet. :)

Happy Birthday, Brendan! Here's to the next 19 years and beyond!


C. August said...

Jenn, none of us could figure out why he was dating that girl. I believe we also had a catchy name for her. Not sure if you remember it. It was rather cruel, upon reflection. (But funny)

Now, one question about how you two met initially, before Brendan's semester in exile: did I introduce you two? Say, in the cafe or whatever it was in the lowest level of the dorm? I have it in my head that I introduced you, but of course, I could be misrememberating. In fact, that's a strong possibility.

Kelly Elmore said...

There's always a girl like that in every story like this. What happens to them later in life? Is there a group home for them somewhere?

Brendan is "the coolest guy," and I am super glad he came to his senses and you girded up your Carpe Diem.

Good story!

Judy Aron said...

Wonderful story - I hope you continue to enjoy life together for a very long time!

Michael Randall said...

Kelly, "girl(s) like that" exist to move the plot along. This is their one and only function in life.

Sara says, especially about our "girl like that", that after there role in the story ends they go off to live a long, miserable life alone with no internet and phone access and happen to miraculously/divinely be infected with some exotic STD with a really funny name.

Vicki said...

Really enjoyed reading your story. Thanks!

Amy said...

Nice! I like your line: "I think you're the coolest guy."