I was in my early 20s working in a bookstore in Livingston, NJ, when I heard about some new staffers starting the following day. The only thing I had heard was that one of them also taught tennis and had gone to Rutgers, also my Alma Mater. He was a tall, geeky-looking guy with longish hair and glasses. His name was David. He was pretty quiet, and he kept to himself, but in one of our break-room chats, I found out he was already attending the English language master’s program at Seton Hall, the same program I had applied to and was waiting to hear back from.
Fast forward a month or so when I left the bookstore for another job and received notice that I was accepted into the graduate program. I started calling the bookstore to talk to David to find out whether or not he liked the courses, the professors, the campus, etc., but every time I called, it wasn’t his shift. After two weeks of this, one of my previous co-workers finally just gave me his home number, so I called and expected to have a quick conversation about whether or not he liked Seton Hall.
We talked for two hours.
I can honestly say that I had no intentions or motives other than asking about the graduate program, but I discovered that this quiet, reserved, somewhat aloof guy was also funny, kind, and intelligent. Instead of just telling me about the campus, he offered to take me there and then to have lunch afterwards. So, two days after our phone conversation, he picked me up at my apartment, and we headed to South Orange.
It was at lunch I realized that not only did we have so much in common, he was also pretty adorable with an incredible smile. Even though that lunch wasn’t technically and officially a “date,” we clearly enjoyed each other’s company enough that we made plans to see each other again. Since he couldn’t get together the next day (which was a Saturday), we decided Sunday would work. We would go to dinner and a movie, both expressing interest in Immortal Beloved, since it was about Beethoven and we both liked classical music (and Gary Oldman).
It wasn’t until the next day that I realized our date was scheduled not just for Sunday but Superbowl Sunday. Not being a football (or sports) fan at all and having grown up with a sports-betting father who had games on all the time — on the radio, on the television — I was allergic to the sound of sports in general and Superbowl Sunday in particular.
So when David called me to finalize plans for our date and made no mention of needing to watch the game or go to a Superbowl party instead of seeing me, I noticed. I really noticed.
Alhough our first date was technically on January 29 1995, we tend to celebrate our anniversary on Superbowl Sunday itself—whatever the date may be.
In the last 22 years, my love for this man has only deepened and spread. And the best of him only grows. Everything I admired about him when we first met has only magnified—not because he became kinder, more intelligent, and funnier (though he did)—but because the lens through which I see him has grown stronger and clearer. (If only my own ocular vision shared the same trajectory!)
And so it is with very clear vision and a very grateful heart that I celebrate the relationship with this man, truly the kindest, most intelligent, most sincere, most humble, authentic, thoughtful, patient, beautiful person I’ve known. His integrity shines through his eyes, and his smile makes my heart leap.
Happy Superbowl Sunday, everyone! If you’re on the hiking trails in the Redwoods, we’ll see you there!