The Beginning

Team Power Awesome

He was loud. Tall. Red. Even when he wasn't trying, he just naturally demanded the attention of everyone around him. I've still never seen anyone who more epitomizes the expression "moths drawn to a flame." That's just what happens when he's in the room.

Technically, Erik and I knew each other for years before we dated. We met at our friend Amber's birthday dinner our freshman year of JMU. We sat at opposite ends of the table, but Erik is always one to point out the obvious and he made a point of letting everyone know that he didn't know hardly anyone there (which, it wasn't his birthday party so why he thought it his right to know everyone there is beyond ME but in hindsight it's good he pointed this out) and he had everyone say their name around the table. However, details (you know, like people's names) often elude him and he started calling my best friend Kristen "curly" and me "straight." Ah, my husband's first nickname for me...

But we didn't know each other until that sophomore year when we started to regularly attend the same gatherings of our mutual friends. I'm a great people watcher. At parties, I live on the edges. That's my happy, less overwhelming place. But Erik, he belongs in the center. He is a flame, remember, and he draws people in. He might say I'm exaggerating, but it was the first thing I noticed about him and now I've seen it happen in so many different scenarios that I know it's true.

So when he started talking to ME, I was surprised.

You see, when you're the "quiet type," when you're an introverted person, I think you're usually good at observing people. It's how you spend a lot of your time after all. And I know that the extroverted people feed off each other and it's great for laughs and party entertainment (especially in college!). We quiet people laugh along and have our own side conversations. That seems to be good party protocol. 

But Erik was feeling especially bold at one of these gatherings and he walked up and loudly told me that I was especially pretty that night. And then he told me that... for the rest of the night. I should probably also mention this was Erik's first experience with large quantities of alcohol. What can we say? It was college. Should we thank alcohol for our marriage? Hm... things to think about... ;)

This was that infamous night. This was also during the experimentation years of Photoshop where I was rightfully appalled by the blown out highlights in this picture, but wrongfully chose to make us yellow instead. I also had bangs. Hi, bangs.

This was that infamous night. This was also during the experimentation years of Photoshop where I was rightfully appalled by the blown out highlights in this picture, but wrongfully chose to make us yellow instead. I also had bangs. Hi, bangs.

After that night of Erik's loud proclamations, we started talking a lot more. Usually online. Remember AIM, y'all? I'm sorry if you don't. You missed out on a great era of internet communication. Anyway. He was determined to take me on a date.

Me? I was determined to steer clear of the attention-hungry ginger kid who clearly didn't know me at all and only wanted to date me because I was pretty. I generally preferred waiting for boys to realize how brilliant and hilarious I was and fall completely head over heels before I'd honor them with my one-on-one presence. No really, haha, it sounds weird and kind of awful, but I was never very concerned with dating so I found it worked well to brush guys off and see who was determined enough to stick around. Screening? Maybe...

But the more he tried, the more we talked, and the less my argument had any validity. I could tell he wasn't just funny, he was smart too. And persistent. So we went on our first date. 

And it was pretty bad...