Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Story of How We Met

I was in the 8th grade the first time I heard someone mention Chris. It was the spring of 1990, late in the day, and my junior high school was buzzing with the story of two high school boys in a fist fight outside of our school in the parking lot. Chris was one of those boys. Shortly after that story, I would hear his name again mentioned in another story. There was a bonfire that I had decided not attend even though several of my friends asked me to go (being a shy and introverted girl, I decided the comfort of my room sounded more appealing than a crazy teen party). At the bonfire, there was an impromptu wrestling match between two friends that ended with one a broken leg. Chris was one of the wrestlers but not the one with the broken leg. After hearing both of these stories, I decided that Chris was not a guy I needed to get to know.

Early in my 9th grade year, I saw Chris for the first time. I was leaving the Chorus room (a huge room that held about 200 students), and I noticed a tall blond haired boy leaning against the wall opposite the chorus room doors. I did not know whom he was, but I thought he was cute. Then I saw him look down at a girl as she walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him. Instantly, I knew his name. The girl in his arms was in my grade. She was not a close friend of mine, but she sat near me at lunch. Most days she came to lunch with a new story about her awful boyfriend, Chris. The same Chris from the fist fight and the bonfire. I quickly dismissed the idea that he was cute, and I forgot about him.

In April of my freshman year, I was in Virginia for the annual band and chorus trip. On the second day of the trip, I was seated on one of the buses with the other chorus and band members. We were dressed in our concert attire, waiting to travel the short distance from the hotel to the performance hall. Minutes kept ticking away, and we knew that we were running late. Finally, our director entered the bus, and we could tell by his face that he was not happy. As the bus started to move, he informed us that we had been detained because two boys had been wrestling in their hotel room, and a huge hole had been made in one of the rooms walls. Chris was one of the boys involved in the brawl.

A couple of weeks later, a guy friend from my neighborhood called to ask me if I were dating anyone. I told him that I was not, and that I was not interested in dating anyone at that time. I had only dated two boys previously, one for one night and the other for three weeks (two of those weeks I had been sick with the flu). Both experiences had been awkward, and I was the one to break it off with them because I just really wasn't ready to deal with the drama of dating. While I was talking to my friend, he asked if I would be interested in getting to know one of his friends. I said no, but I was curious, so I asked him what his friend's name was. He told me it was his friend Chris. The fist fighting, wrestling, bad boyfriend Chris. I quickly answered no again, but I asked why he thought Chris would want to date me. He told me that they had passed me several nights previous when I had been standing in front of a friend's house, and he asked about me, and then asked our mutual friend to call me for him. Well, I was flattered, but I was sure he was more trouble than he was worth, so my answer remained no.

Chris starting spending more time in my neighborhood with our mutual friend. Occasionally, he visited me with his friends.  He never talked, he just sat and listened to what everyone else was talking about. One time, our friend tried to get us to talk to each other by mentioning that we were both Catholic and that we had both been recently confirmed, but neither of us had much to say. Being shy and not interested in Chris, I always felt uncomfortable during the visits. Finally, his friend said that if Chris did not speak to me he would never bring him by my house again. Chris finally glanced at me, caught my eye, and said, "Hi, Erica," and then he quickly looked away. Oh my! Something in my cold heart started to melt at that moment. I can't explain it. I just felt like maybe I could make an effort to get to know him better.

After he had spoken to me the first time, he asked me if he could call me, and I told him that he could call. He started calling me almost every day, and many of the calls lasted for several hours. I enjoyed our phone conversations, but our conversations in person were still reserved. During the school day, we basically ignored each other. It was through phone calls that we got close. I found out that he was smart, funny, and a prankster.

On June 1, 1991, we were hanging out with a group of our friends. While we were hanging out, Chris picked up the television remote to see if there were anything interesting to watch. One of the channels was playing the music video for the EMF song Unbelievable. Chris stopped on the channel and started singing, "Erica, will you be my girlfriend..." to the tune of the song. It was ridiculous and cute, and I said, "Yes."
band and chorus trip 1992, Myrtle Beach, SC
Our relationship wasn't always easy. We were young. I was shy and insecure, and he liked to laugh and have a good time. We had several arguments that led to several short break-ups, but we always ended up together again. He was two years ahead of me in school, so he graduated at the end of my sophomore year. He was set to leave for the University of Alabama in August, but several weeks before he was supposed to leave he told his parents he was staying home to attend Delaware State. They were not very happy. I encouraged him to go to Alabama, but he wanted to stay close to home. I graduated two years later and applied to colleges away. In the end, I decided to stay home and attended classes at the community college.

Chris asked me to marry him when I was 18 years old. I knew I wanted to marry him, so I said, "Yes." My family was against us. His family was apprehensive. Both of us felt the pressure to wait on a wedding. After two cancelled wedding dates, and the birth of our first child, we finally married on October 12, 1996.
I am very thankful that we stayed together. I know he is, too because he tells me often.


  1. Love it! I can't believe you went for such a "bad boy" :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. It is great to get to know my blogging friend better. Happy Anniversary! And I have to mention that your wedding anniversary is my Dad's birthday. What a great day! : )

  3. That's quite the story! Seems to support the idea "opposites attract." :)


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