So how did we move from flirtatious friends into officially being a couple? Like any red-blooded American couple in the pre-9/11 world, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Not really (remember I said we were not that cool). More like an inappropriate amount of making out, Old Style Light and the music of Philip Glass. [For any future children reading this, neither of us have ever toyed with drugs, unless you count caffeine and nicotine. And contrary to BB’s claims, taking two sleeping pills in Congo after getting the worst news of your life does not make me addicted to sleeping pills.]
But let’s go back before the making out began a little bit for a story I forgot to share in the Before Dating Post Another huge part of what brought us together was good old-fashioned deception, mostly on my part. Because our Bible study drives were not quite enough to satisfy my desire to spend time with BB, I came up with another way for us to spend one on one time together. BB studied engineering in undergrad and fancies himself to be pretty smart. I had to take a general education math class as a freshman and chose Calculus. I asked BB to tutor me. What BB didn’t know was that I had already taken AP Calculus in high school and only took Calculus in college because I didn’t want to have to work hard. So, I faked my need for a tutor. He was such a good tutor though. Took it really seriously and was so cute. The good part was that I could just focus on his adorableness since I already knew the Calculus. I don’t think I told him this story until after we were married.
Did I mention anything about the leather pants yet? These stories just keep coming! The spring opera was called The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five by Philip Glass. It was the American premiere. Impressed because you love that opera? That’s what I thought. Not exactly La Boheme. BB played the Groom, I think, (I still have no clue what this opera was about). All that matters is he had to wear leather pants and a tight black shirt. God was really making this easy for me to be attracted to him. Again, why are there no pictures of this??
Back to dating. The aforementioned make out session happened on the last night of my freshman year. Apparently BB had committed to not making any real “moves” until I was no longer a freshman. Always the gentleman. The next day I moved back home for the summer. Thinking that I wouldn’t hear anything from BB again until the fall, I tried to put him out my mind. I underestimated BB’s determination. He managed to use the yellow pages to find a number for my grandfather and then track down my home phone number (this was before cell phones). He ended up visiting on his way home to Cincinnati. He then managed to call me almost every day all summer long, but I was rarely home. Because he was traveling all summer, I could never call him back. My poor mother must have thought I had some weird stalker. I know I did. He also wrote me long letters about Jesus, and I wrote him back. By the time I returned to school that fall, they were official – my relationship with BB and my relationship with Jesus.
From the moment we started dating, we were serious. That was the fall of 9/11, and I think everyone started to take life a little more seriously. We spent all our time together. We fought about politics. We picnicked in Lincoln Park. He cooked me dinner [hard to believe that now, but it did happen]. That Christmas, we went to Cincinnati, and I met his family. [I hyperventilated for about 20 minutes on I74 on the way.] While we were there, his grandmother Dorothy passed away, so I ended up riding with his cousins all the way to Reading, Pennsylvania for the funeral, and then I met his WHOLE family.
Meanwhile, we were both still singing and doing relatively well in our small music school pool. That following summer I went to Italy for five weeks to study Italian and music. That was not an easy couple of months. I missed him so much that I would actually run through town to the only pay phone in town every night to call him, so disappointed if he wasn’t there. BB was not a fan of me being there. He was a little worried about all those gorgeous Italian male temptations [never met them, if they exist] and was probably a little jealous that I was in this summer music program. Little did he know, it wasn’t exactly La Scala. Nisky and I drank a fair amount of red wine before the shows and then proceeded to try to get away with not going on stage at least one scene a night just to be funny. When I returned home, things were a bit rocky.
We were still in love, but we were not on the right track. For one, I came home having decided to quit singing and wanted to change my direction in life. We also had different views about our relationship – unspoken at the time. I wanted freedom. I was a college junior with her whole life ahead of her. I wanted to move across the world and do amazing things and hang out with interesting people. Marriage was the farthest thing from my mind. BB wanted a devoted wife. We started fighting a lot.
I had previously gone to counseling when I was younger, so I suggested we start going to couples’ counseling. Because we were students, we could go to the counseling center and see a real therapist for only $5 a session. These sessions saved our relationship for sure. We met with Bob every week for about five months. It wasn’t rocket science, but it got us back on the same track and gave us opportunities to work out the kinks. By the time we finished with Bob, BB was ready to propose [little did I know – I still was too young and dumb to see that marriage was coming].