Our Story: of Conspiring Friends, an Election, & a Subway Prophet
“The Mikes” (Mike E and Mike M) sat behind me and Heather in World Lit class fall quarter of my sophomore year. They were a comedy duo and for some reason, they included us. We picked and bantered, teased and goofed off the whole quarter, somehow incorporating the professor enough to avoid getting in trouble.
I needed the light-heartedness we had with those guys as I was floundering in the midst of a really sucky year of school and had pretty much sworn off dating, especially of guys named Scott. I half-hoped that maybe one of The Mikes would ask me out, but unless you count a couple of brotherly (and much-needed) “I can tell you need to talk to someone” dinners, I never got a single date out of either of them.
Well, that isn’t entirely true.
The Mikes were close friends with Scott. Scott had been engaged once before, but the summer before his senior year, she canceled the wedding and broke off their engagement. When he returned to college, he was burned, gun-shy, not looking.
The Mikes had agreed the first day of World Lit that I was The One for Scott, and they took matters into their own hands.
Scott walked up to me after the chapel service ended.
“Joy, hey, I am the secretary for the writing organization [we didn’t have fraternities, being a conservative Christian college and all]. You were nominated to be secretary at last meeting. I am supposed to talk you about it before the election.”
“Oh! Ok. What would I have to do?” I knew who Scott was because he was friends with The Mikes, but I hadn’t really talked to him before that night. He was a real man — about to graduate, wore a full beard, carried himself like a mature adult. I was a silly college sophomore girl, in way over her head with resident assistant (R.A.) responsibilities, trying to eke out as much fun as possible in between projects and part-time jobs. It never occurred to me that he’d even see me, let alone give me a second thought.
“It’s really simple. You just keep notes on our meetings, take attendance.”
“Ok, sounds easy enough. Do I need to campaign or anything?”
He grinned. “No, everyone will vote at the next meeting and then we’ll see what happens.”
“Thanks! I’ll wait and see then.” I grabbed my book bag and walked out a side door towards my dorm. Within minutes of entering my room, the phone rang.
“Hi Joy, it’s Scott.”
“Hi Scott.” He must have forgotten to tell me something.
“I have a couple of tickets to the symphony this weekend, and I wondered if you’d like to go with me?”
Uhhhhhhh….. this isn’t about the officer election…. he is actually asking me out. For real? A grown-up is asking me out on a real grown-up date? Didn’t see that one coming. Oh crap… you’re not saying anything. Come up with a coherent reply, Joy, before he dies or hangs up.
“I’d love to!”
So much for my resolution to never date a guy named Scott.
A couple of dates and several weeks later, Scott graduated from college and moved to New York City. Since I had two years left of school and Scott had been burned by long-distance relationships before, we agreed that we were NOT together. We promised to write ( and he is the first guy who kept a promise like that — he wrote me real letters on paper, with pens, mailed with stamps), and we both dated other people.
I didn’t think I’d see him again, but I kept writing – partly because I wasn’t ready to give up hope and partly because it was so much fun. He made me laugh like no-one else. One day, he wrote that a guy from his company
was coming on a recruiting trip to campus. He’d told the guy to look for me, and suggested to me that maybe I could snag an internship there for the next summer.
New York City? On my own? Get to spend a summer with Scott? That would be awesome. Aaaaand my parents would never go for that.
I went to the recruiting fair anyway — to get interview experience, I told myself. I found that recruiter, and was stunned when he said, “Hi Joy! I’ve been told I should hire you. Let’s do an interview right now.” The job sounded great, the location was to die for, and of course, Scott was there. When I left that afternoon I knew I had to try to make it happen.
Much to my amazement, my parents didn’t shoot down the idea, and I found an apartment to sublet, right across from Macy’s in Manhattan. My friends knew about Scott and began referring to my summer job as “your [insert mocking sarcasm and finger-quotes here] ‘internship.’ ”
I hoped Scott and I would date. I guessed that working 2nd shift together in a fast-paced high-pressure environment would tell me whether our relationship had any future. But I wasn’t assuming anything. We both knew we’d been dating other people and were being very careful not to expect anything.
The first weekend I was there, Scott offered to show me the city, a purely platonic sight-seeing tour. That morning, as we stood a proper 3-4 feet apart, waiting for the train to the Lincoln Center, a roving sketch artist walked up to us. He started drawing with a green Crayola marker on a huge pad of paper. Before we knew it, he’d drawn our profiles back to back and an enormous heart around the both of us. In scribbled script, he wrote “Love Forever” and then haggled with Scott to get $20 for it.
And prophetic. We had left staying 3-4 feet apart and “platonic” behind by the end of that day.
The Scavenger Hunt
I returned to school for my senior year knowing that Scott and I would marry. He found himself in yet another long-distance relationship, but bless his heart, he took the risk again.
I kept him up-to-date on my schedule (I traveled with the college debate team, and I didn’t want him to make plans to propose and then find out I wasn’t on campus!), and we moved from weekly handwritten letters to daily emails (oooooh, modernity!). I returned to NYC with his family to be his date for Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall at Christmas, and he visited my family at New Year’s (when he asked my dad if he could marry me, dad pointed out my quick temper with my sisters to be sure Scott was sure.). In February, he surprised me with an elaborate scavenger hunt ending on a bridge with him and a ring. We were married in September.
I forget when Scott finally told me that one of “The Mikes” gave him the symphony tickets on the condition that he take me. I know this: I got better than a date out of them, in the end.
Written for the prompt “Finding the One” at The Faith Barista.