Kids, back in the spring of 2009, I was having a pretty rough week. Work was incredibly stressful and hard at the time. I’d just gotten my review and I was disappointed in myself and my behavior. I was carrying around a lot of guilt. On top of that, my Zoloft prescription was running out and I hadn’t found a doctor yet who could fill it. I was in a horrible mental state.
At the end of that awful week, I went to the roller derby. Your aunt Judy was on the derby team back then. Since I didn’t know how to skate, I helped with the tickets. Uncle Tony was one of the announcers. We always had a fun time at the rink.
As the crowd filed into the rink, I handed out tickets at the will-call table. During a lull in the line, I looked up and saw a guy I thought I recognized. I couldn’t quite place him though and before I could get the nerve to say anything, he was through the doors to see girls in fishnets hurt each other. Later, when the bout was over, I said goodbye to Judy and Tony and headed for home. They were disappointed that I wasn’t going to the after party but I am not one to go to bars and drink. I was about a mile away from the rink when I thought, “Fuck it. I’ve had a rough week. I deserve a drink!” I turned the car around and headed back to the rink where I found Judy and Tony. They were thrilled.
Most of the crowd had dissipated at this point and the only people left were those cleaning up. That familiar guy was still around so I pointed him out to Judy. “I think I know that guy.”
“That’s Fredo!” she exclaimed.
“That’s Fredo from The Godfather!”
Tony chimed in. “You’re right, it is!”
Sheepishly I admitted, “I’ve never seen The Godfather.”
That could have been the end of my friendship with your aunt Judy and uncle Tony but thankfully they forgave me.*
A little while later I was texting my sister about this guy, still racking my brain as to where I’d seen him before. He walked past me and despite my shyness, I blurted out, “Did you go to…” and then I named my college.
“I surely did,” he responded.
We introduced ourselves and chatted for just a little bit. I prodded a little, trying to figure out if we had taken any classes together but we didn’t. I figured that I must have just seen him around campus (it was a small school).
“I should probably get back to my friends,” he said. “Will you be at the after party?”
“I’ll see you there.”
At the bar, I started to get nervous. I hadn’t been thinking about possibly picking up a boy because most of my energy was focused on figuring out how I knew him. With that mystery solved, my brain was free to worry and think of all the possibly bad things that could happen. I got a drink to try to shut it up.
I sat at one of the long tables with half of the team. I was facing the door and I was trying to be as casual as possible as I watched it for Fred**. When I finally spotted him, he wasn’t looking at me nor was he even looking around for me. I started to steel myself for the possible disappointment that this was just another guy I would know and not anything more.
A little while later, the waitress came up to our table and said to the girl next to me, “Someone would like to buy you a drink.”
Thinking it was a fan (it’s not unusual for fans to buy girls on the team drinks), she told the waitress that it was okay. The waitress then asked if she could bring him over. The roller girl shrugged and replied, “I don’t mind but my husband might.” I was halfway gone so I thought this was the funniest thing alive. I started laughing really hard and loudly. The waitress went off.
A few minutes later she returned, saying she made a mistake. “I was supposed to ask you,” she said, looking at me. I was dumbfounded. Guys don’t buy me drinks. Guys don’t try to pick me up. “You’re wrong,” I told her. “Guys don’t ask me out.” I must have convinced her because she left again, but this time she seemed to be in a huff.
I watched as she walked over to Fred, grabbed his arm, and drug him to my side. She sat him down in the empty seat next to me and left for the final time. I think Fred was a little embarrassed but I didn’t care. I thought it was incredibly sweet.
We talked for quite a long time. We got along well (he had two cats; being an animal lover is a must for me). Near the end of the evening the waitress walked by us, giving us a wink and Fred stopped her. “I think I owe you a tip!” he said and slipped her some singles. No doubt, she earned her tip that night.
And that, kids, is how I met my boyfriend.
*I have since remedied this problem.
**No, his real name is not Fred. I changed it to protect the guilty, uh, innocent. I picked Fred because it’s one letter away from Fredo. Also, I used to have a huge crush on Fred Savage.