That’s the response that I receive twenty-five percent of the time I show up solo at a group event.
“He’s in Colorado. As a matter of fact he’s been in Colorado for the past five months.”
“Oh that’s right. I remember now!”
And every time it happens I am astonished that someone could forget something so big as a significant other moving two states away from home. Sometimes he even gets invites to do things with friends here at home but he has to turn them down because, well, because he’s a thousand miles away enduring the knee-deep snow. And they forgot!
Now, it doesn’t happen with everyone. The majority of the time I am greeted with “How’s Aaron doing?” or “Have you heard from Aaron lately?” Heard from him? I talk to him at least two hours every day! And when I tell them that, I seem to get the same uniform response of “You talk to him every day?!”
“Yeah. It doesn’t seem like a lot though. Actually, it doesn’t feel like I talk to him enough.”
And my name has even changed from simply “Hannah” to “HannahandAaron.”
I find it amusing how when people start dating they soon lose their own identity. Two names become one; For example, “Will and Grace,” “Lucy and Ricky,” or “Mork and Mindy.” (Ignore the fact that those were the names of TV shows and embedded into our brains.) It’s hard to imagine one without the other. And I’ll admit that I am guilty of doing that with my friends. But in all honesty, I’m beginning to like being a part of a duo. And that has been a long process; I haven’t always been a dating-slash-relationship enthusiast.
In all honesty, I was a late bloomer. All through high school I swore off boys. (Like there were many to choose from in my school – I had a graduating class of 28!) I was too focused on making good grades and I didn’t want to waste my time on someone I know I had no future with. I didn’t want to date just to “date.” I wanted to date to marry. Why give a piece of your heart away when you know it’s just going to be broken in the end? I didn’t want to go through that so I didn’t start dating until my sophomore year in college. And even then it wasn’t even serious. I would go on a date with a guy and immediately I would know that there wasn’t a future. I called it “friendly dating.”
Then I met Aaron.
I met him the first semester of my sophomore year of college. We were both taking a voice and diction class. He was a voice major and I was a theatre major. This point in my life is when, I’ll admit, I started looking at guys and eyeballing for potential “daters” – unsuccessfully.
But I still wasn’t in any rush. After all, I was only a sophomore and wasn’t planning on getting married any time soon. So I just relaxed and decided that I would let the right guy find me.
Aaron and I exchanged friendly “hellos” and “goodbyes” throughout the semester and we had a few quick conversations about our voice lessons. Finally, at the end of the semester I told him that he should come see our Christmas show because I was playing the lead. He said he would. But what I forgot to tell him is that it was double cast so when he showed up to see the show I was sitting at the box office selling tickets and my counterpart was backstage getting ready to go on. I felt terrible and told him that I wasn’t playing until the next weekend. He shrugged it off, saw the show with my counterpart, and came back the next weekend to see me perform (and even paid the ten dollars). After the show he gave me hug and told me that he loved it.
I had encouraged him to audition for the spring musical since he was a voice major, after all, and might even get a kick out of the whole acting part of it. We were doing The Wizard of Oz and when I showed up at auditions he was there. It made me happy that I had talked him into it because he ended up getting cast as the singing guard (with a solo!) and being understudy for the Tin Man. (I got Dorothy, by the way.)
Over the course of rehearsals and the production we went out to lunch on our breaks and exchanged phone numbers. One time he even called me to ask me something about the rehearsal and production schedule; He wanted to know what “strike” meant. I thought he was just making up an excuse to call me but he really thought that it was a joke and that after we were through with the show that the whole cast was going to go on strike. It made me chuckle.
Soon, we made a sort-of-date to go see our voice teacher perform a doctorate’s recital at Rice University. Neither one of us were sure of the directions so I brought my three-hundred page map book of the city of Houston and warned him when he arrived at my house to pick me up that I was a complete map nerd and was fully prepared in case we got lost. He laughed at my quirkiness and we were on our way.
The whole time I was absolutely comfortable with him and it was easy to be myself. I had never been that comfortable with someone. After our Rice University adventure we went on what he calls our “official first date.” He took me to Pei Wei and then we sat in Borders and talked until they kicked us out. It was the best date I had ever been on.
The night before Easter Sunday he invited me over to his house to have dinner with his family and to celebrate his early birthday. I had met his parents and sister before at one of his choir concerts but his grandfather, aunt, uncle and cousin would be there. For dinner we ate barbecue chicken and ribs and afterwards I gave him the present I had gotten him, The Case for Christ by Lee Stroble. I was relieved when he said he hadn’t read it.
After his extended family left we sat around and talked with his parents for a little while until it was time for him to take me home.
I remember we were making a U-turn close to my neighborhood and I blurted out, “Can I ask you a question?”
“You can ask me anything.” he said.
“Do you like me?”
“Of course I like you.”
“No, I mean…do you liiiiiiike me?”
He smiled. “Yes I like you.”
“I like you too.”
When we got to my house we sat outside by the pool and stared at the stars while we talked. We talked for hours – about anything and everything. Our chairs were about three feet apart and I fought the urge to scoot my chair right next to his and lean my head on his shoulder. I was embarrassed. I had never been the kind of girl to swoon over a guy. I’ve always been like Beatrice from “Much Ado About Nothing,” swearing off men for life.
Here I was majorly crushing. But unlike the few crushes I had before, he was crushing back.
That was when he asked me to be his girlfriend so to make it “official.” By that time it was almost three a.m. I told him that since we were “official” that I supposed it was okay if I scooted my chair next to his. I did and I gathered up the courage to lean my head on his shoulder.
It has been almost nine months since that night by the pool and here I am completely head over heals. Aaron was my first kiss. He was the first guy to say “I love you.” He was the first one that I had ever said “I love you” to. He’s my first love. I never thought there was a decent guy on this earth until I met him. God really knew what he was thinking.
I have realized that I’m growing up and that relationships are no longer teeny-bopper romances that last less than a week. I’ve always said that I didn’t want to date someone just to “have a boyfriend.” For me, dating is searching for that special someone with whom you will share the rest of your life.
So if people decide to combine our names together like they did “Bennifer” and “Tomkat,” I won’t be offended. As a matter of fact I’ll be flattered that I get to share a name with someone so wonderful.