if you do that math, 3.24.93 was sixteen years ago. sixteen years ago today, marc and i were sitting on a couch in the hardy-wright lounge at college, chatting the evening away like we had been doing for a couple of weeks. the only difference this night was that after dinner, i had told marc i needed help with something in the computer lab that i didn't understand. (total lie on my part.) and marc, being a computer science major and having access to the lab after hours, said sure. we walked over, i did my fake thing and he gave me advice, and we walked back.
but on the walk back, our hands started to swing in unison. and then our knuckles bumped into each other once or twice. and then without warning ... he ever so quietly wrapped my fingers into his. and we held hands the rest of the way back to the dorm.
when we walked into the lounge, still holding hands, our friend dave, who was working at the desk, noticed. as marc and i sat on the couch, dave came over and not-so-subtly pointed out the new hand-holding thing, and asked us if this meant we were finally admitting we were dating.
marc and i looked at each other.
"well, are we dating?" marc asked.
"looks like we are," i answered.
and that was it.
i'm still not quite sure what it was about him that drew me in. obviously, he was seriously cute. 6'4" of lean muscle and warm brown eyes that twinkled when he smiled. he was always nice, polite, well-mannered, even-tempered. i never heard anyone say a bad thing about him, and everyone - from our friends to people he only knew from the basketball court to old ladies at church - respected him and admired him.
but there were downsides, too. he wore windpants everywhere he went. and the ugliest shirts i'd ever seen. and this chain. and his hands ... ugh. and his arms were covered with veins that poked out about an inch from the surface of his skin. and he played basketball; more than that, he was a jock. he could dunk a ball, and spent all the hours he wasn't in class (or was *supposed* to be in class) either in the fieldhouse or in front of a video game.
he wasn't one of the "smart" guys; he had no appreciation of literature or broader topics. school was an afterthought unless it was a computer class. he was just killing time. i questioned his ambition and whether he took things seriously enough. (at 19, i was ALL about being serious. as in, seriously ready to get out of school and just get on with it already.)
but then i'd see him walking down the sidewalk in those turquoise wind pants, that chicago bulls jacket, his long legs, his perfect round athletic butt ... and i melted and wanted nothing more than to sit in the fieldhouse and watch him dunk, and giggle like a ninny.
so when he held my hand that night, and told dave we were dating, i couldn't believe that i ... nothing-special-michele ... had gotten so lucky. suddenly i was dating a guy all the other guys liked, respected, wanted to be on the basketball court, and the guy that so many girls noticed and wanted to notice them back.
even to this day, i wonder that. because as it turned out, marc IS smart; brilliant, in fact, at what he does. people want to know what he thinks. people he's never met want his advice because they've heard he's the man who knows about amazingly brilliant linuxy things. he is crazy savvy with business, much moreso than i ever even imagined. he is successful and getting more successful and respected each year. and he's still a genuinely nice and good and decent man. he has no vices - doesn't drink, smoke, swear, go to the booby bars during work trips with all the other guys. sure, he's on the computer or phone way more than i would like, but the alternatives are so much worse. he's turning into a car guy, but i can give him that. that's pretty okay.
he's still damn hot; i wonder how i got so lucky in that department. from business dress to cargos and sweatshirts, he makes my heart race. and no matter how badly i feel about myself after two kids, we still can't keep our hands off each other. he loves me wholly and completely, no matter what.
he is kind, he is a patient and creative father, he is a stable force when things go crazy. i always feel safe and protected with him, and i know that he will be pragmatic and level-headed when i go off the deep end.
when marc and i had been dating about a year and were starting to get serious and talk about "someday," i asked my mom how you know when you've found the person you want to spend your life with; how you know this will be the person you'll want to wake up to day in and day out for the next fifty years or more. and her answer boiled it down better than anything i'd ever heard:
"marry someone who is your best friend, and you want to jump them all the time."
hallelujah. i knew i'd found him. and sixteen years later, i look at marc and still get butterflies in my stomach. i never want to be out of reach. the good, the bad, the ugly ... we take it all, and at the end of the day we still want to make out.
i'm just thankful he gave up the ugly shirts. because then, who knows.