The topic of this week’s Writing Challenge is “Great Expectations.” My intent is to discuss an experience where the end result was nothing I had expected. Initially, my thoughts switched to something all too common in the world of Pinterest:
But like I said, it’s a very common occurrence. Just Google “Pinterest fails,” and you’ll instantly feel better about your less-than-stellar culinary skills. Thus, I dug deeper to find a story in which the reality was quite different than the expectation. This just happens to be the very instance in which I met my high school sweetheart and hubby of almost three years. First, let me clarify something concerning the title. We do not have babies yet, unless we’re referring to our Beagle, Siberian Husky, and Mini Rex bunny. The title was inspired by How I Met Your Mother, because I find/found that series quite amusing. Who knows, maybe one day when the question is asked by our little ones, I’ll just whip out this blog. Until then, I hope it can bring you some sort of entertainment.
If you would’ve asked me nine years ago where I might meet my future husband, my guesses would have been college, Barnes and Noble, or possibly in a park while walking my dog. Now, if you insisted I would meet my dream man in Wal-Mart, I would have laughed and then wondered why I deserved such an insult.
On November 1st, 2006, those expectations were shattered.
I was sixteen and my mother dragged me to Wal-Mart on a Wednesday night. My mother honed in on the shoe section, the smiley Rollback sign drew her in like a moth to a fluorescent light. While she swooned over boots priced only $9.98, I glanced around the store, hoping no one saw me tethered to her. Looking back on this, I wonder why the heck I rode with her…?
Ah, I know! I was taking guitar lessons at the time, several cities over. Because of the distance, she insisted on driving me there every Wednesday. Oh, the days when I played the electric guitar, a red Fender Strat to be exact…..Glad we got that cleared up! Now, back to the story!
I noticed a man walk by. A tall, dark, and handsome man sporting a blue Wal-Mart smock. Let me tell you, never have I seen anyone so dreamy in a Wal-Mart smock. I’m glad he’s kept it all these years.It makes for some kinky role-playing every now and then. 😉 Must edit myself lest future kids read this.
Anyway, my eyes met his (underneath his long skater hair), and I could say the rest is history. But you want more, right? Alright… If you insist….
The thing is, I wasn’t the kind of girl who just goes to stores and hits on unsuspecting employees. No, few teenagers were as shy and socially awkward as I. But when I saw this man, something told me that I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. Somehow I knew that if I never at least said “hi” to him,, I would regret it for a very long time.
So that’s what I did…after leaving my mother’s side to roam around the store for an hour. Seriously, it took me that long to find the courage to walk up to the guy. Being the chronic over-thinker I am, I rehearsed several scenarios in which I might strike up conversation.
What was the winning approach, you ask? Well, the plan was to grab one of those nifty little air fresheners for the car, bring it to him, and ask if he liked how it smelled.
I truly wish I was joking, but that was the best I came up with.
I meandered over to the shoe section, and like a lioness hunting a gazelle, I hid at the end of an aisle and waited for my prey to walk by. With clammy hands and shaky knees, I glanced around and through the aisles. Unexpectedly, he turned the corner from behind me. As he walked past, dutifully balancing a few boxes of shoes in his hands, I bolted into a hybrid of sprinting and stumbling to catch up to him.
“Excuse me!” I called out. He smoothly turned around, unaware that I’d been stalking him all along. And, not at all according to plan, the next thing that came out of my mouth was,“How are you doing today?”
So, the whole air freshener plot was bust at that point, and we proceeded to have a conversation that didn’t seem nearly as awkward as it probably was. Before we parted ways, I ended up with his number.
His shift ended at 10 that night, and even though I was camped out by the phone since 9:30, I didn’t call him until 10:03. You know, I didn’t want to seem desperate! It only took a few minutes of our three-hour-long conversation to confirm that he was, in fact, the one for me. Two days later, he was at my school’s football game to watch my marching band perform, and then he accompanied all of us band geeks back to Pizza Hut afterward.
The moral of the story here is to always be open to unexpected miracles. They say love can find us in the strangest places, and I’m now a firm believer in that. I certainly never expected that the shoe associate at Wal-Mart would be the one person in my life who never, ever gave up on me and who brought more joy to my life than I could ever imagine.
*Fun fact (or maybe not, you decide)! We met on 11/01/06.~~~We married on 06/01/11.
See the pattern? Well we didn’t! In fact, we didn’t even realize this until nearly a year after we were married!
Thanks for reading!