It was at a little university nestled amongst the wheat fields of the northwest where Charles and I first met. Though we had friends in common we never really socialized or knew the other one. What did drew us together was the dining hall. He and his friends would strut across campus from their ‘men’s only’ dorm to the ‘women’s only’ hall that housed the dining center where we were all assigned to eat.
As a group, the 12 or so of us males and females as we fondly referred to each other would get our meals and meet at one particular set of tables in the back room of the center. Day after day as a group we shared meals, Charles at one end of the table and I at the other, never knowing that the other was there. We’d been introduced to each other in passing at one time, but we’d never actually talked.
But one night they served peas for dinner. And as we’d both arrived late for dinner and there were no free spots at our usual seats, we sat by each other at a different table. And there was a big, unadorned wall behind us.
Not knowing what to say, feeling the awkwardness of the moment, I asked this imposing red-headed, nerd-boy violinist studying electrical engineering sitting next to me “How far up do you suppose we can flick peas onto that wall behind us?”
My question startled him. But our friends were startled even more when he wordlessly picked up his spoon, filled the bowl with peas and flicked them up into the air and against the wall.
“Not very far, from what I can tell.”
“Do you suppose that it has to do with the angle of the spoon’s neck?”
“I don’t know, let’s find out.” And he bent the spoon, filled it with peas and once again let them fly.
All eyes were on the two of us as silence fell amongst our normally rambunctious crowd. Then the whispers started.
‘Is CHARLES flicking peas against the WALL?’
‘Oh. My. God. Did you see that?! Charles and Amy are flinging FOOD!’
‘What the hell, is this a food fight?’
‘Did she just *wink* at him!?’
And so it was. Acting completely out of character, we confused the closest of our friends. The shy, uncertain nerd girl and the straight-laced unassuming nerd boy were behaving completely inappropriately and as a result, it had begun. We’d shared a special moment. That one instant upon which the strongest of friendships is built. That single silly and memorable moment that was so out of character that even now years later, we reflect on it with smiles and twinkling eyes.
For nearly two years after that dinner that we were the closest of friends, never wanting to cross the line of friendship into that of ‘relationship’, fearing that we would lose that special bond that made what we had so magical.
It was only after a viewing of ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and a subsequent hike through wheat fields and an impassioned and sherry fueled verbal diatribe by me that he threw caution to the wind and asked me to marry him.
And so it is that this month Charles and I celebrate our 19th year of marriage.
Nineteen years spent with one man, one person. Nineteen years with my best friend. The one who was willing to see if the angle of the spoon determined how high up the peas would hit the wall.
I know that life with me, and now the minions, is never predicable. And at times is quite challenging. Yet we are so fortunate that we still see the magic in what we have, and that we are able to stumble upon those occasions in which we find time to test the angle of the spoon.
I love you my Charles, and I look forward to seeing what the year ahead brings for us.