Saturday, March 28, 1998 (6 weeks after meeting Dan) my diary reads, “I swear I am living in a movie!”
We drove to Cincinnati to try to find somewhere cool to eat. On our way to eat we ran in to a theater to see what was playing.
On a whim we bought tickets to see “Rent”, because Dan had been wanting to see it. Watching the show I felt like country mouse in the big city. I was wide-eyed at the fantastic costuming, lighting, amazing music, compelling lyrics and characters. I was swept away. Not to mention the serious hand-holding that was happening as we experienced our own little “no day but today”.
After the musical we wandered around Fountain Square (where the Junior/Senior banquet had been held the previous year). Then we wandered up on the sky-bridge that connects the Westin hotel to Convention Center, Carew Tower, and Tower Place Mall offering us a romantic view of Fountain Square lit up at night.
We stood at the railing watching people below, letting the warm breeze blow over us with arms around each other’s waists thinking our own private thoughts. I looked up at him and we “bonked” foreheads. Then he gave me “the look” and I knew he was comin’ in for the kill.
I closed my eyes, tilted my head left (hoping I was going the right direction) and felt his lips lingering on mine in a soft, warm caress. I also felt a few strands of my hair that had blown across my lips at the last second. (How do movie stars keep their lovely locks out of the way during those intimate moments with the wind machine whipping things all around?)
We pulled back and I smiled. I’m sure I said something dumb like “I think my hair was in there”, and he replied, “was that O.K.?” I nodded, or said yes and that was all the permission he needed. He leaned in again and this time we put on a show. We had lip, tongue, and potential tooth-chipping action going on.
As we pulled away, I started to giggle at our shocking public display of affection (PDA) until Dan cupped my face in his hands and moviesquely said “I’m so happy, Jenna”.
Just a week after our first peck (followed by our second super-steamy kiss), Dan gave me a card that made my jaw drop. It wasn’t the quote on the front that said “Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”, but what was written inside that stopped me in my tracks.
Hold on tight. I can’t help it; I’m falling in love with you. You amaze me. This is your fault, though. You make me feel this way. Thanx for the ride.
A few weeks later I was still floating on the ripples of our earlier lip-locking, yet consumed with decisions about my professional writing internship. A classmate and I were hand-picked to interview against each other at MYCOM, Inc. located in Cincinnati–the top internship being offered for technical writers that year.
I spent an extremely memorable Easter break at Roxanne’s house (Daddy, Daddy…watch the lamb…) in Michigan after interviewing and waiting to hear the final results regarding my internship. While talking on the phone with Dan one night I brought up my concern about being apart for the entire summer. Dan said not to worry about it, because in his mind “3 months is nothing when you’re looking at a long future ahead together.“
After knocking my socks off with that one, he threw me another curve ball in the form of a “hypothetical situation”. He asked if we “hypothetically” got married in the summer after we graduated, and if we were both student teaching that summer, would I want to get married before or after student teaching (us double majors were challenged to cram it all into 4 years).
Thinking the phone was jacked up or that I couldn’t hear him too well, I told him we’d have to wait and finish this conversation when we were back on campus together face-to-face. I couldn’t believe that I was hearing him correctly.
I received the internship in Cincinnati for the summer. Dan was headed to England for a summer missions trip then back to NJ to work. I was afraid I had made the selfish choice–choosing me and my career over him and our relationship.
May 3, 1998 (3 months into our relationship) my diary reveals that, “O.K., I’m scared. I think Dan and I might be slowing down to a stop. He’s scared, I’m scared. Dan thinks we need to slow down, not talk about marriage until after this summer is over because we need to get to know each other, not just talk about this stuff (marriage).”
There were some awkward times after that. One night when I planned the evening and we were driving to McDonald’s to get a bite to eat then see a dollar movie, he insinuated that it wasn’t a very creative plan. I nearly pulled over to the side of the road to let him out so he could walk himself to a “funner” date…
As the days drew closer to say “goodbye” for the summer, we seemed to get more and more distant. After a conspicuously frustrating evening together, we were standing by a waterfall just contemplating. I could tell he was antcy and asked what was wrong. He wasn’t cracking, so I had to keep cajoling and digging. Finally, I asked if he needed to tell me something (fearing a break-up might be imminent). I asked him if it was about this summer. When he wasn’t budging, I kissed him a few times to try to butter him up and get him to talk.
Then it came. And it was not what I expected at all…