Courtesy of Marylandpinkandgreen.com
This morning as I was driving into work I remembered this guy I dated when I was 19. I haven’t thought of him in years, but I think Facebook told me a while back that he’s married with a baby now. I was home from college for the summer and working at Kohl’s in the lingerie department. He was a couple of departments down in the shoe section. I had a feeling he liked me, but It took him most of the summer to work up the nerve to ask me out. If I remember correctly, our first date was a really terrible movie. Shoe guy was completely smitten with me and was one of those guys who probably would have happily been faithful and treated me like a princess. Unfortunately, my 19-year-old self had a very specific checklist of what I wanted in a guy (artistic, bohemian, long hair, genius-level intelligence) and this guy didn’t get that many check marks on my list. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned that artistic and bohemian may not be the best criteria for selecting a reliable, responsible and loyal partner, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, Shoe Guy and I only dated about three or four weeks before I told him it wasn’t going to work out between us. I went back to school and he stayed in the shoe department. I was flippant and casual about it like it was no big deal. I think that at that time I didn’t realize that two people in a relationship could feel very different things and I remember being surprised by how hard he took it.
Even though our relationship was short-lived, I still remember something he did for me that makes me smile whenever I think about it every couple of years. For whatever reason, Shoe Guy’s idea of a good time was hanging out at Manassas Mall (perhaps this was one of the reasons our relationship didn’t work out). Whenever we’d go there I’d always buy a gumball from those little 25 cent machines. This is a childhood thrill I’ve never been able to outgrow. I can rarely pass a gumball machine without feeling the urge to pull out a quarter and enjoy the sugary deliciousness. But back to the story: I’d always be really happy when I got a pink gumball and disappointed when it was any other color. Well, one day Shoe Guy showed up at my house with a huge cup of pink gumballs. He said it took him forever to fill the cup up and I remember feeling so very touched, even though I knew the relationship was doomed. You may be thinking that it’s sad that I still remember this as the epitome of a romantic gesture in my life, but I remember it so fondly for the following reasons:
1.) It was a completely unexpected and pleasant surprise. It was something I was happy to get but didn’t need
2.) It showed clear planning and effort on his part — he had a very clear vision of something he could do that would make me happy
3.) It demonstrated that he cared enough to pay attention to a detail as small as the fact that I liked pink gumballs
This memory made me feel happy this morning.