Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In the Beginning

anniemcq emailed me this morning to make sure I understood that she was not offended that I used her sweet, innocent child as the starting point to a story about anonymous sex in public spaces. She also expressed the desire to give my pea-coated, pipe-smoking, bearded nineteen-year-old self a hug. It occurred to me that my nineteen-year-old self could've used a hug, and it was a good thing he connected soon thereafter, despite himself, with the future Mrs. Rodius.

So, even though I should probably be saving up this kind of thing for NaBloPoMo, I thought it was the perfect time to tell the story of "How Mrs. Rodius and I Met and Didn't Murder Each Other."

She lived on the floor below mine in the dorm, which, rumor had it, had once been a mental hospital. There were strange inserts in the doors that I heard used to be removable for shoving trays of food through to the nutjobs. I wished I'd lived in the dorm across the street, which was dark, musty, and mazelike, with low ceilings and uneven floors. It was rumored to be haunted.

My first impression of Mrs. Rodius was that she was definitely out of my league. She was a sophomore, and I was a freshman. She's four months younger than I, but I had spent my first year out of high school taking only a couple of classes at the local community college before following my Brandeis-attending girlfriend to Boston. We maintained a long-distance relationship for a year after high school, but within a month of me moving to Boston, that girlfriend had dumped me. She liked me more when she saw me less.

Mrs. Rodius was confident. She had friends. She walked with authority, thumping her heels through the hallway like she had places to go and people to see. She had a boyfriend who wore a fireman's coat. It was the coolest coat I'd ever seen, much better than my pea coat and felt cap. I was jealous of him in his coat. He also had a job at the college radio station, and you can't get much cooler than that. I later found out, though, that the coat really was his best feature.

I was also in the same French class as Mrs. Rodius. I had two years of French in high school, but Mrs. Rodius had no previous French experience. She had taken Russian instead, a fact that made her even more intimidating. But she was defensive about the fact that she was behind the rest of the class due to her lack of previous experience in French. I was a little cocky because I felt sure my pronunciation was lightyears ahead of the rest of the class, what with my familiarity with Inspector Clouseau and all. Consequently, I thought she was a bitch, and she thought I was an ass.

Our professor was much amused by our interactions in class and decided always to pair us together in classroom exercises. He even took me aside after class one day and asked me to take her under my wing, as it were, and correct her pronunciation at every opportunity, thereby jacking up my ass factor considerably. Our annoyance for each other began to really blossom over the first few months of the semester into a deep and abiding dislike.

Over time, though, our dormroom proximity and my tendency to skip class for no good reason began to bring us together. We came to each other to find out what homework assignments we may have missed. She began to spend more and more time in my room, finding great pleasure in toying with one of my roommates who was, incredibly, an even greater ass than I. We discovered a shared appreciation for Captain Morgan and Diet Coke. She started treating my roommate and I very well at the sandwich shop at which she worked, one of a couple of jobs she held while paying her own way through school. I was impressed by that, because I was attending entirely on my parents' dime, as were most of the student body there. And for the most part, those who had it the easiest were achieving the least.

By the time the school year ended, we'd become good friends. She dumped the boyfriend with the cool coat, whose ass factor was also greater than mine, though perhaps not greater than my roommate's. With the free ride from my parents ending, I couldn't afford to come back to school after the summer, but I moved into an apartment with my roommate, who wanted to stay close since he would be returning. So by the next fall semester, I was working full-time and no longer a part of the college community, though I stayed close to it.

Mrs. Rodius went back to her parents' home for the summer and returned in the fall looking absolutely smoking. She'd worked out all summer, partly out of revenge against the ex-boyfriend, and she looked amazing. I honestly didn't realize that I was attracted to her, though. I wrote SWSIL (Social Worker Sister-in-Law) a letter telling her about my good female friend, and how nothing would ever happen between us because our friendship was too strong.

Five days after I sent that letter, the roommate and I were throwing a party; Mrs. Rodius was working late that night and would miss most of the party, but I invited her to come over after work for a margarita and a massage. I think she believes that this was me being smooth, but honestly, smooth was not in my repetoire. She came over long after the party had petered out. We sat on the couch and talked. Eventually, she asked me, "What would you do if I kissed you?" I think I said something like, "I'd probably kiss you back." And so we did. Now, fifteen years later, there's finally a third attendee at the party. I'm glad he's here, but it's strange no longer being alone on the couch together, after all this time.


PureLight said...

Beautiful story, beautifully told!

Minivan mom said...

That is so sweet.

Rich also thought I was a bitch when we met on campus. I like to say that's because I was so much cooler and popular than him (which I was) that, as a defense mechanism, he decided I was a bitch.

But he still wanted me.

He caught me on the rebound after a VBB (very bad breakup) and somehow, I ended up marrying the rebound boy. Go figure.

anniemcq said...

Yay! I love these "How we met" stories. Now I want to hug both you AND the Mrs.! So. dang. sweet.

SUV mom said...

Wonderful post, IR. AND I really mean that. I must tell you my relationship with hubby began in a similiar quote you... "Consequently, I thought she was a bitch, and she thought I was an ass." Those were out first thoughts as well! But it's been over 11 years, 2 kids, and numerous pets so I quess a bitch and an ass can make it work. LOL Thanks for sharing.

shannon skolaut said...

love it! Love your blog! I can't seem to keep up with mine!

I, Rodius said...

Thanks! I can't seem to keep up with mine either, at least not like how I used to. It's harder to come up with as much to say about being a stay-at-home dad these days, since it's lost most of its novelty. Plus, since getting a Facebook account, it's easier to write a sentence or two there than a few paragraphs here. Facebook Ate My Blog! Maybe I should blog my status updates, like this perfectly nice lady:

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