Every year around this time, I reflect on where my life was compared to where I am today. It's hard to believe that 5 years ago I was 7 months on the job in Corporate America, working hard to move up the ladder but at the same time wondering if my life would have more substance than just work.
I had moved to Charlotte in June of 2001 to start my job at "Big Power", only a month after graduating from college. I started going to a mega church and quickly plugged into a Sunday School class in order to meet some friends and, of course, maybe a guy I could date. The class I attended was a singles class and almost all of us were young corporate guys and gals in the same boat as me. We ended up having a ton of fun together going to movies, dinner, and other outtings, all the while feeling the waters for something deeper with the opposite sex. A lot of the group started coupling off, finding connections with the friends we had made, gravitating to the ones who had what we were looking for.
One Sunday in November '01 during a "Bible Trivia" day, this new guy, introduced as the SS teacher's best friend, visited our class. He apparently was a student at Elon college and was home on break. He was on the opposite team as me and answered a bunch of the questions right and I remember thinking I had to meet that guy. A few of my friends knew who he was since they went to college with him. I don't remember meeting him that day, but a month later when he visited again and I made sure I sat right next to him to introduce myself. "Hi, I'm Melanie. So, you're Dave's best friend?" "Yes I am. I'm Patrick". And there it began.
A few weeks later, my roomie, Courtney, who knew him from college, planted a bug in both of our ears about the possibility of dating. We were both interested, but didn't make any moves. We just sort of let the dynamics of the Sunday School class lead the way; we went out to dinner with the group, went to see a movie with the group, and just hung out with a bunch of people, which helped ease the awkwardness of the immature phase of "I like you. You like me. But what the heck do we do with that?"
On January 29th of 2002, Patrick asked me if I wanted to go to lunch with him after church, which I accepted, suppressing the true excitment I was feeling about it. I guess you could call this our first "official" date, though we weren't dating at the time. We had a nice lunch and I was impressed at how attentive he was in our conversation (though to this day I don't remember what we talked about). Later that night, we were supposed to play indoor kickball at the church gymnasium with the SS group, but I suggested that we could be each other's excuse to not go and just hang out together after the evening service. He thought that was a good idea. So, we met back up a church that night and afterwards, went to Blockbuster to rent a movie. He suggested "Les Miserables", which I had never seen and was shocked that he chose such a movie (he scored MAJOR points with that one). I thought it was romatic of him. So, we went back to my place, I cooked dinner and then we watched the movie. We held hands during the movie and afterwards, we agreed that we'd like to be more than just friends.
This was the first time in a long time I had dated a guy and my history accredited 2 prior relationships, both of which lasted a few weeks at the most. I went to bed that night thinking that I hope it would last for longer than 3 weeks...at least getting me through Valentine's Day since I had never had a boyfriend on that holiday (let alone other holidays...). I know, I know...that was a very shallow thought of me, but I would say that I was a bit shallow when it came to relationships at that time. As the anniversaries of our early relationship milestones pass, I will jot them down and share them with you...there are several in Feb!