Daily Archives: February 14, 2006

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The Proof is in my iPod

February 14, 2006 by in category Archives tagged as

By Michele Cwiertny

December 1, 1988. I’d bolted upright in my bed before the alarm shrieked and knew, just knew, that on December 1st my life was going to change. I had no reason to assume that day would be any different than the rest. And I can’t explain how I’d come to this conclusion. I just did.

Giddiness carried me through the school day.

Everywhere I turned–in the halls, in the quad, in the gym, by the lockers–I hoped to discover who, or even what, would rock my world enough to waken me before my bedside alarm startled me to consciousness. Believe me, not just anything or anyone could accomplish such a feat. Seriously.

But I tucked myself into bed that night, confused and defeated. Nothing had changed.

Closing my eyes, I decided to forget the whole thing. I’d been acting ridiculous and merely chocked it up to an over-active imagination. Life was the same as ever. And I just wanted to make it through my senior year, relatively unscathed.

So, I did just that.

The following year, I’d just taken a retail job at a mall. My second day on the job, in walks this guy about six feet tall and around twenty-years-old. His hair: dark and spiky. His eyes: hazel. His fingers: long and slender. He wore all black and carried a portfolio. An artist.

Oh, man. An artist. I was hooked.

As I stood behind the cash-wrap, staring at him, he flicked a glance at me and smiled.

All I could do was pray I was returning his smile.

Without stopping, he proceeded through the store and into the back room. A co-worker. Woo-Hoo!

Each time we spoke over the next few days, we became closer. Soon, I found I looked forward to going to work at the mall–even the day after Thanksgiving!–just so I could get to know him better.

He was different than any other guy I’d met. He made me laugh.

About a week and a half later, I woke up before dawn and resolved that was the day to make my move. Our store’s holiday party would be coming up soon and I wanted to go with him, but I had to act quickly because two other girls from work made it perfectly clear they wanted to go out with him, too. And I was the newcomer.

Definitely a monumental decision for me, as I’d never had the courage or confidence to ask a guy on a date–shyness had nearly crippled me in high school.

That evening, I was at the register, and even through the crush of holiday shoppers, I knew the moment he entered the store.

He came straight over to me and waited while I finished helping a customer.

Then he stepped up to the glass counter, and said, “Here. I have something for you.”

A cassette. He was giving me something? I didn’t know what to say, except, “Thanks.”

“It’s a mix of songs I like. Thought you would, too.”

A mixed tape meant a guy really liked you, right? A familiar giddiness built inside me as I studied the cassette. For Michele was scrawled across the top. Even spelled my name right.

I swallowed back my excitement, and this time, I didn’t even need to summon the courage to lean in closer to him. “Do you want to go to the Christmas party with me?”

He flashed me a smile. “Yeah, I do.”

Just then, a customer barreled toward us and dumped her purchases next to the register. She pulled open her checkbook and asked, “Do you know the date?”

“It’s December 1st,” I answered, too happy to care that she’d interrupted such an important moment.

And that was when it hit me. December 1st. The day my life was going to change.

As I rang up the woman’s purchase, I sent him a sidelong glance.

He stood off to the side and waited for me.

And this time, I know I smiled.

Okay, so my life-changing moment happened a year later. I just needed to be patient.

This past December 1st, he walked into our house after work, concealing something behind his back.

“Here. I have something for you,” he said.

When I held out my hand, he presented me with an iPod. “I filled it with your favorite songs.”

Reminding me all over again why I love him.

So when friends ask me whether my husband and I still feel the romance, even after thirteen years of marriage, I grin.

“Oh, yeah,” I tell them. “The proof is in my iPod.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Michele Cwiertny

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