Our Story Cont’d: “Night of Nights” or “When Aaron Ran Away”

I’ve been reposting our falling in love story, originally written down in 2007. This is the next installment, authored by me, Jennifer. Enjoy

October 9, 2007
I had, at this moment in time, standing in the multi purpose room at IHOP waiting to graduate, been building up this night in my head for five months.
Tonight, was my first date with Aaron. WELL, first I had to graduate.

I had gone over my outfit, a pink sweater and black silk skirt, approximately 100 times. The discards of outfits not nice enough were even now laying around my room in discarded heaps of color. I remember taking a long time with my makeup, something I never do, and standing in front of my room mates bathroom mirror, tweaking every piece of hair into just the right spot.

It had been a long week leading up to this. “Fun week” where interns do all kinds of fun stuff. More like “Fun if you like torture” week. The activities were great, don’t get me wrong, it was AGONY watching the clock tick…tick….tick away the seconds until I finally got to go out with Aaron. The excitement was actually making me sweaty and nauseous. Not attractive, so I tried to reign it in a little.

Before I tell you what happened, let me tell you how I’d pictured the moment I was officially graduated, and Aaron and I would sweep off onto our first date.

This is how I pictured it.

I would stand up, with the rest of my fellow interns, as Tracie anounced that we were graduated. I would turn to look at Aaron, our eyes would lock. I would benevolently, but coyly, hold out my hand. He would start towards me, eyes locked, sweeping chairs, people, and all other obstacles out of his way, while the love theme from Top Gun played in the background. Finally stepping close to me, he would smile, and sweep me into his arms, swinging me around in a hug. Maybe I would laugh. Maybe he would. We would be together, and in love, and it would be perfect.

Oh the stark joys of reality. Here is what really happened.

I stood up, heart POUNDING a rhythm hard in my chest, and looked around for Aaron while the applause of happy graduated interns and their parents rang in my ears. Sharon Jones, the sister of Aarons’ best friend, was sitting next to me, rubbing the nail marks out of her arm, where I had been clinging for the last hour.

I turned to find Aaron, eyes going to and fro over the crowd trying to locate him. Easy, because he’s the tallest person there, or one of them. Finally, I spot him, the Top Gun soundtrack starts to play as he turns and looks at me.

Except, instead of smiling, he is kind of looking gut shot. Gut shot, and caught in head lights. His face is completely white, his mouth pursed up, and his arms locked at his sides. Um, he is NOT running towards me like he’s supposed to. I am confused. I tilt my head and smile. My smile hits him like a 350 mag bullet to the forehead. He freezes even tenser than before, and with an almost unnoticeable shake of his head,

HE WALKS AWAY. AS IN THE OPPOSITE WAY. As in, away from me.

What. The. Heck.

I am not amused. In fact, the adrenaline, and having to bring all that Top Gun music to a mental screeching halt, brings a metallic taste into my mouth. This isn’t right! What is his problem!?

As Aaron sped away in the other direction, I grabbed Sharon, fully intending to hold her responsible for Aarons craziness.

“Where is he going?” I hiss to Sharon.
“I have no idea.” Sharon replies, far more used to these small town boys than I. “Maybe he’s nervous.”
“Nervous?” I ask, completely confused. “Why?!”
Sharon at this point would like the circulation back in her arm, and simply shrugs.

Now, I have not waited 5 months for this boy to have him run away. Like any meek, submissive girl, I sit and wait for him to come back.
WRONG!

I went after him, and after a few mildly awkward moments, we are standing together while Sarah snaps a picture of us. In this picture, which I have on my mantel, we look flushed, tired, and slightly sick. But we’re together for the first time.

Aaron packs me into his car, “no radio,” he apologizes, and drives me the ten feet to my apartment so I can change.

Sitting idling in the driveway, he looks over and smiles at me, and for the life of me I can not remember what he said. All I know is, he leaned over, and kissed my cheek and said “I’ll wait out here.”

Never before has such a beautiful sentence been uttered. Finally, the Top Gun music got a chance to play.

I changed, Aaron waited, and we went over to hang out at his apartment. He got on the phone with my dad, while I sat next to him, and asked for permission to date me, and I can only assume my dad said yes.

I couldn’t get over just being able to sit next to him, it was so weird, and strange and great, all at the same time. I had to get on a plane at 5am the next morning, and we stayed up all night. We even went to IHOP and got pancakes before the airport. It was -9 that night, and I remember how frigidly cold the car was driving up there.

Standing at the airport, I put on his sweater, (he kindly, in a good boyfriend way, loaned it to me.) and got on the plane to go home for Christmas. I didn’t take the sweater off very much, and we talked pretty much every day. That’s how our dating life began.

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About Jennifer James

I'm a full time mom who works full time. I'm a painter, a dreamer, and a believer that the most feminist thing you can do is adore your femininity. I say what I think, when it's appropriate for sharing. I write when I feel like I have something to say. I love always.

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