Twenty years ago I sat in front of an annoying fellow in pathophysiology class. He was a stereotypical class clown, always whispering jokes in my ear while the professor lectured, and it became his daily mission to make me laugh at the most inopportune moments of the lesson.
Unlike Mr. Wisecrack, I was a no-nonsense kind of student who took meticulous notes and his whimsical commentaries during lectures were not the least bit appreciated. In fact, I found the guy infuriating since his stupid jokes did make me laugh, or rather snort, aloud in class like an idiot. And who got in trouble for these delightful outbursts? Me.
So when Sir Smarty-pants tapped me on the shoulder one day and asked me to go out with him on a date, I gave him a snappy and much deserved ‘no.’ He’d caused me enough trouble in class with his silliness and the last thing I needed was more distraction from him. Besides, he was probably just joking about the date anyway – you never knew with a comedian like that. Except that he wasn’t joking and was suddenly as serious as the myocardial infarction we just covered.
When he insisted again despite my refusal, I told him the only way I’d agree to a date was if he could take me somewhere I’d never been before. There wasn’t a restaurant, theater, or bowling alley in Central Arkansas I hadn’t set foot in. The man had no chance.
He rubbed his chin in contemplation. “Hmm… I’ve got it! I’ll take you ice skating. Bet you’ve never done that before,” he popped, raising an eyebrow.
What the Mr. Suave didn’t know was that I grew up ice skating from the age of 3 at the only ice rink in Arkansas. When I looked over my shoulder to explain to him that he’d lost the bet, his cocky expression greeted me and a devious plan birthed into my mind.
“Nope, never done that before,” I lied.
He smiled in victory. “Don’t worry, I’ve been a time or two. I’ll hold your hand so you don’t fall.”
Oh, you do that.
When we arrived at the rink that Saturday, I didn’t bring my own skates. Instead, I donned the rentals like a total amateur.
After we stepped onto the ice, I put on an Oscar-worthy performance of near-miss falls that had him “saving” me left and right from potential E.R. visits. Oh yes! Mr. Don’t-Worry was getting his paybacks for all the trouble in class he’d caused me.
“Look, watch me. Like this,” he said, demonstrating how to glide gracefully without flailing ones arms about like a hummingbird on crack.
“Like this?” I returned, holding my arms steady, pretending to mimic what he was “teaching” me.
“Yes, like that!” he said proudly, no doubt patting himself on the back.
“I want to skate backward. Can you show me that?” I suggested.
“Uh, well.. I can’t do that,” he confessed.
“Aww. Come on. You said you’ve done this before!”
“Not that much.”
“Well, I’m gonna try,” I announced.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea. You nearly broke a hip back there,” he said, looking concerned.
I swiveled myself around and began gliding backward, hummingbird arms and all. “Look at me! I’m going the wrong way!” I teased.
I began skating at a faster pace.
“Slow down. You’re gonna fall,” he warned.
I wobbled and swung my arms in circles again.
“Shit,” he complained, trying to catch up to “save” me.
Just before he could get his heroic hands on me, I took off like a banshee with back cross-overs, followed by a toe-loop, and ended my new-found abilities with a miraculous scratch spin.
The look on his face was something forever etched into my brain. Mouth agape, eyes as big as dinner plates, and for the first time ever… the man was speechless.
But the date didn’t stop his ridiculous humor or my snorting responses. No, it turned into more laughter which morphed into conversation and, somehow, as I got to know the annoying fellow who sat behind me in class, I fell in love with the doofus. Oops.
Eighteen years ago that hilarious man gave me a special rock of carbon from the Earth’s mantel and asked me to be his wife.
Seventeen years ago he put that rock on my finger to symbolize the strength of our love and commitment to one another.
One month ago, that rock disappeared from it’s prongs and left me distraught as I realized I’d spent the entire day doing yard work and planting flowers. My rock was buried who knows where in my backyard!
After one month of sifting through mounds of dirt, leaves, and grass, I gave up and accepted that the special rock that my annoying comedian had given me was lost forever.
One hour ago, my daughter was looking for some change in the bottom of my purse and began shrilling,”Mom! Mom! Mom! I found it!”
In my PURSE! It was with me the WHOLE time!
When you lose your diamond and find it, it’s like seeing it for the first time all over again.