I grew up walking a lot, and because of this I still enjoy walking everywhere I can. The community college in my area was a two-hour hike from my house, but this did not deter me. I was 21, and therefore could do anything I wanted, including taking a two-hour walk on nothing but a bowl of Froot Loops. This was my first mistake.
It was a warm, sweaty, stinky day in my hometown, the Armpit of Southwestern Ontario. I hadn't even thought to carry a bottle of water. But when I stepped inside the college doors, my wooziness was counteracted briefly by a blast of heavenly air conditioning. I took a deep breath, hit the water fountain and silently determined that I was going to be fine as I breezed past the vending machine and opted not to get myself a snack. Mistake number two.
When I reached my classroom, I was more than a little relieved to find a seat and kick back for a few moments. But it was only a few moments. Our new instructors had a tour of the entire journalism department planned, and we spent the next hour walking from room to room and being told what would be expected of us in this class or that, how the darkroom worked and finally where we'd eventually be putting the school newspaper together.
It was at this last stop that things started to get a little wiggly, and I tried not to be noticed as I grabbed the nearest chair and sat down on it, praying I wasn't going to puke. But it didn't help. As everything in front of my eyes went green, I remember putting my hand up, apologizing for interrupting and then slurring out that I think my blood sugar may have dipped. Then I probably drooled a little. That's the last thing I remember before being given a sip of orange juice, suddenly springing back to life and realizing that standing next to me was this super-cute guy who looked absolutely horrified and must surely think I was a crazy woman.
When the morning was over, I trudged home feeling utterly humiliated and wishing I could sue those twits at Kelloggs without looking like an even bigger idiot. I debated never going back, but I had no idea what else I was going to do with my life, and I knew my current job in fast food management was simply not an option.
So, I switched to Cheerios (not the honey-nut kind), swallowed my pride and sheepishly slunk back to class the next day, sat down next to Super Cute Guy and tried with everything I had not to make any more of a fool of myself than I already had. And I did that every day for the remainder of the school year.
It was a good move, because Super Cute Guy turned out to be pretty cool. He helped me when I lost a huge chunk of my homework on the college's ancient computers, he made me tea in the mornings when we started carpooling, and he teamed up with me to write a couple of thrilling features on the dangers of carpal tunnel syndrome, and the college's Dental Hygiene program.
In later years, he taught me to cook, and showed me how to change the oil in my car. We're still in pretty frequent touch, in fact. Over the years he's been everything from Super Cute Guy, to Copy Boy, to Office Rat, to Super Dad.
These days, I just call him "the Captain". And occasionally "Valentine".
Happy Love Day!