The story of how I met my current boyfriend is one entirely dependent on context. Particularly, the weather.
If you’ve ever lived in a place that gets an honest-to-god winter, this story will have more depth. If you’ve never lived in a place where the average temperature is −14.8 °C (5.4 °F), there are a few things to note.
First, when it’s that cold, exposed skin freezes in about 15 minutes. Second, most people hibernate from December through March, only going outside when it’s necessary.
But, somehow, on a blustery, frigid night, I met Dave. I’d never seen or heard of him before December 4, 2010. We have handful of mutual friends and similar interests and yet our paths had never crossed.
That night, a mutual friend of ours had played a concert that I attended alone. I was used to doing things alone then. I’d spent the better part of a year getting over a bad break-up, some health issues, being broke and being young. I was a constant 3rd, 5th or 7th wheel when I hung out with friends, since they were all in relationships. Tired of tagging along, I just went to things alone.
The friend who played the show was hosting an after party at his house. There were mulled wine, friends and grilled cheese sandwiches. When I got there, the house was full of people I barely knew. I took off my boots and left my coat in the pile on the sofa.
Standing in the living room alone with a mug of mulled wine, I looked at the people. All older than me with seemingly put-together lives. I felt out of place.
An acquaintance spotted me and slid across the hardwood floors towards me, a tall bearded fellow shuffling along behind him. We exchanged pleasantries, caught up a bit, and then the acquaintance stepped away leaving me and this stranger standing alone.
We made small-talk, chatted about the show we Just saw, what we did for work and the other typical questions people ask someone when they’re trying to suss each other out. We sat on the sofa and analyzed the other interactions in the room. We drank mulled wine and talked about music. It was pleasant.
Before I left, we swapped phone numbers. I warned him that I was going home for three weeks, so he wouldn’t hear from me until I got back. That was fine, he said. He’d be around.
In January, once I’d returned from Christmas at home, I was on my way back from an early morning class. I was sitting alone on the bus and thought, “I should really give that Dave guy a call.”
I stepped off the bus, swearing under my breath about the cold. When I looked up I saw this tall bearded fellow approaching. By some stroke of luck, it was Dave from the party. He was walking to work, I was walking home.
We stood there on the sidewalk chatting. It was bitterly cold, the wind snapping, but we didn’t care. On the sidewalk, we set up our first date. Four years later, we’re still dating.