At the end of Part 2 Michael and I had just gone on a platonic coffee date...and had both independently concluded that we could be great friends, but probably didn't have a romantic future together because of our religious differences. Obviously we were wrong, but read on to discover how any obstacles to us dating slowly crumbled down!
When we parted ways that first night we got coffee I wondered if Michael would try and meet up with me again. I honestly wasn't surprised when I never really heard from him. In reality we were both busy; I was finishing up my final semester of undergrad and (I'd later learn) he was experiencing a rather busy season at work that had him working unusually long hours.
Even though we were both busy, each of us made time to occasionally go out to some of the local bars with friends...and as Divine Providence would have it, we always seemed to make it out on the same nights - and would often overlap our time at some of the same bars. Sometimes we would even text each other to see where each of us were going that night; if we wound up at the same place at the same time we always made sure to say hi and catch up for a few minutes.
Later on we reflected on how all of this transpired and admitted that because we always happened to be out on the same nights, we each thought the other must go out to the bars a lot. I assumed if I saw him out every single time I went out that he must constantly be out drinking with his friends and he assumed the same of me - which couldn't have been further from the truth! All of this makes me chuckle and think about how mysterious God truly is sometimes....
|With Theresa (she truly witnessed the start of everything with Michael!) and with Michael on July 9, 2011|
The bar we were at has a large beer pong table (kind of a gross concept for a bar, really - unless you are excellent at never letting a ball touch the ground) and Michael invited me to join his friends in a game. I realize how all of this sounds, but contrary to the fact that we met in a bar, continually ran into each other at bars, and reunited again playing beer pong at a bar - we are not crazy partiers...I promise (hi, Mom!).
I joined in their game as Michael's partner and I have a strong suspicion that we didn't win because I remember being totally off my game that night - but Michael never made me feel bad about it which is something I do remember. :) Apparently at one point one of Michael's friends we were playing against (who would later be the Best Man at our wedding) whispered to Michael that I was the kind of girl a guy could bring home to their mom and Michael agreed...which I had no idea about at the time but made me insanely happy when Michael told me months later.
Michael learned that evening that I was permanently leaving in a few weeks - so I think each of us realized we wouldn't have too many opportunities to continue randomly running into one another; we enjoyed catching up so I continued hanging out with him and his friends while Theresa fulfilled her duty of showing up for a friend's birthday. Eventually Theresa returned and we spent the rest of the night hanging out with Michael and his friends. We ended the night dancing and, of course, I danced with Michael. Even if the whole religion thing made us seemingly incompatible, we were both secretly attracted to one another and I was happy to have him as my dancing partner.
At one point as we danced our heads got closer together and I remember thinking that he was probably going to kiss me - and internally I began to freak out. I did not want to kiss a guy in a bar and be one of "those" girls...plus I was still under the impression that it would be hard to pursue anything real with him because he was agnostic...so I felt pretty certain that meant I couldn't let him kiss me.
I struggled internally with what to do as it became more and more obvious that Michael was going to try and lean in for a kiss sometime soon. Eventually (probably because I felt slightly buzzed) I gave in and we kissed. I was SO HAPPY that my secret admiration was apparently reciprocated! Pretty shortly after that (immediately it felt like) it was time to part ways and we each headed home. Within about 3 minutes (I think I had barely gotten in the passenger seat of a car) Michael texted me - wanting to know if I'd like to get coffee the next day.
Although part of me felt slightly ashamed for letting Michael first kiss me in a bar after we had both been drinking a little bit, I am so grateful that everything happened as it did! Months later Michael would admit to me that if I hadn't kissed him that night, he probably wouldn't have contacted me about hanging out the next day...but that kiss gave him the reassurance that I was interested and the confidence to pursue things further. Because we kissed, he knew he wanted/needed to seize the opportunity to get to know me better before I left in a few short weeks.
Soon we would be spending time together nearly every day for the remainder of July, but first we had to talk about that whole religion thing...which is what came the next day.
How did we reconcile our differences and figure out whether we should keep spending time together or not? Stay tuned for Part 4!
Update: Click here for Part 4. :)