“Hey! Are you ready yet?!” Ryan knocked on my dorm room door. It was time to get going to our first day of college classes and I was just putting the finishing touches on straightening my hair.
“Yea, just a second!” I had to check my make up and make sure it was just so. Ryan sighed.
I was nervous but put on a confident front. You see, I went to a kindergarten- 12th grade school in a small town in northern Minnesota. I didn’t have to switch schools and get use to new buildings and new people when switching from elementary school to middle school and then again in high school. At my small school, you simply moved down the hallway of the same building.
This fact was pretty evident by how I planned my first semester in college. My buddy from high school and I scheduled all of our classes together. He was a theatre major and I a criminal justice major with political science minor- it made absolutely no sense for us to be taking every class together but it was convenient and comfortable.
Our first class, on the first day, was “Acting for Everyone”. I begrudgingly took it as an art elective at Ryan’s insistence. I wanted to take interpretive dancing. In my eighteen year old mind, acting would be more embarrassing than interpretive dance.
The class was in the basement of the building, a small little room with about four rows of auditorium style seating. Our professor was a caricature- she is exactly what a drama professor would be portrayed as in a John Hughes film. She dramatically introduced herself and insisted we call her by her first name, then she quickly threw us out of our comfort zone. Or at least me out of mine.
We were ordered to get up out of our seats and come down to the small floor. We were to stand in a line and introduce ourselves and then start ad libbing and “loosen up” our acting muscles. The sillier the better. I was mortified. Then I noticed something out of my peripheral vision- a tall blonde boy stealing glances.
He was tall and full of bravado. He threw himself wholly into the excercise and would occasionally glance over at me and give me a smile. His confidence threw me for a loop and his smirk made me all the more self conscious.
“Rosario!” My professor shrieked “loosen up! Feel the energy!” she was calling for Rosario but she was looking at me. She would call me “Rosario” through the rest of the semester, but my main concern was not that she called me by the wrong name- it’s that she called attention to me.
The class was over soon enough and I grabbed by backpack as fast as I could to leave. Ryan struggled to keep up with me and I noticed the tall blonde boy trying to subtly get my attention. I was, again, mortified that he would laugh at me so I ignored him and scuttled down the hallway.
The rest of our classes went smoothly- in that, I mean I was allowed to sit in my seat and listen to lectures. Looking so cool in my pink hollister shirt and not having to dance about a room chirping.
When I got back to my dorm I logged onto Facebook and I had a few friend requests- one was from that tall blonde boy. Bradley was his name and his choice of awful shirt in his profile picture made me smile. He may have been an odd form of charmingly-cocky in class, but that awful palm tree button up eased my fears. You cannot be a jerk when you wear that.
I accepted his request and started snooping his profile. He was single. Ohhhh, he’s a criminal justice major too! He works campus security- that will be handy for rides and any shenanigans I find myself in. . . okay, okay I had to get myself together. I needed to get some reading done from one of my textbooks if I wanted to go out to a party later.
“Hey, I’m in your acting class.” My laptop gave out a little beep to let me know I received a message. I tossed my textbook on my futon and sat at my desk. I had a date with a boy from a few floors down in a couple days already, but I just wanted to talk to this one. I ignored my book and acknowledged his message, he quickly asked for my cell phone number and then I found myself talking to him for the majority of the evening.
We quickly became fast friends; talking constantly, always finding ways to sit next to each other in class and do acting excercises together. He would often get off work in the early morning and meet me at the entrance of my dorm, walking me to our class.
It wasn’t long before he asked me on our first date. Due to a previous near miss, I was leery to go too far off campus with a guy I didn’t know very well, so I refused his invitation to the theatre and invited him to watch a movie in my dorm. My room was right next to the RA so if anything went south I knew I was one shout away from safety.
He arrived and, again, brought with him an overwhelming amount of confidence. His confidence made me all the more self-conscious. I remember holding a few DVDs up and asking him which one he wanted to watch, he poked my shoulder saying “this one” with every ounce of cheesiness. I dropped the DVDs. Yes, he made me so nervous and excitable that that super cheesy line made me drop the DVDs and I just wanted to melt into the floor. He laughed and picked them up, asking if I was okay.
We watched the movie from opposite sides of the futon. I was still unsure of him but fascinated. We decided to go to dinner but I only wanted to go within walking distance (again, not getting in a car or to a part of town I was unfamiliar with) so we opted for Perkins. As we were walking there I received a call from one of my best friends from elementary through high school. She wanted to go to dinner and, without thinking, I invited her with. So we had an unexpected addition to our first dinner date but Brad was incredibly cool about it all.
Within one month of that first date we were officially an item. This relationship was new but already had a different feel about it. He was always there for me. He listened to me. He wanted to know everything there was about me and I wanted to know everything about him. We were glued to each other, when we weren’t together he was all I could think about.
I met Brad on the first day of college, full of trepidation. I spent hours straightening my curly hair and doing full make up. Since then his confidence has broken down my walls. I don’t have to worry about looking like a fool around him. I went from fearing have attention called to me to wanting to be seen. His confidence now fuels my own. I now feel worthy and self-assured. What he lacks I make up for and vice versa; strengths and weaknesses fitting together as a perfect puzzle.
A year after meeting we were living together, three months after moving in together we were engaged. We didn’t marry for nearly four years after but it didn’t matter. Because from the first time I caught him stealing glances and giving smiles I knew I was his and he was mine. I knew the energy in that room was different- and that’s no act.
Happy anniversary Bradley, I look forward to more years as forever newlyweds. You make me forever grateful that I was talked into taking Acting for Everyone.