From a very early age, I found myself enamored by women. Blame it on my growing up with a single mother if you want. Regardless, I notice everything about them. First, their faces. Then I find myself marveling at their sense of style, their taste in music and the way they kiss. If I'm lucky. There are always beautiful women to look at, but I'm hardly ever lucky.
But I did get lucky during my senior year of high school. I was starting to apply to colleges and since I wasn't having much luck with women, I put most of my energy into preparing for that. Still, a guy never lets his mind go completely numb to the possibility of meeting the right girl. So when I started hearing more and more about this girl who lived a few miles down the highway, I had to at least see if this Texas girl was really as pretty as everyone said she was. My best friend had dated a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and there's no way she was that pretty, right?
I made the short drive and fell in love before I set one foot out of the car. Here I was a young man about to go out on my own for college and I was already certain that I'd seen the girl I was going to marry. Honestly this wasn't a girl at all. She was a beautiful young woman and growing fast. By the time I moved to college to be closer to her, and in hopes of catching her eye, I was joined by 50,000 other students trying to get a date with her.
I had a full course load and a job to worry about so I didn't really have time to spend time with her as a freshman, but by sophomore year (with the help of a fake ID), I was on Sixth Street going to parties with her and a bunch of other guys trying to hit on her all night. At this rate though, I was never going to get one-on-one time with her. I had to change my approach.
Restaurants. That's what I'd do, I'd take her to nice restaurants. We went to Eddy Vs for mahi-mahi, Hoover's for home cookin' and Trudy's for Tex-Mex. But really it wasn't me taking her out as much as it was me following her around all over town.
And my job with the Texas Longhorns football and basketball teams and the University of Texas' public affairs office helped me get to know some of her friends, people like DeLoss Dodds and James Vick who have spent years making the UT campus one of the best places to catch a glimpse of her. She reads Kirk Bohls' sports column in the Statesman every week so I started hanging out with him. She loves to stay in shape, so I kept running around Town Lake and I always watched Lance Armstrong highlights on ESPN since he's a friend of hers. Oh, and she LOVES movies so when I met Matthew McConaughey, I bragged about that.
We never really dated, per se, but over my four years in Austin, we developed a relationship that was the envy of any student at the University of Texas. We'd go out on Lake Travis for Memorial Day and Fourth of July boat parties or Lake Austin to wakeboard once summer started...in April. We ate out all the time, saw great shows at La Zona Rosa, Stubbs and the Austin City Limits Festival and we drank margaritas at El Arroyo, mojitos at Cuba Libre and Tito made us some damn good vodka.
But in my senior year I had to admit what my friends had been saying for a couple years by that point: I was in 'friend zone'.
It's a hard thing to admit, especially when you love a woman as much as I loved her, but I had to face facts. So I moved to Washington, D.C., and said it was because of a unique professional opportunity, which was only a half-lie.
But, in the last three-plus years, she never strayed far from my mind. I'd have to cut myself off in dates with other women because they kept rolling their eyes whenever I'd talk about her and all the fun we had. I know it's supposed to be rude to talk about your ex, but I figured talking about her was the only way to keep pushing myself to become a better man. If I could get more experience and learn more about the world and that thing called love, then I could eventually go back and sweep her off her feet.
And that's pretty much where I ended 2008. My last decision in 2008 was that I need to move back to be near her in 2009.
Her name is Austin, and she's the one for me. I can't wait any longer to let her know.