how i met your father

I was hoping to meet a guy in Hawaii. I wasn’t counting on it, though.

I moved to Hawaii from a small town in Florida in 1993. I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life there. There was so much out there that I needed to see; besides, I needed to be away, so I could date whomever I wanted without judgment from my family.

My husband Ryan walked into the cafeteria (and my life) the day before classes started at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in January 1994. He was wearing slacks and a dress shirt and slacks. He looked older, like a grad student. I was sitting with my group of friends, all women, when a male friend of the group came to our table with him. He looked so interesting. He spoke confidently about computers and was showing us something he’d done on his computer.

He was fascinating. He was so different from everyone else I’d met in Hawaii. I caught myself staring at him and I didn’t know why. I looked at him and I swore I was looking at my future. The only problem was that he had to have had a girlfriend and I didn’t know who she was, because he hung out with a lot of girls. One day he mentioned that he lived in the room that had “a bunch of green stickers on the door”. I found myself going back to my dorm the long way around to see if I could find his room. Meanwhile, we chatted whenever he’s join us at dinner.

This was around the time that “Schindler’s List” came out. I had seen it with my friend Sherry and she talked about it at dinner when Ryan was around. He said, “Oh, I haven’t seen that yet. I’d like to”.

That was my chance! I knew I had to act fast because I didn’t think the film would be playing for much longer. I kept an eye out for Ryan, waiting for my chance to get to talk to him. The gods were on my side, because I caught him the very next day at lunch. I approached him, where he was sitting with a girl.

“Sorry to bother you. I was wondering if I could come by later.”

He said sure and told me where his room was. I was so nervous, like I was about to skydive. To me, he felt inevitable. I was sure he liked me, too. This was my future.

I asked him to see the movie with me. He said yes, and we made plans. He asked if I’d like to get dinner before the show, because he knew this nice Mexican place. I said that sounded great.

We went out, and it felt like he was an old friend who I was catching up with. The conversation went on all evening and I felt so comfortable with him.

He started coming over, just to hang out. We watched The Simpsons, talked about music, went for walks. But we were just friends. Just friends. Everybody knew we were just friends. The thing was, though, was when he wasn’t around I missed him. It was nice just to talk to him, because he was so smart and interesting.

He told me about his ex-girlfriend who also lived on campus. He didn’t like to talk about her but I knew it was possible that maybe he wasn’t over it yet. I started to feel jealous of her. In fact, I got so jealous of her I nearly went crazy.

Spring break came and I had plans to go to Maui with one of my girlfriends and a guy who had a crush on her. I hadn’t been to Maui before and was excited. Unfortunately, I was also sick. I had come down with a bad cold. On the day before we left, I was still pretty sick, so Ryan came over with a cup of soup. That did it. I had fallen,

We drove around the island on the first day and came to a place where O’ahu was visible on the horizon. Ryan had gone back to Honolulu to visit his family. I looked out to O’ahu and wondered what he was doing. As we drove around, listening to the car radio, I realized that I missed him. I decided to see him on Sunday night as soon as we came back. I went over to his room and we talked til after midnight. I was exhausted the next day, but it was worth it.

By now our friends knew we were together, but somehow we didn’t. We hung out together all the time and he started telling me about his friends back home and they me. One night, the group planned to drive up to Volcano and one by one everybody cancelled but our friend Sherry, Ryan and me. We decided instead to just have dinner at Ken’s. About halfway into the conversation, Sherry asked us, “Are you guys together?”.

He and I looked at each other. I was afraid he would say no. He was afraid of the same thing.

I finally said, “I would say so, yeah”.

We quietly agreed to talk about the conversation with Sherry. We went back to my room together a little after midnight. We ratified our relationship.

The next day, we spent the day at Hapuna beach on the Kona coast. We played in the sun until after sundown.

2 thoughts on “how i met your father

  1. Mahalo nui, Ryan, for giving us a glimpse of yours and Jen’s lives together. I so wish I’d had the chance to meet her in person (and you, too, of course). Your story is a poignant remember to treasure the days that we have, and to be grateful for wonderful memories.

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