We called him Valentine’s Day Future Husband because I met him on Valentine’s Day and his all-encompassing handsomeness created a malfunction at the witty nickname factory. The first time he took me out he kept on catching me staring at him in between bites at dinner. In fact, I think I forgot to respond to several questions he asked because I was imagining what he looked like shirtless (e.g. Brad Pitt in Troy). At the end of the date my face was physically in pain from smiling so much. I don’t tell you this to brag; years of lower-level employment at a big financing firm have chipped away at his chiseled frame so I wouldn’t even post an image of him now. The amount of mind-blowing attraction is essential to the story, I promise. Okay, I am bragging. Man, he was so damn hot.
On a Monday, not long after our first date, I get a phone call from the Greek god asking me if I would accompany him to the Joshua Radin concert on that Wednesday. Adorable music and swelling crowds forcing us to be physically close to each other at all times? I had to count 3 Mississippi’s in my head to keep me from seeming too eager. He signed off with “I can’t wait to see you,” and my knees went weak. I collapsed onto my bed overcome with bliss and a sudden exhaustion from what I perceived was an enormous amount of effort used on trying to sound cool. I woke up from a nap one hour later with a 103-degree fever and glands swollen to the size of golf balls.
After a restless night of hacking up my lungs and profound exclamations of what I will call “Conversations on Death’s Door,” I awoke to a dilemma. My illness had gotten exponentially worse overnight but my date with the man who could very likely create Disney Princess children with me was only a day away. I picked up my phone and instead of calling off the date I called my supervisor at work and explained that I could not go to work because I had placed myself on bed rest in the hopes that I would be well enough to attend a date the following evening with the man of my dreams. A picture of said man was attached in an email. The supervisor gave me the day off.
Wednesday crept up and my illness appeared to be settling in for the long haul. I skipped class and lay in bed willing all my energy into becoming better. Mentally I added up all the good deeds that I had performed over the past month in an effort to determine if I had enough currency to bargain for a miracle. My roommate Grace brought me soup and opened my bedroom window exclaiming “It smells like death in here.” Six o’clock came around; VDFH was picking me up at seven. I showered (because of the death smell), got dressed, chugged a bottle of Robitussin, popped more than the appropriate amount of Ibuprofen and had a moment of “here goes nothing,” as my roommate answered the doorbell.
The first part of the date was a blur, a mostly attractive blur as I probably stared at VDFH more obviously in my drugged out state. I am pretty sure we went to dinner. My coherence kicked in around halfway through the Avett Brothers’ set, or was it the Cary Brothers… halfway through some band of brother’s set, when VDFH wrapped his muscular arms around me and nuzzled into the nape of my neck. It felt like a dream, and for all I know maybe that part was.
After the second act cleared their equipment, VDFH suggested we move closer to the stage for a better view of the action. He took my hand and led me to the very front. Sweaty, emotionally charged individuals pressed themselves up against us as we stood our ground exchanging scattered conversation through the din. The lights dimmed as Joshua Radin approached, plucking away at his guitar to a familiar tune. I repositioned myself in front of VDFH, settling in for some serious romancing when all of a sudden, every drug that I had taken wore off at the exact same time. I could feel the color drain out of my face. My body broke out into cold sweats. The all too familiar spots of darkness encroached on my peripherals and I realized, holy crap, I’m going to pass out. With survival instincts outweighing my mortification, I turned around and yelled at VDFH “Scoot back! I’m going to pass out!” His face contorted and before he could get out the rest of his “Whaaaa” I was on the ground, out cold.
I came to a few moments later. The other concertgoers had failed to witness the dramatic turn of events and one was literally standing on my hand. VDFH, rightfully concerned, pulled me back up just as my body went limp and I passed out for a second time. The next thing I knew I was being whisked away to the back of the venue by an incredible pair of biceps. “My goodness, does he bench press automobiles?” I thought to myself before I passed out for a third time.
VDFH laid me on a set of chairs posted up in the back while he left to charm some free water bottles out of the concessions worker. When he returned he laid my head in his lap and only paused from stroking my sweaty hair to make me sit up and sip my water. As soon as I was nourished enough to remember how embarrassing this all was I begged him to let us move closer to the music so he wouldn’t miss anymore. He located a seating area closer to the stage and set me down with my legs draped over his. I tried, and failed, to rearrange my disgusting mop of hair until he took off his baseball cap and put it on my head reassuring me “You look great.” A few minutes later, Joshua started playing “I’d Rather Be With You,” my favorite song. Apparently I had zoned out and started singing along until I realized he was watching me. I was turning away, red-faced for the nth time of the night when VDFH reached out, turned the cap around so that the bill was facing the back of my head, cradled my head in his hand and leaned in to kiss me. I stopped him, “You are going to get so sick,” I warned. He smiled a crooked smile and said, “I don’t care.”