I was 18 and he was 19. I caught a glimpse of him while going to Duchess Deli, a little ice cream/convenience store down the road from where we lived. I stopped in for snacks and cigarettes with my sister and we thought he was kind of cute. I kept going back, hoping to see the “cute boy” there, but we never did.
I went to Community College. I wasn’t quite ready to commit to college yet. I was trying to “figure things out” and my head was still in the clouds. I needed a job and started working in the Bakery Department of a grocery store. I was the closer and I got to decorate birthday cakes sometimes. Then one day I saw him working in the produce department. We started taking our breaks together. I told my sister about the “cute boy” working with me. So she came and checked him out and confirmed it was him.
I was a bit of a free spirit and had this crazy idea to join a commune. I had a plan to visit one and write about it for a sociology class I was taking. I told Dan about it during one of our shared breaks and he said he’d go check the place out with me. We’d hung out together a few times and I got to meet a few of his friends. We always went to his buddy’s house. I was so shy and it’s definitely not my style to make the first move, but I got the feeling he liked me. I knew he had dated one of the cashiers and he mentioned she was weird. During one of our breaks we were hanging out in his car and I remember him telling me I looked so pretty in the moonlight. Once we were hanging out, I brought my sister with me and I had to work, so I left early. Sally told me she thought he was just a big flirt and couldn’t gauge weather he actually liked me or just wanted to be friends.
Finally one cold January night after hanging out, I was leaving and I went downstairs to put my boots on. I heard one of his friend’s say from upstairs “Aren’t you going to walk Cindy out?”, while giggling and razzing him. I thought to myself, ‘I wish’. A moment later he was walking down the stairs and helped me get my coat on. He walked me out to my car and kissed me in the moonlight. He said we should, “hook up or something”, trying to sound nonchalant. The next day we had our first official “date”. We went out looking for new jobs together.
He did end up visiting that commune with me, but we didn’t stay. It turned out to be a religious kind of place and they wouldn’t let us stay in the same room, so we made it a day trip. I still wrote about it for my class, but never went back. Dan turned out to be a good influence and I ended up transferring to a SUNY College and taking school more seriously. He was definitely nonchalant about asking me out, but he was quick to tell me he loved me. It became evident that we were bound to be inseparable. I couldn’t have imagined then for how long.
Now I’ve been with him for more years than not. We moved to Florida for more schooling. We lived in Colorado for a few years and skied a lot before we finally moved back home to settle down. Now we have two beautiful and boisterous boys. I’m always amazed at how we’ve grown together instead of apart. How we went from stoney teenagers going to Phish concerts and late night Mighty Taco runs to responsible parents who both hold full time jobs and manage a suburban household. We’ve been married for 13 years. Finding love early and watching how we’ve grown and changed has definitely made me believe we were fated for each other. And every once in a while we still get to catch a show and sneak out for a late night taco run.
You can find Cindy on Instagram via: @cindyleed77