I was seventeen when I first heard Dan’s voice. It was the summer of 1996 and I was driving down a South Carolina highway with a group of friends. One of those friends grabbed a CD from his collection and started raving about this band called Pain that he’d recently discovered. Seconds later my future husband’s voice came pouring out of the stereo.
I just remembered that this week.
I can’t tell you how much I love the fact that not only do I remember the exact moment when I first heard Dan’s voice, but that I first heard it while I was on vacation in South Carolina — the place with which we’d eventually fall in love and endeavor to put down family roots. How about that?
I wouldn’t actually meet him, though, for over a year.
The next time I heard him, and the first time I saw him, was at The Gilman in Berkeley, California on October 9th, 1998. He was already up on stage performing with his band when I walked into the club with two of my girlfriends. One of them leaned toward me and whispered that she thought the trumpet player was cute. No, no, said I, he has nothing on that lead singer.
Love at first sight? Pretty close, truth be told.
Later that night, as I was standing in a friend’s San Francisco kitchen, I saw him walk through the door, blue hair and all. My heart skipped a beat, the butterflies hopped to it, and I immediately found someone to get lost in conversation with – as you do when you’re nineteen and trying to catch the eye of some cute guy.
Dan eventually made his way over to me and struck up a conversation. Now I think he would want me to let you know that he did this by cleverly and oh-so nonchalantly walking past me, pretending to glance around the corner to look for someone, turning back around, and starting up a conversation with little ol’ me because he just couldn’t seem to find that friend of his. What are you going to do?
We hit it off immediately and spent the rest of the evening defending our right to privacy against his commune-loving bandmate and generally trying to impress one another with our witty banter. He needn’t have bothered. He had me the minute he realized that I was in pursuit of a Woodchuck Apple Cider that no longer existed. He handed me his newly opened bottle (the last of the party’s cider coffers) and I was his and it was love.
Sadly, he had to travel on to his next show so he left town and I had nary a kiss to remember him by.
So I wrote him a letter! (Oh, you don’t even know how much I wish he would burn that thing. No woman should be forced to live her life knowing that a letter she wrote to a boy when she was nineteen years old still exists.)
Lest you think that he raced to the post office with his response hours after he received my communique, let me save you the suspense. It would be another four months before he got around to writing me back.
Four months, girls.
In fact, his response arrived just days before he was due to return to California for more shows. I’m sure you will all understand how this might have led me to believe that he simply wrote me back to avoid awkwardness. I savored every word of his letter, read it 583 times, and told my friends that there was no way I was going to that show.
I went to the show.
…where I stood behind my 6’6’’ friend the whole time Dan was on stage so that he wouldn’t be able to see me. It was an awesome show. It really was. And I spent the entire time hiding.
After the show I sat outside with my friends laughing, chatting, and yes, continuing to hide. They, of course, mocked me mercilessly and told me to go inside and find Dan.
And I told them that would never, ever happen, not in a million years.
And then the Holy Spirit got all up in my business. You think I jest. Ha. I didn’t even know the Holy Spirit yet but nevertheless he lifted me up out of that chair (and I mean that quite literally) and pushed me back into the club and into Dan’s arms for one of the sweetest, most tender hugs I’ve ever received.
It was at that moment that I knew. This was him.
I had found the one whom my soul loves. (Props to Song of Solomon.)
I invited him to a party. He said yes. We sat together in the back seat of a friend’s car. My heart thumped. He asked me what my favorite song in the entire world was. And I said (wait for it): Brimful of Asha.
No, I really did. I know you think I’m lying. I wish I was lying. But I said Brimful of Asha.
And he said, “Really? You think that is the best song ever created?” And I, not one to undig my heels, assured him that yes, it was. I even included an eloquent defense of the song. Because, don’t you know, everyone really does need “a bosom for a pillow.” Did he have something against world peace?
He assured me that he did not, and all was well.
When we got to the party I noticed a gash on his hand and offered to clean it up and put a band-aid on it. It was at that moment that he reports that he, too, suspected that he’d found the one whom his soul loves. (You’ll have to ask him why he required an extra three hours to come to that conclusion. I have yet to get a satisfactory answer, I’m afraid.)
Finally, despite the many people milling about, he managed to get me alone. And then the pizza got in the way.
In the words of my determined now-husband:
“By the way, when you came back into the stereo/dance room with your pizza slice, I knew I wanted to lay a smack on you, but I had to time it just right in between your bites. It was like trying to catch a swinging trapeze. I had to wait ’till the pizza was sufficiently far away from your mouth to avoid a midair collision, yet I had to be sure the bite you’d just taken was adequately chewed up, otherwise we would have had a real mess on our hands. Well, thank God, calamity was avoided, and all-in-all I think our first kiss went rather well.”
I did, too, and so the rest is history.
One month later I flew into New Orleans and spent two weeks traveling around the southeast with him and that August I moved into my first apartment in Mobile, AL to be near him. There was that little issue of him thinking that he might be being called to the priesthood but I sorted all that out with God in short order (wink, wink) and we were married on a cool October night in 2001.
It was true: we had found the one whom our souls love.