I had known her for two years already, but I remember the night it felt like I was meeting Jen again for the first time.
We had driven to Hennessey that day to visit her sister, who had just undergone brain surgery. I was a little upset because I was missing the OSU Texas Tech basketball game and all I had was a radio and miles and miles of Oklahoma farmland to traverse. In retrospect, her sister had just been prodded in the brain with multiple metal instruments and just wanted some company so my being perturbed was probably a bit misguided.
Anyway, we had fun that day reminiscing with some old friends who had also come with us to the place where (little did we know) we would be married at some 800 days later.
Then that night, well, that night was one of those nights that don’t really make sense unless you’ve lived in a college town It’s one of those fistful of wonderful nights that are seared into the hard drive of your mind and even if you wanted to erase it, you couldn’t.
Jen had just gotten her hair cut and she was wearing this crisp red jacket that made her look about 6” taller than she actually was. She looked elegant that night. Like Katie Holmes crossed with Rachel McAdams.
We were out with friends and everyone had a blast, but honestly we could have been out with strangers in a country halfway around the world and it still would have felt the same way. I couldn’t stop looking at her, I was completely and unequivocally hooked.
I wish I could have put it in a time capsule.
There were other nights in our dating relationship that stand out for various reasons: our first kiss, our first actual date, and “that one night in Austin” come to mind. But I think I’d be hard pressed to give you a more soul-debilitating twenty four hours than January 12, 2008.
To fifty more years of red jackets and fresh hair cuts.