CAMO - Connecting All Military Others
So, a short back-and-forth with Selina on Facebook gave me the idea to share my story with Patrick.
So... here we go.
In April of last year, my mom and I went to see "Arsenic and Old Lace", one of our favorite plays, at our local theatre. In the playbill, there was an ad for the "Luna-tics" (it's a group owned by the theatre, the theatre's name is Moonlight, thus LUNAtics). It was a teen comedy improv group. My mom said I should try it out since I was looking for a way to be involved in theatre since I kept auditioning and kept ... not getting called back.
So, a couple weeks later, I go to my first improv practice with my little brother Joey. I don't know if I'm romanticising it, or if the first thing I saw was honestly Patrick. Blonde, light eyed, and smile bigger than his face. I'm notorious for falling for the German looking guys, so it was no shock that I had an instant crush on Patrick.
I was already nervous for my first improv practice, having a really cute guy there only made it worse. When we would get put in scenes together, I felt like I could have died. I'm never really shy, but I could barely look him in the eye, much less pretend I knew him for the sake of the scene.
The last game of the night was Freeze. It's this game where two people start out a scene and the rest stand in a line. When the director shouts "FREEZE", the people in the scene hold their positions and the next person in line has to tag somebody out, take their position, and create a totally new scene based on the positions.
So there I was, my first game of Freeze, this guy I have a crush on tags out the other person in my scene, making it so I HAVE to interact with him since we're alone. What does he do? He says "Hey! I have an idea! Surprise trust fall!", turns around and falls backwards, slamming himself down on the stage. All I could catch was his head. We now say that he's been falling for me ever since.
For the next month and a half, I was trying to get a read on Patrick to figure out if he had a crush on me, until one week after improv, he nervously asked for my number. That night, after texting some, he asked if I wanted to go out sometime. I had a dance party in my room after responding "I'd love to".
Over this time, I heard things about him leaving in the fall. I knew it was because he had enlisted in the army, but I had no idea what that entailed. I had no idea what I was in for, nor did I really care. I think I was too afraid to ask.
About a week after asking if I wanted to go out, he found out via facebook that I was helping a family friend move. Having no idea who these people were, he volunteered. I think that's when like started turning to love.
The dad of that family is a former service member (for the life of me, I can't remember what branch), and having found some of his old military stuff, he and Patrick started talking about the military. But being busy, I didn't get much of a chance to eavesdrop.
After all of that was done, we dropped his piece of crap car off at the theatre and he got into my car and we headed to my house to watch "Hangover". By the time the movie was over, my whole family was home (my parents and all 4 brothers) and we had Chinese food and joked around. It was late when he needed to get going. As we were getting in to my car, he said "you're family is f***ing insane, but I love it".
It wasn't much, but I consider that our first date.
Looking back, I'm realizing that June was a very huge month for Patrick and me. Our first legit date (Green Lantern at the movies and ice cream afterwards), and we started rehearsals for a children's musical written by a local play-write (a free show that made so much money, we ran for 4 weeks instead of the originally given 2).
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
Summer, so that means another volunteer position at cub scout summer day camp. The theme was "Myths and Legends". The camp tshirts... ugly and lime green.
It was the first time I was left in charge of a group so it was stressful. It was the youngest group too. All 8 of these kids were around the age of 7. During rare down moments (during activities that didn't need my help) I would text Patrick and that would get my mind off being stressed, and then I'd be ready to face the next activity.
Right after camp, I got Joey (who was also volunteering) and we went to the theatre to practice for the play. That afternoon we were choreographing a dance for a scene that was set in New Orleans, and going over instrumentals for a couple other songs (I was a guitarist for this show).
Afterwards, Patrick, Joey, and I are all walking to the parking lot where we just started goofing around. I started playing my guitar and the three of us were singing "The Saga Begins" (by Weird Al). I decided it was time to put the instrument made of wood away when it started to rain a little. It was time to go home anyway.
Joey went over to help Patrick start his piece of crap car. Out of boredom, I kicked off my shoes, put them in my car and walked over. I love the feel of wet pavement, is that weird? Anyway...
Patrick and I hugged goodbye, and then after a little stuttering he said "Uh, Jacqui? Can I ask you something?" So I start to walk back over and Joey follows. "Umm.. in private." I took Joey by the shoulders, and pointed him in the direction of our car. Then I turned back to Patrick. I so totally knew what he was going to say, but kept telling myself to relax. I never had a boyfriend before so I had no way of knowing.
"So uh, I'm no good at this sort of thing. Do you want to make this...... umm... official?" I probably should have held on just a split second longer to say yes, to make it seem like I wasn't as nervous as him. But who cares?
As usual, he asked me to text him when I got home that way he knew I got there safe (even though I only live 10min. from the theatre and he lives 30).
When I did, he said "good", and when he got home I got this text: "I smiled the whole way home. Thanks for saying yes. :)" I look on Facebook, and the first update I see was from Patrick. It said "She said yes".
The next 2 months were getting to know each other. Hanging out as often as we could. We took things slowly. Our first kiss wasn't until the day before we celebrated 2 months (we celebrated it because we knew he'd be leaving and we wanted to make mountains out of the molehills).
Patrick left for the MEPS on Monday, September 5th, and flew to Missouri for BCT the next day. The day before he left, his mom and sister threw a surprise goodbye party for him. When it was over was the first time the both of us said "I love you". I always hated how the word "love" was just thrown around, so I wanted to make sure I meant it when I said it to Patrick.
The rest you know. Like pretty much any other military relationship. Very little contact through BCT, besides dozens of letters. Which was quite a change, going from 100+ texts every day from the day we exchanged numbers to the day he left. I went to MO with his mom for his graduation. He went to TX for AIT. Finally some more contact. A month later he was home for Christmas (and arrived on my birthday which was the best birthday present ever). March, he graduated AIT and was home for 2 weeks and then was off to his first duty station in Hawaii.
So yeah, I knew him for only 2 and a half months before I became his girlfriend, and only 4 and a half months when I officially became an army girlfriend.
2011 was quite the wild ride.
Now you know Patrick and me better than you probably ever cared to. ;)
What's your story?