Today is the sixth anniversary of my first kiss from Steinvic. (Yes, I'm 38 years old, and wildly sentimental.) After all, I didn't fall in love until I was 32. So...in some ways, I'm still new to all of this.
Steinvic and I met each other briefly the year before. We were in Chicago for the same professional association conference. I was still married, though that was rapidly disintegrating. And Steinvic was living with someone and that relationship was also deteriorating. So of course, nothing happened on that trip (we are a rare, extremely loyal breed), aside from a short hello, a quick bus conversation about the Reds, and a follow up call after. I thought he was very nice and knowledgeable about baseball. I noticed that he was the first person up to Christen the open bar at our evening gatherings, too. But we really didn't talk or interact beyond that one conversation. The follow up call after was because he was on the board for that organization and encouraged me to join permanently. We didn't talk again until the next Spring.
Fast forward to April 19, 2004. First day of the conference...it was a Monday. The evening before I'd spent with Em and her then-girlfriend, FJ. It was my second time in Las Vegas, the first being November for a site inspection. By April, I was mid-divorce legally, but mentally and emotionally, I was already so completely over that mess. I'd been living with my parents since the Fall, and when I say I barely escaped the situation I'd been in, well...some things can't be put into words. (At least I haven't found them yet. Someday, maybe...but only if it will help someone else.)
In our first session, I saw Steinvic right away. He was hard to miss - he showed up late and had to sit up front. I was seated toward the back. And he was just... the sun. I can't explain it any other way. He was there, burning a spot in the corner of my eye, commanding my attention without even trying. He wasn't doing anything special, but I could not stop seeing him.
(Later I learn that he noticed. It's embarrasing, even now, but it's true - I was checking him out!)
And that night, a group of us met up after a board meeting - and I was an unofficial member, invited for my input because I was new. I was so nervous to be around these people, I was destroying my manicure. I had no self esteem at this point in my life and I was seated with professionals who were actually interested in what I had to say. It was a strange and foreign moment. And Steinvic was seated next to me. These people were brilliant. We were all having cocktails during the meeting and I was drinking Mai Tais...
After the meeting, we all went to a comedy show. We'd scored a group rate to David Brenner, and I "somehow" ended up sitting next to Stenvic. His hand touched mine at one point. He brought me a Mai Tai at another. And after the show, we ended up at Margaritaville with a friend of his, Julie, who he'd known for a decade. We were laughing and talking. I honestly hadn't been out with grown ups in five years. And..at one moment, I think the lights on The Strip dimmed.
Because Julie had gone to the ladies' room and Steinvic and I were alone. And he and I kissed, though who initiated it is still a source of great teasing.
In that moment, my whole world changed. Thank G*d for Mai Tai Monday!
I can't say I fell in love that second, but wow. The window for love literally flew open. And love crept in without my even noticing in the days that followed. And before I knew it... I realized I'd met my best friend. And everything since has been so sweet.
So, in honor of this incredible day, pour a Mai Tai and drink to the hope that I found six years ago! To the knowledge that wanting and being open to love and happiness is the whole reason we're here...