10, part 2

This post is continued from my previous post in the saga. ;)

Chapter 2: MUD meets MUSH


So I grabbed whatever it was I had ordered, filled my soda cup with whatever it was I drank (I assume it was Dr. Pepper, since I didn’t switch to diet Mt. Dew til after we got married). I remember other people there - friends had been called - and they had pushed some of the tables together to form a long line. I sat across the table from him. Naturally. Cute boy? Talking not only about internet access but about MUDs? Not gonna let this one out of my sight, baby. And there’s something about a boy in a black hoodie. Mmm.

He was a youngn’, I could tell that much. He lived in the non-cooking dorms, and therefore was a Freshman. I had dropped out of school and moved home earlier that year, after half of my junior year in Utah. I was 20. So he was probably 18. (I found out later that he was, indeed, 18.)

And I remember my heart kind of thudding in my ears as I gathered my nerve to speak. He wasn’t making it easy. Jared is a pretty shy person, so he had been assiduously looking down at his food, eating with his whole focus and not looking up, or around, or anywhere. So it took a couple of minutes for me to get hold of myself, and then I said something flirty and witty and intelligent like, “So, did I overhear that you play a MUD?”

Nice. Smooth. Casual.

He realized I was talking to him, and completely froze. Deer in the headlights, pizza halfway to mouth. I like to think it was because he had suddenly noticed me and was stunned to silence by how beautiful I am. Yeah. I have that effect on people sometimes (hairflip).

But I am pretty sure it’s because he’d just heard the word MUD from a walking, talking human being. And a girl-type being, too. Talking casually about MUDs as if she knew what they were. And then the flirting began. His witty remark? “Yeah. I do.”

BUT I had done something that few other people can do right off the bat - stumbled on one of the rare topics about which Jared will talk with hardly any prompting to someone who is interested and/or knowledgeable. I can list them on one hand, I think. Fortunately for me (or this shy boy might have eaten his pizza and run for the hills at the first chance), computer games make that list.

So I think his curiosity got the better of his natural shyness. He told me the name of the game he played. I had never heard of it, and I can’t for the life of me remember now what the name of it was - you see, he had these beautiful, mesmerising eyes I had just seen clearly for the first time when he looked at me.

As a side note, I tease him that he fell in love with me at the next sentence I said (which is coming up in a second), but I’m afraid I might have fallen first. It was the eyes. Also, the black hoodie. I’m weak.

So he told me the name of the game he played.

And I said, “I play Dune MUSH. Based on the Frank Herbert books.”

And riiiiiiigggghhhhhtttt |there| is when he fell in love. No lie. I can pinpoint it to the second in the replay in my head.

His whole face brightened. The shyness evaporated. And he looked at me as if he was seeing me clearly for the first time. “Really? Wow. I don’t know anyone else who plays MUDs. And Dune is one of my favorite books.” And this was just about the highest compliment he can give. Right up there by, “Man, you are the most beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes on.” Which is the way he said it.

And you know in the movies when everything else sort of fades away into the background, and the two lovers are just sitting/standing there, eyes locked on each other, enveloped in their own little world? THAT REALLY HAPPENED.

Except of course, the eye-locking, since we were just getting to know each other. But I SWEAR (possibly because I don’t remember a single other thing about that night) that the rest of it happened. World fades away. We talk about Frank Herbert, Orson Scott Card, telnet, MUDs. He’s from Minnesota. A freshman. And I don’t think that I fully knew it then, but I had just met the love of my life.

The next time I saw him was …

More tomorrow! ;)