Monday, May 11, 2009

A Serendipitous Tumble

Embarrassing moments. Wow, I have quite a few to choose from. I think I’ve blocked most of them out, but a few still manage to stick with me, like accidentally exposing myself in the middle of a skating rink full of kids, nearly breaking a bowling lane single-handedly, forgetting myself in the middle of a movie theater and shrieking at the screen—yeah, I’ve got a few.

The one that sticks with me most, though, is one that fortunately has a happy ending. It was the beginning of a new semester at college, and my first week with a new boyfriend. Now, you know how it is with a new guy; you’re very careful with what you say and do. You don’t burp, you excuse yourself to the bathroom just to blow your nose, you eat slowly and carefully when you’re with him (and it doesn’t matter if you’re in a fancy restaurant or Taco Bell—you’ve got that stupid paper napkin in your lap), and you’re generally still working very hard to convince him how effortlessly cool you are.

On this particular day, I was meeting him in the outdoor quad between classes. This was the semester I’d decided to be a Biology major (the only semester, mind) and since each of the classes I was taking also had a lab, which had its own textbook, I was carrying about thirty pounds of books in my backpack. Bad decision number one.

Bad decision number two: allowing myself to get all googly-eyed. People in love don’t often watch where their feet are going. If anyone ever did an emergency room survey, I think you’d find a remarkable parallel between people newly in love and people who’ve just broken a bone in an accidental fall.

So, we meet up. We talk, we giggle. I look regretfully at my watch. I give him one last, lingering kiss goodbye, turn to go—

And step in a hole. Ordinarily, I just would have stumbled, but with thirty unaccustomed pounds of glossily-printed knowledge propelling me forward, I toppled like a felled tree onto my face. In front of a crowd of about twenty people. And, most importantly, in front of my new, super-hot boyfriend.

Did I mention this was at the end of a very hot, dry summer? In a high traffic area? The ground was dry. So dry that my body’s impact sent up a veritable mushroom-cloud of dust.

Thanks to a few years of karate training, I bounced back up so quickly that half the crowd wasn’t even sure what had happened. No such luck with the boyfriend, who was doubled up with hysterical laughter, but still tried to beat the dust off my front while I stood giggling nervously, wishing the hole had been a LOT deeper. MILES deeper.

I went off to class, still covered in dirt, and he couldn’t look at me for the rest of the day without busting out laughing. But just a few short weeks later, he asked me to marry him, and in two months, we’ll be celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary.

And you know what? I’m pretty sure that fall was the moment he fell in love with me.

Jacquelyn Sylvan is the author of Surviving Serendipity. Buy at Amazon by clicking the link, or click here to order from Quake Direct!


chris V. said...

See sometimes making a fool of yourself does work out. ha! Wow, that must've been some fall that he "fell" for you that fast too! Good story!

Alyssa Montgomery said...

Awww... Just like you said, sometimes embarrassing moments do have a happy ending!


Richard Lewis said...

My most embarrassing moment was a 4th of July party at US ambassador's residence in Jakarta (197 -- I was silly young teen) when I pushed a fully dressed blond girl I knew into the pool. Trouble was, I didn't know her, they looked alike from behind...and not only that, she was the ambassador's daughter

Ophelia Julien said...

Do you celebrate the anniversary of your "Great Fall"??? That would be sweet!

Pam Ripling said...

I love this story, too! Wow! You fell, then he fell. Ahhhhhh.....