The clock says 8:15 p.m. The kids are in bed and the house is quiet for the first time since 4:42 a.m. this morning. The past week I’ve taken a stroll down memory lane, which always leaves me in a nostalgic coma, kinda weepy and a lot grateful.
Today, five of the girls I lived with my senior year in college, some of my bestest and lifelong friends, are partying up in Chicago for our ten year college reunion. Ten years. Holy cow! Rather than sit around sulking that I’m not in my favorite city, with some of my favorite peeps, eating some of my favorite pizza, and laughing until my ribs hurt, I thought I’d drag you down memory lane with me.
1999-2000. One of the best years of my life. Did I meet the man of my dreams? Well, sorta yes and sorta no. “Scullz”, as Matt was known among his bunch of nine other guy buddies, was pretty funny and made me laugh a lot. Despite being a great friend, I regularly wished to myself over and over, “I hope he doesn’t like me. I hope he doesn’t like me.” And he didn’t. Not in that kinda way. Yet.
I don’t remember what precipitated it, but I was caught up in a prank war of gargantuan proportions with “Scullz”, my future husband and love of my life. So much so that people began asking each of us individually if we wanted to be more than just pals. The prank wars certainly had a level of flirtation, but I was emphatic about Matt not being the guy for me.
I was the designated house mom to this group of ten fellas who took up residence in a college house called “Graham House”, named after an infamous Wheaton College alum named Billy Graham. I have to chuckle thinking about the house’s namesake, because if Billy Graham stepped foot in that should-have-been-condemned structure, I think he’d want to keel over. More because of the stench, stains, and grotesqueness of its upkeep than the actual edifice. Ten guys under one roof. I’m sure most of you can only imagine. Or maybe you don’t want to; I won’t blame you one bit.
One night, I perpetuated the biggest prank of all by throwing two huge glasses of cold water onto Matt, who went to bed unusually early that night while the rest of us were downstairs hanging out. Granted, I wasn’t thinking about how the ensuing scenario would play out. My adrenaline overtook any rational thought, not giving the slightest forethought as to the awkward state of dress (or lack thereof) that my buddy would have chosen to sleep in that evening. All I knew was that this prank was gonna top all the others.
Those two large glasses of ice water awakened a 6’5” man out of bed so fast as he pursued his trespasser that all I could do was run for my life. Come to find out, the other thing I didn’t consider in this oh-so-great-idea of mine was if this would bring an hibernating grizzly bear out of the man I assumed to not have an ounce of grizzly in him. But he flew at me down the stairs as if that beast was just waiting to be aroused by a foolish twenty year old. I’ve never run so fast in my life, bounding down the stairs two or three at a time, fleeing behind someone I hoped would protect me.
I think Matt took one look at me and realized that I had the girl thing going for me and didn’t lash out (and I can attest to this day that the man doesn’t have one iota of grizzly in him). Thankfully, he was moderately dressed because my cockamamie plan left him half ‘nekked’ in the middle of his living room for dozens of eyes to see. I shudder to think about how catastrophic and compromising it could have turned out to be.
Fast forward several weeks. The wheels were turning in that brain of Scullz’s as he devised a plan of revenge so sweet that it officially ended the prank war because it was the topper. Every so often, I’d get a note in my mail threatening me, warning me of my imminent demise.
After heading up to Wisconsin for a camping trip with a campus ministry I was involved in (whereupon I dropped my keys in the feces filled outhouse pit…that’s a whole other story), I returned back to my apartment and noticed my bag of dirty laundry had disappeared. Kindly thanking my roommate for her thoughtfulness in doing my laundry, she sheepishly replied, “Meg, I didn’t do any of your laundry.” At that, my eyes took a wander at my closet and each of my drawers only to discover that every item of clothing I had at school was gone. All of it!
The only item left behind by such a conniving thief was a hideous, psychedelic, full-length 70s-looking dress that I would never, ever wear of my own accord. On top of it sat a hand-written note saying that I had to wear that dress all day the next day (even to my night class) in order to have my confiscated clothes returned to me. It was dreadful looking. And itchy.
If I had to cave into these ransom demands, I wanted to do it up right. I borrowed a set of platform heels (also something I’ve never since worn), put on thick makeup, painted my toenails, and played the part full on. The shoes ended up being the humdinger; by 10 p.m. that night, my feet were frozen and achy. It was a Chicago winter after all.
Bless him. Looking at this aged picture, Matt looks like a very agreeable sort alongside my outlandish attire <grin>.
While it took me another six months or so to be convinced that there might be something more to this goofy guy than what met my eye, those shenanigans are some of our fondest memories of college and each other. I think both of us are afraid to start up any kind of prank since we’ve been married. At least I am; I know firsthand they can go in a dangerous direction. But I have some time this weekend to muster some courage and brainstorm (I’m all ears, by the way).
Who woulda thunk it? The man who I caused to stand half ‘nekked’ in the middle of his living room drenched in freezing cold water and who left me sans clothes, holding them ransom, is my hubby, the man of my dreams. Oh, the irony.