We grew up less than a mile apart, yet were in different school districts. I was on swim team with his sister and I always referred to him as "Katrina's cute brother." But I am so glad we didn't start dating then, because he was a heart breaker, and I was a hot mess. I'd have given us two weeks, tops. Then I would have probably had one of my friends break up with him for me over the phone. Like I said, junior high.
Fast forward to college... I spent my freshman year out of state, but then decided to come home. All I wanted upon graduation was to get out of California. Nine months away, and all I wanted was to go back. Jason and I ended up at the same school, and even had a class together. Marine science. At 7:30 am. Which was not about marine mammals, as I had hoped, but about the chemistry of the ocean. Bore to the ing. But, he was in there with two of his friends, and they needed a fourth for their lab partner. Luckily for them, nerdy, bookish, responsible me was there to rescue them from their slacker ways. I probably ended up doing all of the work, but they entertained me each and every day. We survived the early morning boredom, passed the class, and became great friends.
Friends. Just friends. At the time I was working two jobs and going to school full time. I was convinced that I didn't have room in my life for much more. Even if it came in the form of a cute boy. One night his best friend's band was playing at a local restaurant, and I was there with my friend. I had the following day off, and all I wanted to do was go snowboarding. My friend bailed on me at the last minute, and I was soooo bummed. It was going to be my first day off in 37 days. A big, big, big deal. On a whim, and not exactly wanting to head up the mountain alone, I asked Jason and his bestie to join me. They surprisingly said yes and right before midnight, a 5:30 a.m. meet up time was arranged. Until his friend bailed. Then he wanted to bail. Somehow I convinced him to go anyway, and promised it would be fun.
It was fun. So very fun. No awkwardness, no weird silences. Just happy, comfortable conversation. Over the next few weeks we began to spend more time together. He would even come visit me during my breaks at work. I was sad the semester was ending, that the torture that was marine science was over. He invited me to college group, and to a couple of his hardcore band, Unashamed, shows. For this Dave Matthews Band loving girl, that was a whole different world, to put it mildly.
On Christmas day he was preparing to leave on tour. He came over to say goodbye and promised to write. How cute is that? But him being the gentleman, and me being the clueless girl, I had no idea he thought of me as anything as more than a good friend. Two days later, while I was at work he called me. From Arkansas. In the days before cell phones, this was a big deal. It meant he had to go get coins and find a pay phone. That phone call was the first time I realized that there could be something more than I originally thought. Trouble is, I had plans to work and move to the local ski resort for the season. I wasn't sure how I would be able to juggle a semi- long distance relationship and school.
Fast forward a few weeks... he came home from tour and invited me to dinner at his house with his family. On the very short drive to his house, my little truck was hit head on by an uninsured drunk driver. I emerged from the crash unscathed, but my truck was totaled. As I waited for the police to arrive, I tried to call Jason to tell him what happened, but I couldn't remember his phone number. He sat at home thinking that I had stood him up! How did we ever survive without cell phones???? Eventually my brother called him and he met me at the accident scene. His care and concern for me in that moment made me realize how special he was, how much he meant to me. How much more than just a friend he had become. Because I was suddenly without an automobile, there was no way I could go work at the ski resort, but then and there I knew that there was no way that I wanted to leave him.
From that night on we began dating, survived college together, saw his other band The Supertones, get signed and record an album, grew up, and three years later got engaged. The following year we were married, bought our first house, toured, traveled and marveled at how a boring college class and a scary car accident brought us together.