He saw me struggling with my failed attempts to gently let this guy know I wasn’t interested. He walked up beside me and put his arm around me. For the rest of the night we chatted it up and then walked back to the dorm. That wasn’t the first time I had noticed him, though. All the girls on the seventh floor had noticed Corey Gerald. He first caught my eye as I walked back into the dorm after saying goodbye to my parents. He was sitting on a bench reading a newspaper. He was completely unaware of me. I had already vowed not to date anyone who lived in the Mysch/Hurst halls of LaFollette. At that moment, I vowed to meet him. Moving on.
Moving on to moments like these:
I knocked on his door. He answered in shorts, snake skin cowboy boots, a cut up t-shirt, bandana around his head, guitar on his back and dip in his lip.
“Come on Skyler, let’s go pick up some chicks,” as he heads to the Wrangler with his three year old son. “Where’s the chickens, Dad?”
He challenged his cousin to a battle of the toughest. Whoever can hold onto this match the longest wins. His cousin always won… if burnt fingers are winning.
I’m released after carpal tunnel surgery. Get dressed, you are free to go. I asked Corey to help me fasten my bra. He replied with, “I only know how to take them off.”
Always the knight in shining armor coming to a damsel’s (or damsels’ ) rescue, he stood on a chair to change a light bulb that five girls couldn’t reach. As he perilously reaches and twists, the loudest clap of thunder, the biggest flash of lightening, immediate darkness and the knight falls to the floor. We thought he was dead. Five beautiful, college girls scream and rush to his side. He can’t hide the smile. Joke’s on us.
Three high school buddies cruising through town on a Saturday night in the cab of a pick up truck. At a stoplight Corey, sitting next to the passenger door, bends over so it looks as though the driver and the friend in the middle are a couple. Genius.
“I’m going to do a flip.” He announces to all of us as we’re eating lunch poolside. I told him to consider his age. It’s been since, I don’t know, high school that he’s done any flips. “Just for that I’m going to do a double.” He saunters to the diving board. We’re all nervous. He gets to the end, bounces high and throws us two middle fingers. Again, joke’s on us. Well done.
“I would pick my dad for president because when my friends and I get in a fight he always makes us stand in a circle and hold hands and then he sings Why Can’t We Be Friends. He makes people get along.” – Kyndall
“Excuse me ma’am! Ma’am? I thought you might like a brochure that details what Becoming Mom offers.” I turn around, all of my 8 months pregnant self. Corey, in full poker face, “Who her? She’s not pregnant.”
You either loved him or hated him. There was no in-between. I always believed (still do) that if you hated him, it was because you weren’t intelligent enough to get him. He was smart and incredibly witty. He was unapologetically genuine, and that was so refreshing. That is worth the missing.
I drive him to the eye institute for lasik surgery. We park and I’m ready to jump out of the car. He pulls me back. “Just let me look at you for a minute, in case I go blind. I want a visual of you.”
There was the stuffy poolside dinner party in the Outer Banks where he casually walks by and nudges a pre-teen boy THAT HE DIDN’T KNOW into the pool, fully clothed. Just to break the ice.
His spot on impression of Mick Jagger. His incessant guitar rendition of Pink Houses. His ability to offer the best view to his kids atop his shoulders at parades, fireworks, hiking and Christmas caroling.
And then there was the time we were driving home from hiking with the top down on the Jeep. Suddenly it’s storming. He pulls over and attaches the top. When he climbs in he is soaking wet. I mean you could wring out his shirt. We’re all just staring at him wide eyed as the water drips down his face. He breaks the silence with, “Dodged every drop.” And we crank up the tunes and continue home.
Because of the time I came home from an out of state funeral, three weeks postpartum with our third child. I was exhausted and overwhelmed with sadness. He had planted the trees that were delivered while I was gone, chili was on the stove. He took the kids from me and led me to our room. For me a bath was drawn, soft music was playing through the bathroom speakers, a glass of wine and fresh towels were waiting for me.