September 10, 2003 started out much like any other day. I woke up, got ready for work, car pooled with my roommate into the city, and spent the day in front of the computer. I don't remember the specifics about work that day but I can guarantee one topic over our normal lunch discussion was the softball game I was going to play in that night. It was the second game of the co-ed league season. I got roped into playing after a friend from work was frantically looking for girls to fill the empty slots. He knew I had played in high school and so asked if I'd join the team. I reluctantly said yes. To be completely honest, I had no desire to mingle with people I didn't know. The rough months of the summer had left me in a slump and all I really wanted to do was sit in my room and sulk. But I agreed anyway because I have a problem telling people no. Little did I know that agreeing to play one season of softball would completely change my life.
My roommate agreed to attend the game with me that night, as did another friend from work. I was very appreciative. Amy and I hurried home after work, got changed, scarfed down some food and headed to the park south of the city for the 7 o'clock game. Although we had entered September it still felt like summer. I had on my black Nike shorts and a men's XL t-shirt that proudly displayed our sponsor's name: Judges Irish Pub. The shirt was so large it hung well below my shorts and my frizzy hair was pulled into a ponytail.
I played 2nd base, while my friend was at 1st. We joked around through the game and I felt my spirits lifting. When the team loaded up to go to Judges for our after-game celebration I was ready to attend. A night out with friends, it was exactly what I needed.
The three of us girls were sitting at the bar talking and starting a game of quarters when they walked in. He was wearing a blue Billabong shirt, khaki shorts, and sandals. He was tan and his hair was visibly bleached from long days in the sun. The three of them sat at the bar directly across from us. I immediately turned to Jamie and said "See the guy in the blue shirt? How old do you think he is? I'm so rusty at this, he could be 21 and I wouldn't know it."
It wasn't much later when the bartender came over and handed us a note written on a napkin. Just like in 5th grade. It read:
My name is Collin Kono
my phone # is 414-640-xxxx
Our note back simply said: How old are you?
I'm not exactly sure where the note writing went from there, but I do know that it went on for some time and remember laughing hysterically more than once. The bartender was fun enough to join in and happily took our notes back and forth across the bar.
Prompted by his friends, he finally made his way over to our side of the bar and properly introduced himself. We taught him our made up version of quarters and later played darts. We lost, but he asked me for my phone number anyway.
There have been very few times in my life when I have been absolutely sure about something. Following that Wednesday night in September 2003 I was absolutely sure that my life had just changed. I wasn't sure how this would all play out. I wasn't sure if this tanned guy in the blue shirt would be in my life for long, but I was sure that something had shifted. And I was absolutely positive that this shift was a good thing.
To be continued.......