Thursday, November 5, 2015

How a Bowling Alley Changed My Life

It's been quite a while since I linked up with Finish The Sentence Friday. I've missed it and, when I read today's prompt, I knew I had something perfect in the Old Blog Archives! This story was originally published on my blog in December of 2013. I've tweaked it just a bit to fit the prompt and make it up to date.
When I was 19, the thing to do on a Friday night was to go Cosmic Bowling. What is Cosmic Bowling you ask?? Well, basically, at midnight, the bowling alley turns off the house lights and turns on laser lights, a disco ball, and cranks up the music.  It was a night club atmosphere in the midst of a bowling alley.

Happy to be back on campus after the summer and too young to legally enter an actual bar, some girlfriends and I decided to go out and give it a try.

We arrived at the bowling alley, put on our magnificently fashionable bowling shoes, and took our place on the lane to which we had been assigned. A little bit later, a group of guys laid claim to the lane right beside us. They were obviously a little older than us - probably mid-twenties, and obviously had already had a few drinks.

Now, I'm not a proficient bowler, but apparently I was having a good night and I had bowled a couple strikes. My "talent" caught the eye of one of the guys in the other lane. He was not bowling very well himself (maybe too many beers??), so he suggested in a  rather flirtatious manner that I should bowl for him when his turn came around again. I reluctantly agreed. Then, when his turn came, I bowled the most perfectly beautiful gutter ball you ever did see.

Of course, I was embarrassed, but "that guy" seized the opportunity and said that I owed him a date because of my faux pas.  Being the Little Miss Goody Two Shoes that I was, I had not interest in going out with an older, less than sober guy, so I brushed it off. We continued to laugh about it while we finished our rounds of bowling. Then, my girlfriends and I left.

I thought that was the end of it.  After all, I hadn't given him my number or anything more than my first name.

You can imagine my surprise when, the next day, the phone in my dorm room rang and I heard, "Hi! This is David from the bowling alley last night." As it turned out, unbeknownst to me, some of my friends had given him my number and he was intrigued enough to call and formally ask me out.

We went out to lunch the next day, Sunday, at a local Italian restaurant that no longer exists.  Then, we headed to a local park for a walk. The rest, as they say is history. 

That was September 1996. We dated for a year and a half before he proposed. Then, about 7 months later, we got married in December 1998. It's hard to believe that we met 20 years ago and that, soon, we will celebrate 17 years of marriage.

If anyone in that bowling alley had told me I would end up marrying the guy in the next lane, I would have surely laughed hysterically. I didn't even want to give him my number! I still remember going back to my dorm after our first date that Sunday and the first thing the girls wanted to know was how old he was. I told them he was 25 and they proclaimed, "Wow!  He's old!" I guess, compared to 19, he was old, but that just seems so funny now - to think that 25 was "old." 

He quickly became my best friend. Since I was younger, he often had to choose between bar hopping with his buddies or hanging out with me. Fortunately, most of the time he chose me. I'm sure he took some ribbing from the guys for it and I'm grateful he had the backbone to endure the taunting.

Somehow we went from strangers in a bowling alley to this:

to this:

to this:

and this:

It's been 20 years full of challenges and joys, tears and smiles. David is still my best friend and I certainly hope I am his. He has taken me places I never dreamed I would go and he reminds me every day to laugh. He loves me in spite of myself and cannot imagine a life without him.

Who could have guessed that a simple Friday night with some girlfriends at a bowling alley 20 years ago would have changed my life so completely?!?!?!

This post was part of the Finish The Sentence Friday Linkup and the sentence was "When I was 19 . . . "

This week's hosts are:
Kristi at Finding Ninee
Mimi of Mimi Time 
Vidya from Coffee with Me 

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