“Aimee’s up for anything”—that’s what my friend Jodi always said about me, with a laugh. And that’s what she had in mind the night she asked me to accompany her to her friend’s boyfriend’s birthday party.
“It’s at a goth club” she said with a grimace. “I really don’t do goth, but I’ll go if you go.”
“Okay!” Ever the chipper friend, I gushed on, “I have pink hair dye and black lipstick—we can totally make this fun!”
And that’s how it all started.
The plan was to meet at my friend Brian’s house, get all glammed up, and then the three of us would go to the biker bar, Bellevue, that was the meeting point for all the goth club partygoers. We walked in, and after making a beeline for the bar to get a strong vodka tonic, I strolled to the back of the bar where everyone was mingling together, trying to down their drinks as fast as possible, probably to get their courage up to pretend to be goth. I remember seeing a cute blond in a black shirt, but I walked over to the jukebox instead to pick a song.
The next thing I knew I was talking to the cute blond in the black shirt. His name was Donnie, and it turned out the longer we talked the more we had in common. Mainly, we both were scuba divers—and he ate it up while I bragged about getting certified on the Great Barrier Reef. I guess I had him hooked at that point!
Many drinks later, we ended up at the goth club. All of us black clad posers made our way to the second floor, dancing our brains out to blaringly loud music. I remember dancing with Donnie, thinking he was so cute, and that I should probably kiss him. So, I leaned in, trying to be all seductive and planning to nibble softly on his lip. Well, the vodka knocked my coordination out of whack—I bit his lip instead!! Brave guy, he looked shocked as I giggled embarrassedly but it didn’t stop him from dancing with me. Afterwards, we walked over to the bar and he asked me for my email address. Indignant, I exclaimed, “A man would ask for my phone number!” And the courtship began.
Well, maybe courtship is the wrong word. Poor Donnie, he kept calling me the first week after we met but I screened my calls, thinking that I wouldn’t make it easy for him to think he could “casually” date me while he lived in Albany! After that first week he started emailing me, and we began to get to know each other. We’d email every now and again, so when he called me a month or so later, I picked up the phone and only hung it up after a 3 hour phone conversation.
It came time for us to meet in person again. Donnie was coming to New York for a friend’s birthday dinner and invited me to meet him out at the restaurant. I had promised a friend I’d help her move that night, but I assured Donnie I would call him when I was on my way.
Of course, moving someone in New York always takes longer than you think. After a million trips up and down 3 flights of stairs lugging plastic bags filled with innocuous crap, I felt pretty hot and sweaty and in no mood to go out for a margherita with people I didn’t even know. I called Donnie, expecting to politely cancel our plans. Instead, when I heard his voice, I thought “What the hell, an hour wouldn’t kill me” and I walked towards the restaurant.
The minute he saw me enter the room he stood up and came over to me. At that instant, I became extremely shy—suddenly I realized I had a huge crush on him and I immediately clammed up, certain that I would say something stupid. Poor Donnie, he told me later that because of my silence he was convinced I didn’t like him! But, at the end of the night, when Donnie’s friend Savina gave us a ride home, I made sure to hug him and I told him I had a great time, and I would love to hang out tomorrow.
The next day, I made the long subway trip to Rockaway, Queens and spent the day with Savina and Donnie. We took a walk, went to an open air market, got Chinese for dinner and had ice cream. Later that night, Donnie and I had a long talk that started on the beach under a full moon and didn’t end until the next morning! When Savina and I dropped him off at the train station later that morning, I had goose bumps—I knew we had something special.
When he invited me on a camping trip to Lake George with his friends, I was very excited-I knew I’d have a great time. But little did I know that once I left my apartment in Queens, I would come back a committed woman! All it took was a life-threatening boat ride at night during a thunderstorm with one engine out to convince me I had met someone special. And the rest is history.