I met Ronnie on June 27, 2008. I was home from school for summer break and since I wasn’t from AZ, I tagged along with my brother, Josh, and his friends to a movie. I had been hanging out with them for quite some time, so I knew all of the people going. We were sitting in our seats waiting for the movie to start (I think it was Wanted that we were seeing) when Bryan, one of Josh’s friends, said, “Ronnie’s coming, so we need to save him a seat.” A few minutes later, here comes a guy with khaki shorts, a t-shirt and “the messy hair look” walking up the stairs, stopping at our row. Everyone said their hellos (all knowing each other) and then Bryan said the words that would change my life forever, “Oh yeah, Ronnie, this is Mandi, Josh’s LITTLE sister.” Boom...fireworks, we fell in love and lived happily ever after. Haha I wish! We sat there waiting for the movie to start, Ronnie was telling riddles and having Josh, who’s a genius, solve them in a matter of seconds. Ronnie made several jokes throughout the first 5 minutes and had me cracking up. Point one for Ronnie: He was a funny man. Because he was so funny, I got super nervous to make jokes because funny people have a higher standard when it comes to funny...and I’m afraid I generally don’t make the mark. Suddenly, hunger struck and I went to get some candy. As I crawled over the other members of our group and passed Ronnie, who was on the isle, I asked if anyone needed anything, to which Ronnie replied, “I kinda need to pee, think you could do that for me?” I playfully rolled my eyes and said I’d see what I could do. When I got back I made sure to get a few sexy, intriguing lines in there like, “Want some m&ms” and (handing him the m&ms again) “Help yourself”. I made occasional eye contact with him as he made little comments during the movie, but there unfortunately, that was it.
After the movie we all went to one of our favorite spots, Armitage, to listen to live music. I “happened” to sit next to Ronnie (You will begin to realize, I’m a VERY strategic thinker). I began to ask him questions and soon realized he had JUST gotten out of a relationship. Minus one point for Ronnie: Baggage. I began to poke and prod about him and his ex (had to know why they didn’t work so I could know what NOT to do, right?). He had no bad things to say. One point for Ronnie: Nice guy. Minutes turned into an hours of talking about him, his ex, his life, his CF. What’s that? It was all about him? You betcha...I managed to make him think I wasn’t a big talker...SUCKER. No, I actually enjoyed listening to him talk about himself. He had a way of talking that hooked me. His laugh, his mannerisms, the way his eyes would light up when I would say certain things. I loved it. One point for Ronnie: He was interesting. So I just kept digging. I couldn’t tell you how long we sat there talking. Conversation just came easy with him. There was never a lull. I was hanging on his every word. I remember wishing this night wouldn’t end and that I could learn more about this green-eyed, playful friend of my brother’s. To ensure this wouldn’t be the last I saw of him, I began to plot again. At some point, someone was leaving and mentioned future weekend plans. I quickly threw out an offer to make everyone blueberry pancakes the next morning (genius: where there is food, Ronnie will come). Ronnie agreed to show and Bryan offered up his house. Perfect, this would not be the last I saw of him.
Ronnie and I continued to talk as people trickled out. We eventually decided to leave since it would be an early morning of blueberry bliss. But as we were wrapping up our conversation, music started to be discussed. One point for Ronnie: He loved music. (If you’re keeping score, he’s up in points big time). Ronnie tricked me into listening to the songs he was talking about that I had never heard. Could it be that he too wasn’t ready for the conversation to end? It gave me a little hope (although he’ll tell you he WASN’T interested at all and really just wanted me to hear the songs). We walked to his car, which, to my surprise, was a Ridgeline truck. Why was that surprising? I have no idea...just surprised me. I didn’t know then, but that was the first of many surprises Ronnie had in store for me. We jumped in the FRONT SEAT (for any of you who were trying to predict the story) of his truck and he began to play song after song on his ipod. Before each song he would swear was better than the last, tell a story to set it up, or act amazed that I had never heard it. We sat singing songs, talking, laughing. A few hours past, and we decided that it was actually time to wrap things up, as we would see each other in just a few hours. I gave him a quick hug, told him how awesome it was to meet him and get to talk (I tried to play it cool while still letting him know that I thought he was the coolest thing since snap bracelets), jumped out of his truck, and walked to my car, on air.
I don’t know if I ever told him this, but I had trouble falling asleep that night. I was like a little kid on Christmas eve, anticipating the morning, when I’d get to see him again. And if I had known what I know now about Ronnie, and if I had knew where we would be today, I would have been even more excited.
This is a bench outside of Armitage. Mandi made breakfast and we ate there for our first anniversary. See the post here.