Claire and Ryan met in the early 2005 while enrolled in a spring course of Psychology 101. They never spoke more than a few words to each other, but shared many looks across the lecture hall. Over the duration of that spring class, a crush developed. For Ryan, ‘Psych Girl’ became a thing his friends at work would tease him about. Since he hadn’t yet spoken to her, but constantly talked about her, they’d try and convince him to ‘Say Hi to her’ and ‘Get her name’ and eventually ‘ask her out on a date’. Ryan got as far as her name, and it was Claire. For Claire, he was the guy on the other side of the lecture hall that always smiled her way, so she called him ‘Smiley Guy’. The final class came and went, and Ryan and Claire went on their ways to live their lives, for weeks after Ryan would continually curse himself for not building up the nerve to ask Claire on a date, but fate had it all figured out.
Over the span of five years, they continually bumped into each other; at coffee shops, at the farmers market, in the university hallways, at grocery stores and local eateries, they’d be in the midst of there day, notice each other, and smile. Unbeknownst to Claire, these little intersections would cause a rift in Ryan’s day, and wherever he went next he’d have to explain in detail to whoever he was with, that he just bumped into ‘That Girl’ again…and he wished he’d said hello. It came to the point where they both were unknowingly making the same jokes to their friends; “I think she thinks I’m stalking her” and “Hey, there’s that guy that’s stalking me”.
Finally, on his 28th birthday, Ryan had a lasting encounter with Claire on the sunny sidewalks of Whyte Avenue during the Edmonton Artwalk… with his mother. He had waited five years for the perfect moment to ask Claire out, and was now standing in front of her….with his mother. He smiled, and complimented her art, and sweated and hoped his mother wouldn’t say anything embarrassing like; “It’s my sons birthday, don’t you think he’s a handsome boy” (both would be true… but not appropriate under the circumstances). He slowly looked at every painting, hoping his mother might move on to the next artist, giving him time to quickly whisper “umm do you want to go out some time?”… but in reality he knew he couldn’t build up the courage to ask the girl of his dreams out, in the presence of his mother. So, he didn’t. Instead, he finished the Artwalk with his mother and decided to walk home instead of taking the ride his mother offered.
Ryan determinedly walked towards his destiny, rehearsing the words he would use to finally wisp Claire away; “Hey, you were that cute girl in my psych class right?” or “Aren’t you that girl that sells bagels at the farmers market?” each one worse than the last, and with each step he took closer to her, his heartbeat increased….thinking maybe he should tell her he used to head to the market on Saturdays, to buy bagels just so he could see her and say hello and make her smile and how ironic it was when he found out that he was gluten intolerant, and how sad he was, cause he couldn’t buy bagels from her anymore. Finally, he was standing in front of her, he clamped up, and was just about to walk away, when Claire said:
“Hi… didn’t we take a psychology class 5 years ago?”
“Yes and I see you everywhere”
Instantly Ryan is overjoyed, because she knows he exists.
“Yeah, cause I’m stalking you”
“Oh” She laughs awkwardly.
“No, I was kidding”
“I like your art”
“My mom really likes that painting, it’s beautiful”
“Oh, thanks to your mom”
“So do I, I mean I was just here with her, and… I like it too…”
“Are these your cards?”
“Mind if I take one?”
And then… he said thank you and walked away.
Briskly he walked directly home. Then promptly (and against all instincts of seeming desperate) he emailed her in hopes of getting together for a ‘beverage of some sort’… as to be all inclusive. If you ask him why, he’ll say he couldn’t bring himself to ask her out while she was working, and that doing such a thing is disrespectful and tacky… but in all honesty, he was probably afraid that she would say no. She didn’t. They met for coffee, and soon realized how wonderful it was to spend time together. Upon the end of their first date, Claire mentioned how soar her cheeks were from laughing, and Ryan hoped she wasn’t laughing at him… but was okay if that was the case.
Now, they live together, love together, own a cat named Frances and are getting married, and can’t wait to share that special day with you.
Song Credit: Real Love by The Beatles, covered by Colleen Brown