In January of 2011 I happened to be working at the grocery store. It was a cold winter Sunday evening and we had few customers. I had lived in the town for several years and being near graduation I knew most of the people in town that were around my age. But when the young man turned by the impulse stands with his parents, I did not recognize his face.
I tried for a few heartbeats to get a better look at his face. I had a difficult time because I didn’t have glasses and he was wearing a hat.
I proceeded with my bagging of their groceries, making small talk with his father. His mother and him hung back a bit and as they came into full view of me I noticed that this young man wore a hat with the Cerberus symbol on it and a jacket with the N7 stripe on the right arm.
I grinned to myself in recognition. Taking a bold step I asked, “Mass Effect?”
His face lit up like Fourth of July and asked me if I knew what it was. I giggled, of course I knew what it was.
We spoke for mere moments before I mentioned his parents were about to leave him behind. I had watched his mother usher his father away, clearly unaware that his son was being hit on, even if only slightly.
I thought nothing of the conversation until a little later the cashier called my name. I turned to see the young man standing by our cart stand. Worried that I had made an error I approached and asked if everything was alright. He informed me that everything was fine but that he wanted to talk.
We talked for what felt like forever and for what had to have been only fifteen minutes. The entire time I was worried that I had snot crusties in my nose from the cold. What if there was something in my teeth? If there was anything askew he didn’t seem to notice.
We talked at length about Mass Effect and other video games we shared an interest. He was cute AND nice.
By the end of our conversation he had asked me for my Gamertag, of which I gave to him. I did inform him that I did not sign in as often as I once had and that it was a poor form of communication. He didn’t seem worried.
That evening I went home and got online for the first time in several months. I found his Gamertag and added him.
And then I realized something…
I didn’t know his name.
It really wasn’t fair because he could cheat; I wore a name tag.
The next day when I signed in I had a message from him. He was surprised but happy that I had added him so quickly. He clearly didn’t understand my bad habit of losing small papers.
A few days passed before I asked him to add me on Facebook, a social platform that I frequented more often. He obliged.
His name was Shelby Steiner and that was the day we met. The first day I laid eyes on my future, my best friend, and my husband. It will forever be one of my favorite days.