Red ink usually connotes discouraging news. Debt was incurred. Profits fell short. Or some answers were wrong and the grade given is lower than hoped for. In the instance of my husband Darcy and I meeting, however, red ink was a most fortunate thing.
I was nervous and hopeful on November 8, 1997, heading to my first-ever singles dance with my friend Diane. The friend who had brought up the idea of the dance a few weeks earlier backed out. She had gotten back together with her boyfriend. Diane was married but a supportive friend as well. She and our friend Maureen had helped me pick out an outfit earlier that day. One that would flatter but not overstate. “Accent my assets” as Diane said.
As I talked about in a previous post here, bars and churches had not been in my social arena for a long time. I knew men in recovery, but also knew and had learned first-hand, that people in early sobriety probably shouldn’t be looking for dates. So I opened my mind to the possibility of a singles dance, determining there must be others out there like me, looking for love in the right places.
When we arrived at the dance, at Village West in Spirit Lake, Iowa, I was already proud of myself for showing up. And grateful to Diane for accompanying me. I wouldn’t have been able to go alone. There were a number of people already there, and as I scanned the crowd, Darcy was the first man to catch my eye. From across the room, I saw a handsome man with what I dubbed “cute little intellectual glasses.”
The dance got underway and I danced with a a handful of men in a variety of dances. One dance was simply where the men lined up on one side and the women on the other, and whoever you met at the front of the line is who you danced with across the floor. One man told me much more than I cared to hear about his life and how his wife had wronged him. Red flag. No thanks. Others were cordial, but I was keeping my eye on that man I had spotted early in the evening.
The night wore on and I was getting tired. I felt good about my effort, but was considering leaving. When a lady’s choice dance came up, I wanted to ask mystery man to dance, but it took me some time to summon up the courage. Diane pushed me and I am glad she did. Mystery man and I shared a nice dance and conversation and hoped to connect again that evening.
That didn’t happen and Diane and I decided to leave. We intentionally walked the long way around the dance floor in hopes of seeing the man I now knew was named Darcy. No luck. We got in my car and as I was backing out, Diane said “There he is.” He had stepped outside at just that moment. Diane urged me to go back in and she said she had to go to the bathroom anyway. She didn’t really, but she knew it would get us back inside. (Can I just say “Thank you Diane!” again?)
So she headed to the bathroom and I located Darcy sitting at a table with friends he had come with from Sioux Falls. I surprised myself by having the confidence to walk up and start talking with Darcy. They were going to the Vikings game the next day and I wished them a good time and said that I had enjoyed meeting him. Instead of asking for my number, he more subtly asked if he could give me his number. I liked that.
Trouble was, neither of us had any paper or writing utensils. We went over to the welcome table where we found red markers and a flyer for another upcoming dance. We each tore a piece off and wrote our name and number on it and exchanged them.
We both saved our sheets and they made their way into our wedding album. Here they are, red ink of the best kind:
That 1:00 at Perkin’s in Worthington in the upper right corner noted our first “date”, a week later. A date made when Darcy called a few days after the dance. Things happened fast from there. We were engaged by the next April and married on July 30, 1998.
Diane and fate each played an important role that night. I almost left that dance with no way of contacting Darcy and likely not ever seeing him again. Instead, we both took a chance and here we are. When we talked about it later, the best part came out. When Diane saw him as I was backing out, he HAD been looking for me after noticing I had left.
I love this story and I love that it is ours.