I am what some people would call an introverted, computer-obsessed, elitist, nerd. Some people call me that, but most other people call me much worse things. I have several friends, but we do all of our socializing on the Internet. I play lots of games on the computer, I eat lots of junk food, and I wear lots of funny shirts. That is me in a nutshell, and it doesn’t get much deeper than that. I was an angry guy because I felt the world didn’t understand me, but I never actually tried to go out into that world and introduce myself. My loneliness was mostly my own fault.
I had a moment of self doubt and guilt one day about the direction my life was headed. My mother came to my room and asked me for a favor, which was actually a business proposition since I would be well compensated for my troubles. My parents like to go out together on Wednesday nights. All that had stopped about a year previous because my mother was getting close to her due date with my little baby sister and was put on bed rest for various minor complications. My sister has been around for around 6 months at this point so they wanted to continue their weekly date tradition. I told mom I couldn’t do it. I had raids planned with my online game. What kind of son lets games come in the way of their parent’s happiness? I wiped some cheese dust on one of my funny tees and promptly forgot about the whole thing.
I busied myself doing what I always do for the next couple of weeks, which means I sat in my room and got busy wasting my last summer before college on a computer. One day, my mother politely knocked on my door and stepped in wearing a really nice new dress. She quickly said, “I know you won’t eat it, but dinner is in the fridge. Tina is here. Try not to get in her way so she can take care of the baby, okay? Love you!” Just like that she was gone, leaving me surprised and with a strange girl in the house. I sat there, just staring out into space for a long time. I gathered my courage, put on one of my better funny tshirts, crept downstairs, and saw what had to be Tina. She was perfection. A little geeky and completely charming. I loved her.
She noticed me standing behind her at the foot of the stairs and she nearly jumped out of her skin, which scared me almost as badly. We both laughed for a minute afterward and she told me to come sit down. She could have asked me to kill a rancor, and I would have happily complied. We sat and talked for a while, she laughed at my shirt and we talked about some of our favorite funny tees. I could tell she was into Internet culture, but she never once looked at her smartphone and I admit that I never once thought about going to the computer either. It was a good talk, but the baby woke up and she had to go. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I immediately took off my shirt, folded it, and left it for her with a note that said, “For you.”
I wanted so badly to see her again. I couldn’t play my games, I couldn’t read, and I couldn’t sleep. I was sad and happy all at the same time. I didn’t know what was happening to me. She came every week, and I could never go back down the stairs to see her. Instead, I started leaving her one of my favorite funny shirts with various notes. I started leaving hearts on the notes, and I expected her to start returning the shirts…but that never happened. The night I saw her smiling up at my window as she left was the night I decided to talk to her. My outer walls had crumbled, and there was nothing I could do but dedicate myself to winning her.
That was how it all began, how I fell in love with my wife and how I finally came out of my shell…all because of some funny teeshirts and her laugh. I have never been happier, and she was so much more well-adjusted than me. She introduced me to good people and good music, and to a social life I never would have had the courage to find if it hadn’t been for her. Years later, I asked my mother on a whim if she had planned my encounter with Tina on purpose. She smiled and said, “I needed a babysitter. I needed my son to live outside of the Internet. I’m just glad I got both out of the deal. Money well spent.”