This story makes me feel nostalgic for my university days. Where my daily uniform was jeans and a camisole layered with a cardigan and msn was the only way to communicate with friends.
London, Ontario – 2006. Xiomara and Rob met at Western University where they were both majoring in Sociology. He was cute but she had a boyfriend so the adoration would end there. But to know Xiomara is to know that her and Rob would soon become fast friends because, well, Xiomara becomes friends with everyone. Being a former science major, Rob was the go-to stats guy for everyone in their class. Xiomara required some tutoring and their friendship began there.
Just after Christmas break, Xiomara and her boyfriend break up in, what she describes, a pretty horrendous way and Rob hears about this. Unbeknownst to Xiomara, Rob starts to plan his strategy, beginning with connecting on msn.
Step 1: Add her to msn. Check.
Through msn conversation, he learns that they’re going to the same bar that Saturday night. They agree to meet at the bar and Rob asks for her number just in case. He then asks if she would like his. She says no but Rob isn’t deterred. He quickly says that she should also take his number, you know, just in case.
Step 2: Exchange numbers. Check.
They begin to spend more time together, dancing at local bars on Saturday nights and spending Sundays slightly hungover and studying. One Sunday, Xiomara noticed that Rob never called her by name. Once the idea was lodged in her head, she couldn’t shake it. Does he know her name? “Oh my God, do you even know my name?” she demands. Rob sheepishly says, “Of course I know your name! I mean, I can definitely spell it. X-I-O-M-A-R-A. I just don’t really know how to pronounce it.”
Step 3: Learn how to say her name. Check.
In February, Xiomara returns home for Reading Week. She receives a call from Rob who says he’s in her hometown visiting his sister and that they should hang out. For Xiomara, it finally begins to sink in that this outing may be different from others. Spending time on campus as friends is one thing. To actively spend time together during the break is another. While Rob is on his way to pick her up, Xiomara’s mother comes home with her aunt and uncle in tow. “Who are you going out with?” they ask, “How come we’ve never met him before?” adds her aunt, “You should invite him in,” says her mother. And so he does. On their first date, Rob meets mom, aunt and uncle and charms them all. Xiomara is completely mortified. And the rest is history.
Step 4: Meet her family. Check. Well, not really Step 4 but it definitely didn’t hurt. And if you’ve been wondering … it’s pronounced Sh-mara.
My time in another London, 2017.