I picked Tricia up that Saturday evening around 5 in my beat-up, 1993, Chevy S10 pickup truck. Actually, back then, it wasn't such a bad ride (and if Tricia was going to be staying in NC, she'd need to get used to riding in pickups), especially compared to the dirty, worn-down, beat-up state it's in now.
Tricia had never had a "boyfriend" and had only been on a few (maybe even one?) "dates". That was a good thing, because I had not dated much either. A girlfriend in high school, another brief "relationship" that previous spring as a freshman in college, and a few unpromising dates here and there left me with little experience to work with outside of my natural charm and good looks...
I can't tell you how nervously excited I was. I used to be incredibly shy and quiet, especially around girls, and I can remember a time when too much good conversation with a new person would literally have my body shaking (like I had the shivers from being cold) because I would feel so nervous...I was very shaky that night.
If I haven't mentioned it yet, in my mind, Tricia was just about the most beautiful girl I'd ever met (and certainly had the luck to actually talk with, much less spend any meaningful time with). To be completely honest, my original "this is the girl" thoughts from our first meeting were almost entirely spurred on by her beauty, BUT, the little time that we had spent together since that first day had shown me that she had a personality to match.
We went to dinner at the Coastal Cactus where we spent at least an hour having the usual get-to-know you chit-chat. It was during this conversation that I learned that Tricia was adopted and homeschooled (she was still finishing up her last classes)...I had been homschooled as well for several years (and we both turned out "normal" I might add), so we had plenty to talk about...and that she was very serious about her relationship with God.
I also learned of Tricia's CF, which to me, at the time, sounded pretty scary. But, as she always does, Tricia made it sound like it was nothing more than any other part of her life...no different than her love for animals or her dislike for our "boring" beaches (as compared to the Jersey shore which is sooooooooooo much better, or so she told me)...it was just a part of who she was. That struck me, and I remember thinking that, if I had a terminal illness, I'd for sure have a different outlook.
After dinner, we drove over to the "Lost Treasure Golf" where I was working at the time (which meant I could get in for free putt putt, which all but guarantees a good first date). I really wish I had a picture... I'm pretty sure I behaved like an idiot...familiar surroundings and pretty girls used to do that to me (and still often do when it concerns Tricia). I'm sure Tricia would have lots to say about that if you asked her...
To say that evening did nothing to squelch my feelings for Tricia would be an understatement...I was still shaky after I dropped her off at her house and said goodbye. The only thing I remember about that night is wondering if she was feeling shaky too.