I thought it would be fun to record Jason’s and my love story—at least the beginning of it—starting with when we met and fell in love back in 1999. This is part 5 of 6.
Monday after school I called my friend Lindsay to discuss homework, youth group, the usual…and why did she think Jay hadn’t called me yet? Was he going to ask me out on a date? We tossed around a plan that maybe we could invite Jason and the guy Lindsay liked, Matt, to hang out and make it seem like it was just a group of people from church hanging out…not a date or anything.
About that time, the call waiting beeped. Hang on, Lindsay. There is someone on the other line. Hello? Is Martina there? This is. This is Jay Ahlbrandt. Heart. Beating. So. Hard. His voice sounded incredible. So different than hearing my brother’s or my dad’s voice on the phone. He was speaking soft and clear, right into my ear.
We made small talk for a few minutes then he asked if I’d like to go to a movie the next Saturday night. I was glad he couldn’t see the ridiculous giddy grin on my face. I’d love to! Not sure if I was ready for a solo date with a boy—I was only 14, remember—I suggested we make it a double date and invite Lindsay and Matt. Jason was the only one of us with a license so he offered to pick everyone up. I arranged plans with Lindsay and then Matt (still letting him think it was just some friends hanging out).
The day of our date, my mom got a call from Lindsay’s mom. Karen had all kinds of questions for my mom. How well did she know this Jay? Was he a good driver? How old was he? Where exactly were we going? What time would we be home. My mom laughed. Lindsay is the first born in her family and I’m the youngest of three in my family. “Should I be more concerned?” she asked me jokingly. “I guess I’ve already been through this with your sister and brother and I just trust you.”
I paced around my bedroom, sneaking peeks out my window towards the driveway every 15 seconds. When I’m nervous, I have a constant urge to pee. I think I went to the bathroom three times before Jason’s blue Acclaim pulled into the driveway. Another quick swipe of deodorant. Check myself in the mirror one more time as the doorbell rang. I let my mom answer the door so she and my dad could fulfill their parental duty of inspecting a guy before he takes their daughter out on a date. I walked down the stairs a minute later, even though I knew my parents weren’t going to be obnoxious and intimidating; it just wasn’t their nature.
We picked up Lindsay and then Matt and headed to the dollar theater—the one that showed movies a few months late for a greatly discounted price. It was becoming clear that Matt still didn’t think this was a double date. While Jason bought my $1.50 movie ticket for She’s All That, Matt just bought his own. We sat in this order: Matt, Jason, Me, Lindsay. It was a cheesy high school romance movie but it totally spoke to me. It was about a cool, popular guy who ends up falling in love with a quirky, shy, artsy girl after a mean bet from his best friend who challenged that he could make any unlikely candidate the prom queen. There I was—a shy, nerdy, artist—being pursued by a cool, confident, rockstar. The song Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer that played at the end of the movie instantly became my new favorite.
We got a late dinner/snack at Burger King afterward and then went back to Emily’s house to say hi to some other friends. At this point, I think Lindsay was completely frustrated with Matt’s avoidance and decided she’d get a ride home from someone else. Jason took Matt home and then me. We both agreed we had had a really nice time and should do it again. After a friendly hug goodnight from across the car, I floated into the house. I don’t remember specifically what I did but I’m guessing I went up to my room and straight for my journal to recount the night and draw hearts around Jay’s name with colorful markers. Because that’s what 14 year old girls did back in 1999. Or at least one did.