The Story of How I Met Superman, Part 17: This One

This is final part, Part 17, of the story of How I Met Superman. To get caught up, you can find the preceding chapters here.


I drifted through the next few days in fog of disbelief. I couldn’t believe I was going with Chris Sanchez — this boy I’d had such a crush on. …

“Going together” — in those very, very early days of dating among my peers — was sort of like arranged marriages: You’d commit to trying each other out, exclusively, even though you barely knew each other.

And, in those first few days, Chris and I definitely barely knew each other. We’d meet each other at the walk-up rail to school each day, nodding shyly.

“Hey,” he’d say.

“Hi,” I’d respond.

And we’d lapse into an awkward silence.

So we’re going together now, I’d think. Now what?

On the second day, he looked like he was going to hold my hand, but seemed to change his mind, and took my books instead. “Where’s your next class?”

“Math building.”

He nodded and began to walk me there.

And so it went. Continue reading

The Story of How I Met Superman, Part 16: Ask Me

This is Part 16 of the story of How I Met Superman. To get caught up, you can find the preceding chapters here.


By the time I got home – after riding my bike through the Santa Ana winds from Syndy’s house – I was exhausted. I flung myself on our Naugahyde couch, threw my sweatshirt and beach towel on the carpet, and thought about calling it a day. All I could think about was that the voice of wisdom, all around me, seemed to howl as loud as the wind, telling me I didn’t need a boyfriend. …

I’d already had two. And the only thing I was certain about was that relationships were a little overrated: They didn’t really work out the way they did in the movies.

I flung myself into another dramatic position on the couch and sighed. But this one just seemed different.

He didn’t seem controlling. He didn’t seem conniving. He just seemed like he wanted to spend time with me, be near me, be present. He seemed shy. He seemed sweet.

I batted away the next chorus of “Free To Be You and Me” that tried to enter my head and realized I didn’t just want another boyfriend. I wanted this boyfriend. Continue reading

… Gulp …

Alright, I hate to do this yet again, but I don’t have my next “How I Met” installment done.

I could give you all my excuses — like my cold’s been raging again, I had a busy work week,  I’m distracted with Oregon applications and scholarships, my “How I Met” file disappeared temporarily, and other things going on (which are all true). But — fact is — Part 16 is just not ready yet.

And this is an important one. (Not one I can “phone in,” if you know what I mean. Or write under the influence of very strong nighttime cold medicine. …)

I also realize I told part of this out of order, but I don’t think it will matter. I mean, it’s not like I’m telling this under oath or anything, but seeing it flip-flopped now sort of bugs me.

Also, Chris and I remember the next part (Part 16) a little differently, which is interesting. But it was fun talking about it with him and getting his own recollection. Continue reading

The Story of How I Met Superman, Part 15: The Winds of Change

This is Part 15 of the story of How I Met Superman. To get caught up, you can find the preceding chapters here.


The morning after Valentine’s Day – the day I was supposed to take a bike ride to the beach with Dawn and Syndy* – I woke up to the sound of the warm Santa Ana winds whirling outside my window.

The Santa Anas are a particularly fierce wind system that come through Southern California once or twice a year. They typically strike in the fall – the dry, warm, powerful winds often fanning flames over end-of-summer dry brush and creating terrible “fire seasons” – but sometimes they strike in the winter, too.

Raymond Chandler wrote: “It was one of those hot, dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that, every booze party ends in a fight. … Anything can happen.”

And Joan Didion wrote: “Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and unpredictability of the Santa Anas affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”

Truly, the Santa Anas seem to change things. … Continue reading

The Story of How I Met Superman, Part 14: Questions

This is Part 14 of the story of How I Met Superman. To get caught up, you can find the preceding chapters here.


It had been 13 days since Patrick’s party. In those two weeks, I’d had the joy of being walked home, several times, by Superman. And I was growing more and more attached.

I loved the way he held my books for me. I loved the way he looked at me sideways when we were walking. I loved the way he talked, but in very measured words, never wasting sentences. I loved the way he smiled when something struck him as funny, and how sometimes a smile was all he gave.

Valentine’s Day was fast approaching, but I wasn’t linking it to this boy I liked. For some reason, I still felt he was slightly out of my reach – like trying to get a ladybug to land on your finger: One false move and it was on its way.

Instead, as Valentine’s Day drew near, I was thinking about what I was going to make for my family. Valentines were sort of a big deal in our household of five – my mom really enjoyed it, and she would put out a box for us to put family valentines in, then we’d exchange them after dinner. Sometimes we went out to dinner, but not often. (In fact, maybe only once. We rarely went to restaurants back then.) Mostly we just had a Valentine’s dinner at home – spaghetti, most commonly – and then would open the valentine box. I always looked forward to seeing what my brothers and parents would write to me on their cards. To this day, Valentine’s Day seems like a family event to me. Continue reading

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