I was never a social butterfly, and James was even worse off; I'd dated a few times in college, but he had no dating experience whatsoever. In fact by his early twenties he'd given up on dating and ever finding a mate, and likened himself to a "noble gas" floating around and never really reacting with any other elements.
We couldn't have seemed better suited than if Hollywood planned for us to get together. He was the best childhood friend of the guy who was dating my best childhood friend. We both grew up under, and rebelled against, extremely religious and conservative parents. For us, going to the mall meant visiting B. Dalton and Waldenbooks. We could recite every line from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and got very annoyed with people who referred to Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek character as "Dr. Spock."
Just one glitch: we lived 500 miles apart. Our respective best friends said "These two have got to meet" and they set us up.
I will never forget meeting him at the airport when he flew in for our date weekend. I was incredibly nervous. What if we didn't click in person? What if it just felt too awkward? My anxiety levels grew as people got off the plane and I still didn't see him. What if he'd changed his mind? And then--I saw him, trailing behind the last stragglers. I felt myself grinning from ear-to-ear even before I noticed the bouquet of white roses and purple irises he carried.
"Hello James," I said.
"You're beautiful!" he replied, and gave me a kiss. The passengers and crew coming off the plane actually applauded. I was half-mortified, half-thrilled. It really was like something out of a movie. When I said something to that effect, James just gave a little laugh and said, "Well, nerds need love too."