I remember the day I met you. It was the first day of my internship at the Maryland State Archives. I woke up extra early that morning, nervous and jittery. Maybe I knew something big was going to happen that day. I wore high-waisted designer pants I found at a secondhand shop, a white button down, and a ponytail.
When I pulled off Rowe Blvd into the parking lot, I felt relief when I saw Chuck, a classmate from WAC who had just graduated with me, climbing out of his car. I parked my boxy gray 1990 Volvo and walked in with him. We entered the building and joined the growing group of interns in the dark, brick lobby. Emily, a smiling woman who exuded friendliness, greeted and led us to EC1, a large room with a horseshoe of computers. She gave an orientation, made us laugh, and the day that would change my life began.
Soon the periphery of the room started filling with other staff members. You walked in a little late and took a seat across the room from me near the door. The introductions started and your turn came. You were from Chestertown and studied history – my interest was piqued. I learned you were going to work on the London Town project. When glancing at the paper in front of me, I saw I was the only one assigned to that project. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered.
I saw you once later that day when we toured the immense, labyrinth-like building. You smiled and pushed your chair back from your desk to listen to what Emily was sharing with us. I went home that night and told my family that my supervisor was a young man from Chestertown. They told me later that it was telling how fixated I was when talking about you.
The next day I parked in the Navy Stadium parking lot and joined the rest of the interns in EC1 for our first real day on the job. Around 9 am, the supervisors came pouring in, chattering and smiling. You were near the end of the pack carrying a large stack of books. You presented me with Kerns’ thesis and dissertation, telling me to read those as a starting place. I thought “Oh god. What did I get myself into?” We chatted about the goals of the project and you showed me how to use the network. Retrospectively, I know you were nervous because you stumbled over your words and your face turned pink.
Of course, I was also nervous since I practically told you my life story that second day. You took me to the stacks to teach me how to find different types of records. I noticed you were slightly taller than me and you smelled good. I don’t remember what you wore, but I remember the crinkles around your beautiful blue eyes when you smiled, the deep timbre of your voice, and your strong hands.
Although I did not know it at the time, those two days were the start of our story.
to be continued.