I don’t know why we worked. Adam and I were, in many ways, quite opposite.
I was an L.A. Valley girl. He was a small-town Nebraska boy who once worked de-tassling corn. I used to call him my “juvenile delinquent.”
I grew up loving sports. I WAS sports. I wanted to work in sports. I WAS working in sports when we met. Adam once held the high school pole vault record in Central City and did gymnastics as a youngster, but he was an artist at heart. He was a singer, a musician, a sketcher, a potter, a designer. I always said “of course he likes sports, he just likes hippie sports: boarding, hiking, frisbee, hacky sack.” I think I got him to like sports … we became Olympic junkies, he was starting to appreciate the beauty of baseball (but NEVER basketball), and he was becoming a soccer groupie sort of.
I was goal-driven, ambitious, knew what I wanted; I ticked off my accomplishments one by one. Adam was a free spirit. He buckled under bureaucracy and flow charts, where I thrived. He liked to be his own boss. I preferred working in the office environment. He searched for meaning, what he wanted to do; I had it all planned out.
He loved lizards and snakes and all reptiles. I was ambivalent, but thankfully not terrified.
I remember he invited me to a party at his place before our official first date. This is where I meet this incredible group of friends (many who visited in the hospital and have guided me through this grief) … they were all totally unlike me, it seemed. They had long hair, smoked pot … they were just SO COOL. I showed up from an Air Force volleyball game with a ponytail and bangs, wearing a windbreaker with a plate of brownies (just the normal kind!). I felt so out of place.
Adam had on his red jeans (did I ever love those!); he was the long-haired artist I was fascinated with… earrings in both ears, a tattoo (!) and an eyebrow ring. This was not me.
Later, it was just the two of us, and we talked for hours. I said goodnight at the door to his apartment, and he awkwardly said “I would kiss you, but I’ve had a cold, so uh…” and he shook my hand. He would kill me for publicizing that story. But he stole my heart forever with that.
I used to be irritated with people who would insinuate that I “wore the pants” in the relationship. I felt that to be a misunderstanding of our relationship and what worked for the two of us. I was just the “out there, demanding, difficult” person (Cal Poly softball friends would call this “moody, snippy and opinionated”). Adam went with the flow. I was not in charge of the relationship nor of him. I wish I had been because maybe I wouldn’t be here writing this.
Adam loved music. He was way more hip than I could ever hope to be. He loved the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl (he was thrilled I went to see the Foo with him last year!). About two years ago I surprised him with tickets to Fitz and the Tantrums in Breckenridge. I didn’t know anything about them; I just knew he would want to go. I listen to 80s music, the Monkees, Garth Brooks and Broadway musicals – he could name all the modern, cool bands.
He’s the one who got me to try sushi and ethnic food of all kind, though a bean and cheese burrito is still my No. 1; he introduced me to beer beyond Bud, he convinced me to watch Starship Troopers, which is the ultimate cult bad movie. He got me on skis and a snowboard, though I never got the hang of it. He got me to love car camping and hiking, even though more than three days without a shower was too much for me.
He introduced me to so much … and I miss him more than I can say.