Katie Strumpf
"Helping kids with cancer.......a cancer survivor's story"  


So, can I have your phone # so I can let you know if I got into grad school?"

I could not believe I was hearing these words; it had certainly been a while. The last time I was asked for my phone # was when I changed banks. Not the same.

Yet here I was watching a 23-year old program my digits into his Iphone. 

Allow me to explain.

Last Thursday, I was in a very bad mood, and taking a long ride on the bitterbus. I was feeling angry about Adam's passing, angry that I didn't have a job, and just generally pissed off. My friend invited me out for St. Patty's Day, and I figured a night out at the beach bars would be fun. Plus, she is a fellow young widow, so she "gets it". I only had to walk three blocks to get there, and figured I could ride the bitterbus home if I was still pissy.

Except I wasn't pissy. I had fun. In general, I have stayed away from the bar scene because the crowds overwhelm me, and I feel out of place. Being the extrovert that I am, it is a strange feeling to be overwhelmed by a crowd, but since Adam's death, I am.

Yet I was at Poe's, flanked by a fellow young widow and her fabulous friend whose attire included green suspenders and glitter on his face. 

I was hit on by an extremely inebriated (yet harmless) man who asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I said “No, I am widowed.” I was hoping this would send him heading for the hills (or at least back to his bar stool), but instead he asked me if I was joking. Nope, don't joke about such things. He stumbled back to his beer after apologizing profusely. Problem solved! 

I encountered the 23-year old at Home Team BBQ, when he offered his high top table to my friend and I, with the stipulation that he could come back and check on the scores of the basketball game. I said of course, and then asked him what teams were in his final four. He then asked me the teams in my final four, and I told him the teams my statistician dad had selected for my bracket. 

And so it began.

We chatted throughout the night, and I discovered that I remembered how to flirt. It was refreshing, fun, and for a little bit, I was just a girl in green shorts, drinking a margarita, and being picked up by a 23-year old.

He told me he was clinging to college life as much as possible, and I responded that was precisely what he should be doing. He and his friends were welcoming, silly, drank too much (as they should, being the youngins that they are), and provided the light-hearted fun that I needed. They kindly invited me for late night buffalo wings, which I politely declined. It was past my 31-years old bedtime.

Instead of riding the bitterbus home, I walked home laughing to myself. I imagined Adam also laughing somewhere, and thinking, "Not bad, Ms. Strumpf."

I have since exchanged a few funny texts and received one mildly awkward phone call from the 23-year old, and I likely will never talk to him again. 

But that's O.K. It may have just been another set of digits for him on another night out, but helped me move forward, and take a big step. A step I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to take. 

He helped me to recapture a bit of me.

Even if he is the same age as my little brother, went to Clemson, hates 80's music, and had never heard of the movie What About Bob.?


Posted by Katie Strumpf at 10:34 AM on March 24, 2011 | Comments (0)


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