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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Trustey

A Meet Cute

I just learned the term ‘meet cute’:

In film and television, a meet cute is a scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time, typically under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances. This type of scene is a staple of romantic comedies, though it can also occur in sitcoms and even soap operas.

Today is Jake and my 7 year anniversary, and while I feel like the whole world knows our meet cute, I decided to write it down because it’s forever my favorite story. This story could be told from memory, but I’ve been a life-long journaler, and there are some pretty great lines from my journal in 2013 and 2014 that may make an appearance.

Let’s start at the beginning. In August 2013, two young blondies who look like they could be siblings enroll at Notre Dame. Let’s call them Jake and Caroline. Jake and Caroline are ambitious and both enroll in the College of Engineering (only one would remain in said college, but the torture that was engineering was worth it for this story). Jake and Caroline do not overlap with each other in the first few months of school, because if they did, we all know Caroline would’ve been smitten right from the start.

Now, Caroline’s dad went to Notre Dame, and despite graduating thirty years earlier, he was having a hard time letting go of his glory days. As a result, he took it upon himself to visit Caroline for EVERY. SINGLE. HOME. FOOTBALL. GAME. Caroline would pretend she was too cool to spend her Friday nights with Dad, but really, an excuse to miss a party and hang out with Joe Trustey was the greatest gift.

So anyway…it’s a cold, wet, South Bend, November night. Caroline and her (future bridesmaid) Michaella tag along with Joe to dinner at a steakhouse on a Friday night (this was pre-vegetarian days). The downside to this dinner was that Joe had a few friends and business partners in town, so the conversation was boring. Caroline and Mic were itching to get back to campus. Upon entering the restaurant, Caroline (and apparently Joe) took stock of a group sitting together at a table - two collge-aged boys and one set of parents. Caroline thought to herself, “that blonde one is kind of cute” but went about eating her dinner. Caroline must not have been as sly as she thought gazing longingly across the restaurant at the new love of her life, as her dad began to notice and make threats of calling said boys over. Right as the boys were standing to leave, Caroline made a sassy comment to Joe (unsurprising), which immediately came back to bite her.

Joe stood up and called the boys across the restaurant over to our table. He proceeded to ask them if they went to Notre Dame, if they were freshman, etc. He then exclaimed, ““PERFECT! This is my daughter Caroline, she doesn’t know how to talk to boys so she needs all the help she can get. That’s why I’m her wingman.”

Now here the story gets a little debated. The boys were, of course, Jake and his roommate, Luc (as well as Luc’s parents). Luc claims I was more than eager to give them my number once my dad played wingman; my memory (and journal) serves to tell me that my “frizzy hair, red face couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.” Regardless, numbers were exchanged.

As the boys turned to leave, Joe looked at Jake and said, “I can’t wait to make the toast at your wedding to my daughter 6 years from now.”

Every part of me was dying. I was mortified and more than anything, I hoped I would never encounter these two again. At a school of 8000 undergrads, maybe we’d never cross paths? Obviously I don’t have that kind of luck (see: this blog). Within days, I see Jake and Luc in North Dining Hall, standing on the table, singing “Sweet Caroline.” I guess they were around to stay.

Fall semester continued on and I’d see Jake from time to time. Things really took a turn in January, when spring semester began. I strolled into 8:20 AM biochem class. I sat in the back right corner, salty about this early morning class and about knowing no one in the class. Then, someone sat RiGHT. NEXT. TO. ME. IN A LECTURE HALL! The nerve. I know this was pre-covid, but there were still social rules, like leave an open seat! I look over and it’s Jake, with his big smile. “Is this seat taken?” (Sorry, mom, this is why my biochem grade wasn’t very good).

At a certain point, Jake and I began going to the library together. In a journal from February 20, 2014, I wrote:

“Jake is awesome. he is super duper goofy but thats what i like about him…he never fails to make me laugh and he’s really sweet too. obviously this is just infatuation, but the other night we went to the library together and then he helped me with calc even though he had his own exam to study for. and afterwards, he texted me asking if we could do it again… <3 lovestruck (i might be being a tad bit dramatic…).”

And on March 3rd:

“Jake and i have been hanging out a lot lately, and talking even more. he coded yesterday “Caroline is stunningly beautiful especially when she helps me with matlab #wifethatup.” and it was cute. he sends me cute pictures and tells me he wishes he had gotten to go to dances with me. but it probably doesn’t mean anything. and sure, that might be a let down.”

At a certain point, our library nights became status quo. I hadn’t realized it until the night Jake couldn’t make it and he texted me apologizing for ditching me. Hmmmmm. So here I was, playing it cool, but also making sure I looked cute every morning at 8:20 and every night until we left the library at midnight. Little did Jake know this whole looking cute thing would stop the second we started dating.

April rolled around and one Friday after biochem I made a comment to Jake along the lines of “if you’re not doing anything tonight and want to hang, let me know!” Bold of me, no? Jake has all sisters and went to all-boys schools his entire life before Notre Dame, so I decided he needed some help. Also, I’m impatient as heck. Within 20 minutes, he texted me. “Were you serious about hanging or have you hit your Jake limit for the week?” So

that night, we hung out, and I ditched my mom who came to visit (sorry mom, did it for love!). Jake asked what I wanted to do and I (JOKINGLY!) suggested we climb the Jacc, ND’s athletic center. Well, around midnight, Jake and I were atop the Jacc. First date, complete.

Ten days later, on April 16, 2014, Jake and I were sitting on hole 7 of the golf course at ND (another hang out spot of ours), looking at the stars. We were playing the question game and it was Jake’s turn to ask a question. “Are we becoming a thing?” he asked. What a romantic way to ask someone to be your girlfriend!!! I panicked and didn’t know how to answer. What if he was asking because he didn’t want to be a thing?! But what if he did want to?! HELP. I fumbled around with my words and then Jake shared that he loved spending time with me, Easter was approaching, and he would be seeing his family. He wanted to know if he could tell them about us. I smiled and probably said something? I hope? At the end, I remember Jake asking if we came to a consensus and decided we were dating - and I finally said yes. Then, we high-fived.

The rest, history.

The obligatory one-year anniversary photo

It’s been 7 years of loving Jake and 5 years of missing him, and I am grateful that the loving will always outlast the missing.

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