It wasn’t love at first sight.
Nor was it love at first insult.
Our love story is a culmination of my sheer will to make someone like me.
I was twenty and decided to take a stance against my parents, I was staying in my college town over the summer, finding a job, and providing for myself. To my surprise, I landed a position at Friendly’s; an east coast treasure where they serve a classic American fare with some of the world’s best ice cream.
They passed me up as a waitress—apparently you need experience—and granted me a position at the fountain. I was going to be scooping ice cream all summer long. YES!
That afternoon, I donned their men’s-cut red polo, pulled my hair up into a tight bun, fit it through the back of my black Friendly’s hat, and saddled up in my black, non-slip shoes.
I looked . . . hot.
At least that’s what I told myself as I walked down the rickety steps of my college rental in my firmly pressed black Dickies. Despite the unflattering attire, I was ready. This was my first real job and I was going to kill it.
I wanted to work.
I was ready to work.
I was bound and determined to be employee of the month.
The manager, Gus, greeted me with a smile, making me feel immediately at home. He was the man who hired me granting him instant admiration for making such a wise choice in a formidable employee.
The smell of waffle cones mixed with fried food filled my senses as I took in the burgundy and forest green décor. This was going to be my home for the next few months and I was going to make the most of it.
With a smile in my voice, a pep in my step, and a cheery disposition, I followed Gus into the fountain area where I was about to meet my trainer.
I straightened my shoulders, plastered on a huge smile, and rubbed my sweaty palms against my pants. This was it . . .
“Meghan, I would like you to meet Stephanie, your trainer,” Gus said, confidence in his choice of wisdom to bestow upon me.
Slowly, a girl with a short brown ponytail wearing the same wonderful outfit as me turned around . . . with barely enough enthusiasm to make the whole turn.
Her eyes scanned me up and down as I stood there, bouncing in my own skin at the thought of being handed an ice cream scoop so I could “break the ground” on my new job.
Expecting a friendly smile and a cheery hello—a reflection of my own glee—I’m instead greeted with a sour, exasperated nod and a brief, “Hey.”
Hmm . . . maybe she wasn’t having the best of days. Nothing a little Meghan charm couldn’t fix—Insert kick ball change followed up by a friendly shimmy.
After Gus left us to ourselves, I stood there, ready for her direction, but when she turned back around and started tending to the counters again, I realized this day was going to be much harder than I thought.
And it was . . .
She didn’t speak much, just a lot of pointing. Once mumbling, “Here are the apples.”
She didn’t care to learn about where I went to school, or that I had a full-ride scholarship for softball, or that I was really excited about this being my first job.
She didn’t laugh when I joked about eating all the peanut butter in the restaurant, nor did she think it was funny when I joked about the geriatric shoes we were forced to wear.
Instead, I found out she’d been working at Friendly’s for four years, she was a waitress which meant she was taking a cut in pay to train me—against her own will—and that she was not in the market for any new friends.
You could imagine how that settled with me.
I mean . . . not even one more friend?
I was a fun gal, I liked baseball, and knew how to boil water for noodles; who doesn’t want to hang out with a girl like that?
Stephanie, that’s who.
And she made that quite clear when her friend came to visit her that day to end the monotonous misery she was living in. As I washed the counter for the fifth time in an hour, I curiously listened in on their conversation, wondering who won the friendship of this Stephanie girl.
When her friend asked Stephanie what she was doing, I remember her answer clear as day. With a nod of her head, and in a bored voice, Stephanie replied, “Training this annoying girl.”
Gasp, I know.
You would think the rain she was pouring all over my parade would stop me, but it didn’t. Instead, I swore that day I would make her my friend . . . I would force her to like me.
I guess I took it a little too far.
Twelve years later, we’re married, have two adopted children, two dogs, two cats, and live in Colorado where we are a team, bringing books full of heart, humor, and heat to all my readers. I couldn’t have done it without her . . . or her loving insults. <3