10: A Name among Thousands

10: A Name among Thousands

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles

A Name among Thousands

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

~Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

I was a junior in college at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. I had been dating a senior, and in May I found myself attending his graduation from ASU’s School of Business. We were sitting high in the stadium, watching a very long ceremony and I was bored. The procession of students seemed endless, and the air horns were giving me a headache. It would be at least another hour until his name was called.

To pass the time, I began thumbing through the directory of graduates looking for my boyfriend’s name. A name other than the one I was looking for caught my eye. Brian Geiger. My favorite uncle is a Geiger, and in all my years in Arizona, I had never met anyone with that last name. It jumped off the page at me. Laughing, I pointed it out quickly to my mom, and then kept searching through the thousands of names. Little did I know I had just picked out my future husband’s name — nor did I know that fate would introduce us a few short weeks later.

The next month passed without much incident. I was working as a research assistant in a university science lab, and because I was employed by ASU, I had a summer pass to the campus gym. My relationship with my boyfriend had deteriorated since graduation, so I spent a lot of time at the gym playing volleyball. A group of us played every Tuesday and Thursday. That day, I had signed up for research lab time but didn’t feel like being alone in a sterile science lab. I decided to stop by the gym and see if the regular crew was there to play.

The minute I walked in, I noticed a new guy playing on the far court. Wow. He was amazing! He hadn’t seen me, but all I saw was him. I felt my face flush, and I knew I had to meet him. Luckily, I did. By the end of the afternoon, there were only enough people left for two teams of three. I was supposed to go to work at the lab, but that would have left uneven teams. I knew I should leave, but I still hadn’t officially accomplished my goal of meeting this new man. When the game was over, the new guy, Brian, and his friend, Matt, asked me to go with them for drinks. Volleyball and drinks gradually became a weekly routine: just Brian, Matt, and me. However, it wasn’t until a few days later that I actually realized who this Brian guy was.

In order to check out a volleyball, students use their ID cards. When the ball is returned, the ID is given back. One afternoon, I had checked out the ball, but I had to leave before everyone was ready to quit. So my new cute friend, known simply to me as Brian, gave me his ID to exchange for mine. On the walk down the hall, I looked at his name. I got chills. It was Brian Geiger.

If he had graduated, why was he at the campus gym? I later found out that he had intended to move back to his home state of Illinois immediately after graduation, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave Arizona. And he had persuaded the gym to let him have a free summer membership. I was stunned. ASU didn’t give out free memberships. He never should have been there. We never should have met. I hadn’t ever put a lot of stock in destiny, but I was becoming a believer.

By August we were dating. He took me to meet his parents and we laughed that we were all in that same stadium, watching that same graduation ceremony. I knew after four months that he was the man I would marry. Looking back at the graduation ceremony, I am now fully convinced that I didn’t notice his name by chance. It was just too unlikely. Thousands of names, and I saw his, which was later to become mine.

~Lisa Geiger

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