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How the Story Begins : She Says

**I wrote this nearly five years ago, and I kind of love how young I sound. So many things have changed, and I had forgotten many of these little details. Now that we’re coming up on 10 years, it’s so fun remembering the very early days. I was a teenager when I put my eyes on him for the first time, and now I’m nearly 30. Be still my heart …**

In September of 2005, I had very few concerns. Most of these concerns consisted on hanging out with my friends, listening to music, skateboarding, and parties. Most Mondays thru Fridays, you’d find me elbow deep in a Heidelberg press, while working on my graphic arts major. When I wasn’t working on a press, I was spending my days in the amber glow of a dark room … processing film & developing photos. My best friends were a couple of guys and a group of girls that always brought the fun. We stayed up late every single night talking, laughing, exploring campus, and whatever else 19 year-olds do. My world was simple, yet complicated at the same time. Looking back on those days, I realize I had absolutely no responsibility, but maybe that’s why I appreciate what I have at this point in my life.

One afternoon, my two best guy friends and I headed down to Bloomington, IN for an Against Me! concert. We arrived, smoked some cigarettes, and waited for the band. I had just had my hair cut the day before, and I was rocking a sweet set of bangs. I thought I was hot stuff. The venue was tiny … like a conference room. We were up close and personal with one of our favorite bands ever. It was amazing. I can vividly remember watching the stage lights bouncing off of the low ceiling and the walls that surrounded us. I remember some asshole that kept ‘moshing’ in the crowd (something I’ll never understand). I also remember looking back towards the doors and seeing a guy. The room stood still. This guy had long hair, a white t-shirt and jeans. He was good looking enough to carve this 10 second glance into my long-term memory. If I close my eyes, I can still remember everything about that guy at that moment. I can still remember how that room felt huge, and we were the only ones standing there … lights bouncing off the low ceiling and the walls that surrounded us. He didn’t see me. The concert ended and my friends and I drove back to Muncie.

Now, I’ll tell you the story of how I met my husband.

A few weeks later, I was on the Myspace page of a friend of a friend. I saw a photo that jumped out at me: a guy with a yellow guitar. A guitar? Yep, totally my type. I messaged him … It was short & sweet. I told him I thought he was cute, and I wanted to know more about him. The next day, I got a response. We started exchanging messages and talking on instant messenger a lot over the next few weeks. We learned that we had a few friends in common, though, we had never met. We also learned we lived right across the street from each other on campus. Even though I was brave enough to send this guy a message … I wasn’t brave enough to suggest we meet in person. Either was he.

One day, I received a message from the guy’s roommate. He was insisting that while he wanted to meet me, he was just too afraid to invite me over. The roommate decided enough was enough, and invited me over. As I sat on the stoop of my house on Linden Street, I saw the roommate approaching. I was smoking a cigarette and the sun was almost behind the horizon. We exchanged a friendly ‘hello’ and then walked across the street to their apartment. The roommate cracked the door open in order to get the guy’s attention and then just started to laugh. I heard a voice from inside say something like, “Oh man … You’re kidding, right?” It sounded like he was totally mortified that we were actually meeting in person. Winner. While every interaction up until that point still remains a vivid memory, I cannot remember what happened over the next few hours. I can’t remember if we hugged or shook hands when we met. I can’t remember what we talked about. I can’t remember what I/he was wearing. I think it was the Universe’s way of putting me 100% into a moment that I wouldn’t need to remember later … It had better things in store anyway, and I was meant to enjoy this time. The next thing I remember is the guy showing me some photos from his computer. All of a sudden, I saw those familiar lights bouncing off of the low ceiling … then it hit me. THIS WAS THE GUY FROM THE CONCERT! At first, he didn’t believe me. How could he have not seen me, yet, I was so enamored by him. At that moment, none of that mattered. All I could think of was that fate, or some higher power wanted us to be together. Even though I had no idea it was the guy from the concert when I messaged him or during our conversations over the past several weeks, it felt like was meant to be.

We hung out for awhile longer. More than likely, watching Family Guy. Since I lived so close, he offered to walk me back home. We sat on my front step for awhile. Smoking cigarettes and talking about ourselves. We found out we both loved tattoos. He hesitated to show me his because of the weird patch of hair on his lower back. He freaked out a little about it, which I thought was totally cute. Before he left, we gave each other a hug and that was that.

Over the next several weeks, we’d hang out from time to time. I’d meet his friends, and we’d keep a friendly way about us. Even though I knew I wanted to be with him, he wasn’t sure where he was with his life. We had both ended pretty long relationships earlier that year, and jumping into a full-on relationship scared him. We hung out during the week, but weekends consisted of me with my friends and him with his friends. I was never invited to party with him, which annoyed me. Back when I was 19, it was all about me … at least that’s what I thought. Eventually, it turned out he was sort of seeing someone else. Not really dating, just hanging out. It hurt. Even though he was honest with me from the start about not wanting a relationship and just wanting to be friends, there was a part of me that only heard “I’m so in love with you, let’s get married!”.

It was at this time I met someone else. This guy was sweet … treated me like a princess … even called me princess. That was the problem. We had only gone out on 1 date, and he was calling me baby. Yuck. He wanted to be my boyfriend … I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. I dragged my feet as long as possible and even tried going back to my long-haired, yellow guitar dream man to convince him to be my boyfriend so I had an excuse to break the other guys heart. Now, while he didn’t accept my proposal, I think it was the turning point in our friendship. He took me to Steak n Shake (fancy stuff), and then hung out with me while we listened to music. I explained that this new guy really liked me, but I needed an excuse to say no. He said he couldn’t help me. He wasn’t in that place. His life was complicated. My heart broke. I cried. He turned my music up, turned on my favorite song, stood me up … and gave me the best hug I’ve ever had. He let me cry. Looking back, I was entirely too dramatic, but, I was 20 years old … and female. ‘Nuff said.

A few weeks later, he asked me out on a real date. I WIN! I knew my charm and wit would win him over eventually. Really, after the night I cried on his shoulder, I realized that he wasn’t meant to be my boyfriend. He was meant to be my friend. I became 100% myself around him and just enjoyed his presence. I let the other guy down easily, but it had nothing to do with my ‘dream man’ … It just had to do with my accepting I didn’t need a boyfriend to make me happy. The proposal for the date came as a complete surprise. A really great surprise. We did eventually go on that date. He took me out to dinner and a movie. We went to attend a live band, but it was sold out. As we walked away, he grabbed my hand as if to say, “I’ll take care of you”. Heart melted. When we got back to my house, we sat on the couch and watched another movie. After it was over, he leaned over and we kissed. It was our very first kiss. It was amazing. Perfect, if you will. After months of being friends, we were now more than that. After that, we parted ways. A few days later, he asked me to be his girlfriend. The rest, as some might say, is history. As we approach the 6 year mark our of friendship/relationship, things are nothing like what I thought they’d be. The 20-year-old me had no way of knowing that we’d actually get married one day, or that we’d be moving across the country.

This is the first time I’ve really sat down to reflect the details of meeting my husband for the first time. My heart is heavy with nostalgia at this point. There are days I wish we could transport back to those days when we were younger, and so carefree … but I am so thankful for today. I am so thankful to be spending my life with the one person I know I was meant to be with. This is love.

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