birds of a feather

We were both young when I first saw you...

B and I have a very long story. It hasn't always been happy, and it hasn't been a fairy tale, but it has been the single best ride of my life.

It all started when I was a young, fun, and kind of wild 18 year old sophomore in college. With freshman year, and most of my teenaged awkwardness, behind me, I was pretty certain I could conquer the world by singing, dancing, and being as loud as I wanted. I was constantly crushing on boys that were, for many reasons, just wrong for me - almost always too moody, too broody, or too dating someone else. Lovely, right?

I met B while I, and while he, was interested in someone else, and I'll be honest, he didn't even blip my radar. He was cute (and straight!) which was kind of an anomaly in our major, but so not my type. Even I had to admit though, he had beautiful eyes.

B thought that I was crazy and/or stuck up and/or ridiculous and/or snobby, and I wasn't his type either. I was just a girl in his major.

Spring break of that year, B took a ride home (he and I are from the same area in Pennsylvania, eventhough we met in Virginia... weird.) with a mutual friend of ours (Let's call him R, because that's the first letter of his name, and that's what we do around here), and we ended up caravanning (I'm not sure why, as we all knew the way home). B then bore witness to one of the most embarrassing and strangest things that's ever happened to me. On the PA turnpike, you take a ticket to prove where you got on, so that you pay the appropriate toll when you exit. I was driving alone. My ticket was tucked in my visor. It was dark. I was wearing a short skirt and a polo. A spider crawled across my legs. All hell broke loose at 70 miles an hour.

I was screaming, trying to fling the spider out the window that wouldn't roll down as fast as I wanted. In a sheer panic, I grabbed the first scrap of paper that I could find that pushed the spider off of my thigh and tossed them both out the window. I was so proud. I didn't wreck my car or anything. I was queen of the universe.

We came to the end of the turnpike, and I reached for my ticket.

Remember that scrap of paper?

So I end up having to pull over after the toll gate, pay a trillion dollars in tolls (by check, because what normal 19 year old travels with real live money?) B and R blocked the view of the billion cars that were driving by while I changed into jeans that lived in my trunk (because what normal 19 year old doesn't keep pants in her trunk?), and I apologized a million times for making us later than we already were.

Yes, before we had even thought about dating, B had seen me in my underwear on the side of a highway. (He swears he didn't look. He also insists that I say that he was a gentleman.)

And then... summer came.

We were doing summer stock together, and I loved seeing him build sets and do manly things like that in the scene shop. It was pretty attractive, I must admit. We were both in our element, so maybe he first noticed me for real then? I'll have to ask him. I know that I started noticing him early on that summer, and we were all such a tight knit group and having so much fun together, that it was really natural for me to start to get interested. That's what I did, afterall, crushed on friends and boys that were really wrong for me. We ended up kissing right at the end of summer, but nothing really came of it - because he wasn't interested! Can you believe it? Someone not interested in me?! [/sarcasm] I wasn't shocked and went about my business pretending he didn't exist after summer stock was over. I was sure that, by the time I got back to school, the crush would have dissipated and I would go back to normal.

But then, we were forced together again as assistant stage managers for a really technically difficult show. We were constantly working, constantly staying up until the early hours of the morning dealing with notes and running difficult scenes with the cast. We bonded over mutual loathing of the stage manager (who went on to be B's roommate and a really really sweet friend, but at the time...) and we laughed... a lot. But I still hated him a little for the way he behaved over the summer. I had little fantasies of setting his hair on fire sometimes, but we were talking more than we ever had, and you know what they say about hate and love... 

We were hanging out all the time. All of our friends thought that we were dating, even when we weren't. I was all for it, except for the nagging voice in my head that told me he would run immediately after deciding that he liked me.

But he did. He totally liked me. He totally wanted to be my boyfriend. And from then on, until he became my fiance and then my husband, he was. Even when we weren't together.

I graduated college in the spring of 2004. We broke up that summer. It was the hardest, darkest, and loneliest time for me. I went a little crazy again - hanging out with strange people, drinking a lot more than I should, and flirting with strangers like my life depended on it. But I was empty. I missed my guy.

He still invited me to his senior show (a requirement for graduation from our school), and of course, like a moth to the flame, I went. But my friends didn't let me down. K and C made sure that I was good and drunk for the event, and held me up through the entire thing. At the after party, my guy found me outside, drunk and crying, and held me for what felt like hours. It felt like he was trying to make up for all the months that he had been without me, and I clung to him, having missed everything that made me whole, and because I probably couldn't stand on my own at that point.

It wasn't all sunshine and daisies. It wasn't instant forgiveness for the things I'd done. But, it was a start to growing our relationship into something less adolescent and more adult. We'd been through bad things together, but we could still see the others redeeming qualities.

We spent the next three years together in a long distance relationship. Want to talk about high stress? Try having the boyfriend that you fought so hard to get back surrounded by (and in very close quarters with) beautiful actresses every day for years. Yep, I had some really really insecure moments, but we came out so much stronger on the other side.

We met back up in our hometown after all those years apart, and things just got better and better. We got to know one another again. We roadtripped. We did shows together. We hung out in a way that we had never really gotten to be before, and it was amazing. It was home. I fell in love with him all over again in those next two years.

I was pretty sure that an engagement was coming - we had been together for more than 7 years by this point, but I didn't know what form it would take. I suggested going out to The Melting Pot one night, which is a favorite of ours - not because of the amazing food (look, nice restaurants are limited where we come from!), but because we could sit there for hours, in a very quiet, very private little booth, and stare at each other, laugh, and talk about everything on our minds. It's a special place for us, but, since it was my idea to go there, I wasn't expecting a proposal. I was expecting dinner and maybe a walk by the river. But nope. Nope... I got engaged instead.

To be Continued... There's so much more to tell! An engagement, a move to the Big Apple, the wedding of my dreams, and getting to the now...

1 comment:

Carey said...

I like this story.

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