As I walked into my friend’s graduation party eight years ago, I saw him right away. It had been a while since I had seen him, but glancing in that direction I quickly knew it was him. The dark brown, curly hair. Those eyes. His shoulders. And his smile… oh, his smile.
He was sitting talking to my parents; likely catching up on college, track meets and lumberjack competitions. I’m not positive, but I am pretty sure there was a glow around him… like a moonbeam directing my eyes right toward him. But my heart sank when I saw a girl was sitting next to him. His girlfriend I supposed. (Please ignore the fact that I had my own boyfriend at the time. And anyway, turns out she wasn’t his girlfriend.)
I went about my business at the graduation party–talking with friends and enjoying the food, but never without keeping him in the corner of my eye. Would he look at me? Would he talk to me? I would be attending the same college as him in the fall. Would he care?
As the party came to a close, we found each other as we each neared the exit. I remember trying to keep my cool as I said hello. My heart was racing. “My graduation party is on Sunday. You should come,” I blurted out. To my surprise, he said, “Sure. That’d be fun.” I wasn’t sure if he would really come. He lived 45 minutes away and probably had much better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than hang out at his friend’s sister’s graduation party. But he came. And not just for a little while. He was one of the first to arrive… and the last to leave.
I spent the party mingling with guests as any good graduate would do. I savored the moments when he would come talk to me–which happened to be quite frequently. Part way through the party, my mom came up to me and said, “Grandma and I think he’s into you.” I laughed and tried not to think about it. It wasn’t possible. I had my eye on him for the past two years. Whenever he was at my house, I would try to get him to look my way. I had practically written him off as the guy who would never be anything more than a crush.
He stayed after the party to hang out with my brother. I had gone up to my room and was lying on my bed talking on the phone to my boyfriend when I heard someone run up the stairs. I thought it was my brother so when there was a knock on my door I let out an irritated, “Yeah?!”
When I saw it was him walking into my room I quickly jumped out of my bed and shoved my phone under my pillow. He told me he was heading home now, but that he wanted to thank me for inviting him to the party. Playing it as cool as I possibly could, although I’m sure my face was bright red, I said we should try to arrange for a get together before the summer… “You know, for all the people heading to UMD this fall.”And since I tend to hug in situations where I’m uncomfortable, I gave him a hug. Best. Hug. Ever. (Just sayin’)
I remember calling my friend Carla later that night from my parent’s basement–keeping quiet so my parents would’t know I was still up. I told her about him. How enamored I was with him. How I thought there was a chance he could like me too. Should I break up with my boyfriend–a guy I knew was not “the one”? The next day I went on a date with my boyfriend and broke it off. I would be leaving for college in the fall and I said “it just won’t work.” The real reason though? My heart and my mind was set on him.
It didn’t take long for me to track him down. I bugged some of my brother’s friends in order to get his screenname. This was in the hey-day of AOL Instant Messenger. I contacted him under the guise of planning the summer party for UMD students. We started chatting in the evening and didn’t sign off until 6am. That’s when I knew my feelings weren’t unreturned.
I scheduled and eagerly anticipated the party for the UMD students. When the day finally arrived, it was clear that the two of us could have cared less who else was there. Everyone slept over at my parent’s house and the morning after the rest of the people left he kissed me. It sealed the deal.
He spent most of the rest of the summer in Japan for an internship. We stayed connected through emails, instant messaging and well-timed phone calls. We continued dating through college. Inseparable. Smitten. Best friends.
Four years ago today, we got married. I remember the day felt as though a dream had come true.
And it’s only getting better. I love him.