So, this is our story — the one where boy meets girl, girl falls madly in love and they annoy the heck out of their family and friends with their mushy gushy smoochiness.
People tell you to stop watching for it and “it” will come. Whatever “it” may be — boiling water, your dream job, your missing piece. I always thought that was nonsense. That we truly had the power in our hands to control the path our lives take. Though, I should have known better — my past is full of serendipity.
Well, there I was — 30 years old, the healthiest and happiest I’d ever been. I was finally at a place where I felt like nothing was truly missing — that I was a full, complete, confident and strong person. I was pretty content with my life as it was, finally recognizing the gift I was given to get to wake up every morning with the chance to do it all again. I had … enough. I was … enough.
But I’d been talking with friends about how it would be fun to have someone to share it with. Not a requirement. Being single wouldn’t — and didn’t — stop me from traveling, trying new experiences, going on adventures. But, golly, a traveling-experiencing-adventuring partner would be a nice addition to my amazing life. Heck, it wouldn’t even need to be the man of my dreams — just a fun-loving, adventurous friend.
So, what does someone do who is training for a marathon, working a sometimes-more-than-full-time job, volunteering and trying to spend time with her family? Cuz, you know, life is busy. She takes to the Interwebs. After all, she was already so comfortable there — sharing her life with people she doesn’t even know (regardless of if she’s doing anything interesting or not). Besides, her coworker was trying to convince her to go through the online dating experience with her anyway — I mean, adventures are more fun when someone else suffers goes through them with you.
My profile was great — well, at least in my humble opinion. OK. It was pretty boring. I’m pretty sure I talked about being a farmer’s daughter and about how much I love books and rules and my family. I also am certain I talked about running and losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. OK, maybe it wasn’t “great” — but it was me. I decided that if I was going to give this online dating thing a shot that I was going to be completely, wholly, undoubtedly me. No screens. No half-truths. No surprises. What you see is what you get.
I started talking with a few different people — and “met” some really neat guys. Guys I could see being really good friends with. But there was no magic. No bells or whistles or stars in my eyes. And then, after about a week on the site, I noticed this one guy. His picture was so stinkin’ cute. And that hat he was wearing? Really blasted sexy. But he seemed so … I don’t know … out of reach. And yet, I reached.
It was a simple message. Something along the lines of, “Hey. I just wanted to stop by and say hi and wish you a really lovely day.” Total cheese. Totally lame. But he didn’t answer right away — clearly it was lame. Ah well. It was worth a shot.
But then? He answered.
And we talked.
And we played 20 Questions.
And we talked.
And we asked more questions
And we talked.
And we really, really got to know each other. Asked all sorts of questions and had some awesome conversations. Heck, we even exchanged recipes. Yeah, recipes. A fellow eater. This could be something special. I kid. Kind of.
Then, we started talking about ArtPrize. And had we been before? Were we going this year? “Would you like some company?” he asked.
So we planned our first date. Sure, Sept. 24 works for me. I don’t have any plans. You know, other than a morning run of 20 miles. No biggie.
To this day, I don’t know if I was more nervous that morning about the run or the date. Probably a combination of both of them.
I spent much of the run talking about this date. This date that had me nervous — I mean, I felt like I knew this guy. But, really, how could I? I’m certain that everything I was saying was getting on my running partners’ nerves. But, 20 miles was a long way, and talking passed the time. Plus, talking about this boy made me happy — and kept the nerves at bay. I hung out with some friends at the end of the run, stretching and (of course) taking pictures.
Well, I misjudged the time I had left and ended up having to rush, rush, rush home. I cleaned my very stinky, sweaty, tired self off and then went through the process of picking out an outfit. Nothing was right. So I ran to the store to find a new shirt — green, of course, cuz it brings out my eyes. OK, I may have bought new jeans, too. But I’ll never tell.
And, even though I was running late, I needed to sit, breathe and focus once I parked my car. So I had to text this boy and tell him I was late — great first impression, I know. Good thing he’d found a nice spot to sit and people watch while he waited for his very nervous date to arrive.
Then, there he was. As I crossed the street, I saw him sitting at the table outside of the coffee shop. And there was a hug. And my nerves melted away.
We spent the day — the entire day and into the night— walking, looking at the art, talking, drinking coffee (tea), sitting, listening to music, saying nothing and saying everything. Doing so much. Yet doing so little. No awkward silences — just comfortable ones. We didn’t have to talk to fill the quiet spaces. And that, in my opinion, is pretty darn special. It was, really, perfect. And I felt like I had known this man my entire life.
And I didn’t want the date to end. But, it had to. I drove home in complete silence that night — no music, no singing, no phone calls. I couldn’t believe the day I’d had. It was so much more than I could have hoped. And I just needed some quiet space to enjoy the peace and love and hope I felt that night.
Could it be that easy? Did that really just happen?
I drove home, knowing I had met a man who would be a part of my life for a long, long time. And it gave me butterflies. And a permagrin.
And then — I left for Chicago for three days. We texted, we emailed, we talked on the phone. And then — I went home for a day before leaving for more than a week in England. And we emailed and chatted. And I met his sister — in London. And, you know what? I was in a tiny (like, really tiny) hotel room in England when I realized I loved this man — when I realized that I wanted him in my life forever (not just for a long, long time), that he was the one I wanted to talk to first thing in the morning and say good-night to every night.
I asked my mom if this was possible. If love could happen this fast. Her response? “It only takes one second.” Indeed.
It was more than two weeks after our first date until we saw each other in person again. And that hug? That one where I stepped out of my car at his house and greeted him for the first time in two weeks, when I knew I loved him but couldn’t yet find the words? It was the most amazing hug I’ve ever received. And it’s one I’ll never, ever forget.