Five years ago today I had no idea I had causally met my future husband.
I was in the student lounge of the dorm, supporting a classmate who was throwing an Anti-Valentine's Day party for her R.A activity. A few friends and I went; we made anti-valentine's day cards, ate anti-valentine's day cookies and watched "The Rock”.
I needed to get out of my room and meet people. Being in my dorm room was not doing me any good. I'd been lonely and melancholy since my externship ended. A relationship with a guy I was seeing long distance ended in Disaster and I was struggling in school after a truly miserable extern experience.
My friends and I plopped down on a couch. I felt like I always did: shy, awkward and out of place.
There he was. Lazily watching the movie. He seemed to just happen to be there. We said hi. We barely spoke more than three sentences to each other.
The next day, I let the events from last night percolate in my head. I had a really nice time in the lounge with my friends. I'd met a guy and watched a weird movie with Nicolas Cage. Maybe I'd go back down there tonight. Maybe that guy would be there...Maybe I'd bring an empty water bottle down to fill, so I wouldn't look foolish if he was there and didn't notice me, or if he wasn't there at all.
I walked in tentatively. As the heavy door shut, he glanced back from the couch.
"Heeey!" He said in an enthusiastic welcome. I stood there for a moment, trying to decide how I‘m supposed to act now that he recognized me. I hadn‘t thought that far ahead. I tried my best to be nonchalant. Like it was just a fluke I happened to be there.
He invited me to sit with him. One minute it was 5pm, and "Everybody Loves Raymond" was on in the background. The next thing I knew the 11 o' clock news was ending. Like Bambi's friends, I was twitterpated. We talked about nothing. About classes and where we lived. Backgrounds and favorite foods. Family. Professors.
Later, as our relationship continued, he said he’d been sitting there, hoping I might show up again. And how happy he was that I'd come. We joke about how we found each other out of loneliness.
The rest of the month was a giddy blur. We had breakfast together, spent every spare second together from the time we got out of class till we said goodnight. I grinned all the time. I couldn't focus on lectures, on meals or on sleep. I was on a vivacity high of happiness. I hadn't felt like this over anyone. I loathed the giggly boy-crazy girl I had allowed myself become, but I was so happy I couldn't care.
Five years later and here we are. It was fate, luck and good timing that brought us together. I had no idea I'd be talking to my future husband. I was just a really shy and awkward girl. Uncomfortable in my own skin. I was trying to get out of my comfort zone of my room and be social.I had gone looking to get out of my own way and ended up with a boyfriend. All my bad choices lead to meeting him.
Relationships at the C.I.A are difficult unless you were on similar streams. I met Matt after my extern, and he was only a few blocks in. I would be graduating in four months, then he'd be off on extern, by then I'd be back for my Bachelor's degree while he was still gone. He wouldn‘t return till months later. The odds were already stacked against us. I could hardly think about that at the time. I was in delirium of insane happiness in the first months of a new relationship. Where food never tasted better, the sky is brilliant blue, and everything seems so fantastic. Nothing pops the New Relationship Bubble.
I had no idea what I was doing. It was my first relationship where the guy wasn't leaving to go home across the country. I was in Chocolates class at the time, all I wanted to do was track him down and give him the White Chocolate Raspberry truffle I'd made in class only an hour before. But I didn't want to seem crazy. I had to let out the crazy and weird a little at a time. But it turns out he didn't mind a girl giving him pounds of handmade confections. His roommates and neighbors minded even less.
Through graduations, externships and long distance, it kept going. I'm not even sure how it happened. Life just continued on together. Time just kept going.
Valentine's Day is always special to me, because it's the day my life changed. I found someone who liked me in spite of my weird bizarre Jenni-ness. I felt like I was becoming the out going happy person I used to be. He balanced and still balances my hyperactive, strange personality.
It wasn't a surprise when we got engaged. I mean, when it happened it was a SURPRISE, but we spent the last two-three years saying things to each other: "At our wedding, we're..." and "When we're married it's going to be...." or "It's going to be your job as a husband to kill the spiders and not judge me about it!" or laughing about how spoiled our kids will when it came to meals with a chef for a dad and a baker for a mom. Or how we'd react if our kid suddenly decided he hated to cook and would rather spend his life as a rodeo clown.
What most people might tell you is most engagements aren't a total surprise. A relationship either naturally goes in the direction of a life together or it doesn't. You find yourself discussing the future in "we" and "us", and it‘s natural, not uncomfortable or scary. The moment may be a total, romantic and lovely surprise, but the getting married part rarely is.
I could put a lot of quotes about love, marriage, or Valentine's Day here. But I'm not going to. Love is unique to each person. It has highs and lows, fights and tranquility. Nothing is ever perfect and love is always flawed. It's the little things and of course the big things that matter in a relationship, and the ones worth the pain for.
Matt has loved me for who I am. He's the first person I'm completely open and honest with; I could be myself around him. Despite my "sometimes" temperamental behavior, my speech complications, my bizarre personality, my NF, my tendency to get over emotional over any emotion, my inclination to not let go of my moodiness, and the weird quirks and flaws everyone has. I'm so lucky to have gone to school with the stream I did, to have those classmates. I'm lucky to have picked that terrible extern site and even luckier to have that train wreck of a relationship. All my good and bad decisions led to me meeting the guy who'd become my husband. And for that I feel grateful and lucky.
So Happy Valentine's Day to all of you out there!! I hope you are as happy as I am. No matter where you are, who you are with or what you are doing.
"Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly."...