I never would have imagined it, but I did.
Maybe not right away, but keep reading. You’ll see. If you’re prone to cavities you better stop reading now because you’re guaranteed to get a few after exposure to this sweetness! Yeah, it’s sappy, but I can’t help myself…. I want to tell everybody. It’s that sweet.
We met for the first time when I was six and he was seven. I don’t remember it, and I’m sure he doesn’t either. I was the new kid so the teacher probably just marched me up to the front of the class, told everyone my name and called it good. No feel-good-help-the-new-kid-fit-in PC kind of stuff like they’d do these days. If you didn’t get beat up the first day, then you fit in fine.
It was the 70’s so he and I had the same haircut. You know, the one where your mom puts a bowl on your head and then cuts around it. My mom called it the “Dorothy Hammill” but I just called it ugly. There we are staring out of our first grade class picture. Me in my hideous plaid jumper with my gap-tooth smile and monkey face, and him in his white fisherman’s sweater looking the most normal out of our whole class. We don’t remember each other, but he claims a roving pack of girls with lipgloss attacked him on a daily basis and he’s pretty sure I might have had something to do with it.
Time passed. We got older, made it through different elementary schools, middle schools, friends and fads. Fast forward to freshman year of high school. He’s dating my best friend. They don’t have lunch together so he eats lunch with me at our (mine and my best friend’s) locker instead. Two weeks later, they’ve broken up but we’re still eating lunch together. Clueless nerd that I am, I don’t wonder about this. I figure we’re just friends and he maybe feels sorry for me, queen dork of the universe. Besides, I’m not supposed to think about how cute and sweet he is, right? I mean, he’s my best friend’s ex! High school has rules, right? A few months later he asks me to a dance and I say “no”. I couldn’t bring myself to go to a dance with someone who was asking out of pity (or so I thought). Next year he’s gone. Junior and Senior year he’s back. But he’s much much cooler than me. He wears a leather motorcycle jacket and listens to Def Leppard and Motley Crue. I go as far as the Def, but not much more. I read, he parties. I have acne, he has dates. We don’t really talk anymore but I still have a little crush on him.
10 years later I go to my reunion as promised to my good friend (not my old best friend). The first night at the social hour I walk in and there he is looking exactly the same as 10 years earlier, minus the leather jacket and mullet. He’s still cute and still sweet and we talk. A lot. Turns out he had a bit of a crush on me way back in freshman year. Next night his friend convinces him to go the the fancy dinner and dance thingy and I go with my friend too. I’m flirting with him hard core and we end up making out in the lobby of the hotel after the dance. I don’t go home with him, but I kind of wish I had. He makes me promise to come see him the next day before I leave town. I do, and now almost 6 years together later (2 1/2 of those married), we still feel like we’re on our first date (which wasn’t really a date since he didn’t ask me and we didn’t go together, but that’s beside the point. We still call it our first date).
Looking back I think we were meant to be together, the times just weren’t right. But maybe having those memories of our friendship gave us something solid to build on when the stars finally did align themselves in the right place at the right time for us to be together.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone reading (if anyone’s reading!). Hold out for your soulmate. You never know who you may find and where or when you may find them.