In the Fall of 1992 I headed off to University all wide eyed and innocent and too young to drink. A few months later I turned 19 and through my much older room mates brother I met a man who I thought was a jerk with a weird last name. I won’t get into too much of the details as to why I thought he was a jerk but I will say that it was being fuelled by tales told by my room mate, who had her own version of reality that in the end we all realized was DRASTICALLY different than everyone elses.
Despite the fact that my room mate kept telling me what a creep, weirdo and jerk this “guy with the weird last name” was, she seemed to be actively encouraging him to hang around our totally illegal dungeon basement apartment. She had a boyfriend (living in the U.S.) and I was naive enough to wonder why he would hang around someone who wasn’t “available”. After a while she seemed to lose interest in “guy with the weird last name” but he still hung around on occassion and he began to joke around with me as I sat, cross legged in my chair, hair high in a pony tail a top my head, eagerly highlighting practically every line in my textbook as I crammed for exams. He laughed and mocked my study habits and note taking. He encouraged me to “relax” and do the “bare minimum”. Somewhere along the line I was mortified when he walked in to find me writing a moronically childish letter to a friend as I was using a different coloured marker for every letter of every word (what – I was bored!). I tried to act all nonchalant and flirty and deflect my embarrassment and somehow that turned into me offering to write on him with the markers. Because somehow that’s a turn on right???? Don’t ask, I don’t know – I was trying to be something other than the uncomfortable 19 year old inexperienced book worm that I was. Thankfully he declined on that occasion and my markers remained capped.
A few weeks went by and we hadn’t seen “guy with the weird last name” around. I asked my room mate and she acted indifferent. A few days later she walked by my room and threw a paper at me, “Here’s his name and address if you want to get in touch with him”. I carried that paper around a few days. What if he didn’t even know who I was? I thought about calling him but I didn’t have the nerve. So I did what I did best I wrote him a letter and signed it “marker fetish woman”. Yes, I was that bad and that corny. And he answered. He wrote me first and I wrote back and then he called me and we talked for hours. Soon we arranged to meet. Our first “date” was in the middle of the day. I have no recollection how that came to be. We met up in a shopping mall. I had a car, he didn’t. We hopped in my car and as we drove to our first destination he nonchalantly opened my glove box. There was nothing in there but a box of chocolate Pop Tarts. I think he knew he loved me then. What person drives around with pop tarts in their glove box? That first date lasted 26 hours (NO it’s not what you think – I was a good girl and he was a perfect gentlemen and he was having trouble getting over the fact that I was only 19 and he was GASP 25).
Within 4 months though he had proposed and I said yes and we moved in together and then moved 4 hours away so he could go to grad school. We planned our wedding and we both went to school and I worked full time as well. And then in 1995 I graduated with my Bachelors degree in Psychology and then on June 10, 1995 I married my best friend. I was only 21 years old. I had no concept of what forever meant. But that’s okay because it was and still is the best decision I ever made. The days leading up to our big day were stressful and not without problems (mix ups at the hotel, my mother accidentally overdosing on her medication and needing to go to the hospital during our rehearsal – THANKS PAM for staying with my mom!!!!)None of it mattered in the end. The day was beautiful. It didn’t rain like they predicted. We got wonderful pictures, the ceremony was great (okay a little long but I did give it some comical moments including putting the ring on A’s wrong hand). Later that night at the reception, surrounded by our friends and family in the dining hall A and I spontaneously decided to go up to our room and change into shorts and we came back down and the DJ played Meatloafs Paradise By the Dashboard Light and suddenly we were surrounded by a group of friends and family, A and I singing the words to each other as though we had rehearsed it. We were having such a great time that guests from the wedding next door crashed our wedding. That moment plays in my head now 15 years later and it makes me smile so hard my face hurts.
We were 21 and 27, our whole lives ahead of us. Lots of wonder, lots of heartache ahead. We would face it together and that was all that mattered then and that is all that matters now. Well that and that I no longer think he has a weird last name.
15 wonderful years. I love you sweetie. Thanks for taking a chance on the young girl with the markers and the Pop Tarts.