It’s about to be February, a month that our culture has conveniently transformed into another holiday “event.” Go figure…
This month is markedly different for me. For the first time in my life, I’m sharing Valentines Day with my boyfriend. What a wonderful, crazy thing!
Falling in love was the last thing on my mind this last year.
I met the love of my life a little over a year ago, though I didn’t know it at the time, at a wedding. Doubtful you could find a more cliché place to meet your future spouse, but meet him I did.
I was there for my best friends’ double wedding. He was there for one of the grooms. We stood on opposite sides of a candle lit barn one frigid October night. And afterward amid bonfires, fireworks and side helpings of freshly caught and cooked squirrel meat, I darted up to take his picture with one of the grooms. That was it, first impressions, a darting glance, warm eyes and brief smiles. And I promptly waltzed away in my flouncy neutral shaded bridesmaid dress, totally unaware I had briefly crossed paths with the ever elusive concept of love.
Love long ago became a word I learned to fear. For someone brought up in a family overflowing with love to give, it was strange that I felt that urge to run away from it in my own life. In elementary school I had a crush on a boy in my class. He was cute with olive skin and dark hair and the sweetest of smiles. He also played tag with me so he didn’t seem half bad. But when a fellow classmate found out I liked him, she did the one thing I begged her not to, went right up to Joe and told him, “Jennifer likes you!” Not only was I mortified, but I decided there and then not to trust my girlfriends with such important information like crush identities ever again. Since then I have found the reason for this mistrust derives from some innate urge we females have to cat fight over the prize males. We pick the ones with the best smiles, smoothest skin and sparkling eyes. Not to mention that killer bod and the classic faux hawk and meticulously gelled spikes. We females like good and bad boys, sweet and naughty and sometimes we want a Chex Mix blend of all the above.
In Junior High, my girlfriends were still pretending to help each other obtain the interest of their respective crushes, while secretly lying in wait for a chance at a piece of meat. After carefully observing this crude and shallow exchange of leftovers, not to mention potential for food poisoning, I kept to my old creed. I didn’t tell anyone when I started crushing on an older guy in my churches youth group. In fact I stayed tight lip and watched him date and dazzle my best friends while keeping me safely tucked into a sisterly role. I couldn’t really blame him. I was awkward, had acne and braces and didn’t know what plucking my eyebrows meant, let alone how to tame my lion’s mane hair. Still I pined and prayed, asking God for a chance. I even dreamed of our eventual wedding, like any normal fourteen year old girl with a crush.
I used to imagine how surprised everyone would be if they knew just how much I liked boys. I wasn’t confused or anything. I knew boys were yummy, but I’d been raised in a house with three older teenaged brothers. The sight of a man in boxers had to grow on me after I’d spent the first part of my life seeing that every day. But by the time high school rolled around my tastes changed from boys who didn’t give me the time of day. I was an artist and a singer in the school choir and it was only natural I liked musicians. Those smooth talking, piano and guitar playing fiends liked to hear themselves talk more than me, unfortunately…
But enough about the past. You’re probably wondering what happened next. You know, after the freezing night in October, a little over a year ago.
After that one photo I took of him and another we took with the rest of the wedding party, standing on opposite sides and totally unaware, nothing happened. He left early, before the fireworks and I might have never thought twice about it. Except I wasn’t in control of events that night, nor our next meeting.
Stay tuned to hear more about love, writing, and “Stay.” 😉