When I think about what makes our marriage of almost ten years work so well, it’s not our career choices, it’s not about what we do in our free time, it’s not about our four amazing children, it’s not about date nights, or even finding sexy time, it’s all about our story. The story of us. I have dated guys before where the story of our union was bland, uninteresting, or even embarrassing, but Scott and I have an amazing and wonderful story, and I believe that this magical story has laid the foundation for what has become our strong marriage and our wonderful life.
It all started when I came back to my hometown in Michigan one summer after spending a year in Colorado for my first teaching job. I was struggling to meet people besides co-workers in my new life out west, and it felt really good to visit my hometown where I knew so many people and everything felt so familiar.
I made plans one night to hang out with my brother and his girlfriend, and we decided to hit up Billy’s. It was 80s night, and they had some great drink specials. As the three of us were sitting in the booth, sipping our beverages that would give us the social lubrication needed to dance with a sweaty pile of strangers, I whipped out a strange letter that I had received in the mail that day.
It was a letter I had written to myself six years ago in my high school English class. The teacher had promised to mail these letters to us five years after we graduated, but serendipitously, something happened to delay her correspondence. As I showed my brother and his girlfriend the letter, which was about how I hoped that I would be happy, and grounded, and not working too hard, and so on, we laughed at some messy green handwriting that changed my sentence describing how I wished that sometime in the future I would be able to sleep whenever I wanted to say, “and sleep with whoever I want”.
“Did your teacher write that?” Sally asked.
“I couldn’t imagine that she would!” I replied. “But for the life of me, I can’t remember anyone doing this.” What a mystery, we all concluded.
A little while later, we were joined by one of my brother’s good friends, Scott. Scott was someone I had known forever. He had been my brother’s best friend for ages, we had worked together at the B.O.B. together for a number of years, and we went to high school together (for two years at least). We had always known each other or had been friends it seemed. He even visited me in Colorado a few times when he was on the road for his job with Edutainment’s Drunk Driving Simulator. But he was always “my brother’s friend” and I just saw him as a buddy. (Although looking back at it now, I can see how our friendship had started becoming more meaningful after he visited me in Colorado.)
So anyways, he had heard that I was in town and hanging out at Billy’s, and so he came down to join us. As he slid into the booth, he was holding up an envelope, and excitedly blurted out, “You’ll never guess what I got in the mail today!” He proceeded to share with us a letter that he had received from his high school English teacher that he had written to himself six years ago. (Sound familiar?)
“The strange thing about it though,” he explained, “is that there are all of these snarky comments written in pencil throughout the letter.” As he mused about whether or not his teacher had written those comments, Jarrod, Sally, and I were all staring at each other bug eyed and Sally blurted out,
“Put the letters together!” Not understanding the possible connection, Scott slapped his letter face up on the table and I placed my letter next to his. My letter was written in pencil with messy green handwriting and his letter was written in messy green handwriting with comments written in pencil. As I explained how I too had received a letter in the mail from my high school English teacher that I had written to myself six years ago, our eyes slowly gazed upwards and connected in the most magical of moments I have ever experienced. There were many “Oh my gods!”, slappings of the table, “I can’t believe its”, and a number of other expletives and expressive comments that followed after we realized that we had written on each other’s letters!
When I saw those two letters side by side, I felt like a patient awakening from a long coma, and all of my memories that I had with Scott in it suddenly came flooding into focus, but it was like I was seeing them with a different lens. I remembered his “two-tie-Tuesday” ritual in high school and his amazing sense of humor that drew everyone in. I remembered a time in English class when I was the new girl, and he scooted his desk close to mine for an assignment and totally made me feel at ease with his confidence and humor. I remembered working at the catering company together, and how I would trade him Captain and Cokes from my bar for some prime rib that he was carving at the buffet table, and how we would always share a million laughs. He was always game for anything, and I remembered one time when I bet him $1 to eat a handful of old slimy mushrooms…and he did!
After a few more drinks, we were dancing crazily on the dance floor together, and as we let the music of “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” by Deniece Williams wash over us, and we yelled loudly (once again) that we couldn’t believe our letters, our eyes met, and like the attraction between two magnetic poles, we were drawn together by some unseen force. As our lips brushed against each others for the first time, I felt an electricity and an explosion of fireworks unlike anything I had ever experienced before. From that moment on, we were inseparable, our bodies pressed together and our lips constantly intertwined. One of our friends who was supposed to give us a ride was getting a little annoyed with us, and at one point my brother put his hand between our faces. He wasn’t too happy.
But like it or not, for the rest of the summer, we were inseparable. Everyone knew I had to go back to Colorado and no one wanted to see us get hurt, but irregardless, we did everything together, and I had more fun than I’ve ever had in my life. Period. There was one special day where we got a little giddy and went garage saleing. We each had an “allowance” to spend, and I don’t remember what I got, but Scott picked out a puffy green vest, a large talking robot, and a VHS of the Ducktails movie. (We still have all of those items today. Elliot has actually claimed the robot for himself.)
Well, there came a time when I had to go back to my job in Colorado. He had some time off from work and decided to drive with me and help me set up my classroom for the year. We had the most amazing road trip and enjoyed camping along the way, complete with beers around campfires underneath starry skies.
The week he spent with me in Colorado went by way too fast. I remember listening to “Lonesome Sundown” by theHalo Benders on the way to the airport and feeling like I was about to cut off my right leg or something. We traded shirts (so we could smell each other) before he boarded the airplane, and I cried all the way home. I found his goodbye letter on my computer when I got home where he expressed his love for me for the first time. That night, I wrote him a letter that I never intended to give to him. It said how I had fallen completely and madly in love with him and that I wanted him to stay with me so bad, but that I didn’t want to ask him, I wanted it to be his choice.
We talked on the phone constantly after he left, and after we expressed all of our feelings with reckless abandon, he told me that he couldn’t live without out me and that he wanted to quit his job, get out of his lease (with my brother – sorry about that Jarrod), and come live with me. I was absolutely ecstatically over the moon beyond happy. “Of course!” I shouted.
Ten days after he originally left, I was picking him up from the airport. A few months later, on the top of Dinosaur Ridge (one of our favorite hiking places), he proposed.
We were were married that summer in my parents’ field underneath two twisty trees that my Dad had been weaving together for the last umpteen years. It was an amazing wedding full of music, love, family, and meaning.
Today, we are happily married and can’t believe that we are about to celebrate our tenth anniversary. When we look at our four beautiful children and reflect on who we are and who we were, we are thankful to have found our soulmates, and we look forward to the day when we are two old farts, sitting on our porch swing, watching the sunset, and remembering how it all began. For our third wedding anniversary, I put together an album of our story so that we would always remember it.
As the years go by, and more stories accumulate, we love reflecting on the story of us and how it all began. From the very beginning, we were crazy about each other and couldn’t be apart. The same is true today, but instead of just being a tingling feeling of ecstasy, it is a deep, penetrating, connecting feeling that not only completes us but continues to grow.