Saturday, January 11, 2014

How did you find love?

What draws people together?  Is it destiny?  Fate? Blind date?  Common interest?  Timing?  The wind?  Or paper planes? 
We as human's want happy endings.  People want to have someone to come home to, watch a movie with, snuggle at night, and wake up to in the morning.  Even if we are jaded and cynical enough to trick ourselves into thinking we're perfectly happy to lead a solitary, lonely life, only responsible for number one.
So how do these people find love?  Romance is a huge genre for a reason.  People love to see the story of how people find their imperfectly perfect partner. 
Is it a series of 'coincidence', like with my husband and I?  How many have gone out searching for 'the one', only to find it when we least expect it?
Here's my love story:
Eighth grade, I was awkward.  Glasses, gold braces, new kid.  My dad was Navy and even having lived in that little southern town for five years before, leaving for two years in middle school changed everything for me.  My friends from before were popular now, while I was uncool.  Suddenly coming back 'home' wasn't so great anymore. 
I made friends with the other awkward kids in my neighborhood, and listened to Incubus on the bus acting like we didn't care what people thought.  Vividly I remember my new friends pointing out a boy across the gym, where the school busses dumped us in the mornings.  He was blond and seemed to float between all of the clicks in a way I could not. 
Drifting from the popular kids, to the emo punks, he slapped hands and bumped fists with everyone.  Who was this boy? 
One day one of the higher level popular kids told me that this guy liked me.  I laughed, embarrassed.  What reaction did you have in Eighth grade?  He kept asking through friends, never talking to me face to face until I finally gave a friend to give him my number.  I remember watching her walk across the gym and handing him the piece of paper, holding my breath as he looked across the basketball courts, seeming to know exactly where I was.
He never called.  Friends said he hated talking on the phone, so in the theme of things I broke up with him after a week.  I know how it all sounds. 
Flash forward~
In 9th grade, he moved away to Massachusetts, coming back to the south in 11th grade.  I moved in 11th grade to Washington State.  After graduation I wanted to go back bad.  Having borrowed my mom's car, gas card and cashing my $100 in graduation money I set off.  52 hours later a friend and I pull up into a friends driveway in the deep south.  I was back.  Now what?
I socialized, partied, got tattoos, went to the beach.  Finally after running out of money, I start putting in applications, getting a job at a local sports store in the strip mall.  My coworkers were great, I had money, was eating out three times a day (hey, I was 18) and able to buy whatever I wanted at the mall.  (Not that I paid my friend's mom any consistent rent)
I started working there in July.  In November I got arrested.  Yup.  Raw truth time. I was a wild teenager. 
After spending the night in county, being shackled wrists and ankles, standing in front of a judge next to a prostitute with no front teeth, while my mom (whom I didn't call) spoke through her tears about how she didn't know how this could happened, I woke up.  I grew up. 
The judge asked where I worked.  When he found out it was retail, he laughed saying I would never be able to work retail again.  He also said he was tempted to leave me in for a week to teach me a lesson.  Believe me, I had learned.
As soon as I got out my friends started calling me Tweety.  I moved back in with my mom, who had made the trip south a few months after I did. TERRIFIED that my boss would find out what I was arrested for, I quit shortly after.
This boy was on a state scholarship at a university living it up with his buddies, until he realized how much books and dorm living was costing his family.  He quit, moving back home after a semester to go to community college.  But he needed a job.  Wouldn't you know that the local sports store recently had an opening?  He took the job I left open.
January I'm sitting in a hospital Emergency Room with a friend, when I see my old Assistant Manager being brought in.  She was clearly unwell, so I decided to go by the store and see what was happening at the store. 
When I walk in there's a guy with chin length blond hair behind the counter I don't recognize, along with my boss.  She's excited to see me and pulls me to the back so we can talk.  As I walk to her desk I say, "I think I know that guy."  She nods, "He's trying to take the assistant manager job, but I just don't like him." 

We wind up talking for a while, until I get up the nerve to ask her if she would consider me for the position.  Then we were working together.
I found out the boy's name and he reminded me that we 'dated' in middle school.  I was shocked, totally forgetting about that non-dating boy who wouldn't call.  I happened to be dating two different guys at the time, they would come in to the store, I would lament their hopelessness to my coworkers and they had no choice but to listen. 
My blond co-worker would come to work on his days off for my smoke breaks.  He started talking about this cool theater room he had at his house.  We both loved Chinese so he would bring me dinner sometimes on a long shift.  The day I got my first new (to me) car, I pulled up to my work completely content with my new grown up purchase.  The boy gets in the car with us, riding in the back sharing my excitement.
When we leave, my mom turns to me and asks, "Why don't you date him?"  My eyes widened in shock, "Him?"  I had never considered it.  Even with his hints, I never took him seriously. 
The next day he speeds in to the parking lot before work, jerking to a stop with seconds to spare.  As I unlocked the front door, I glanced at him for the first time.  Squinting my eyes I said, "You did something to your hair."  No.  He didn't do something, he shaved his head.  The whole day I kept looking at him, my mom's words in my head.  Why don't I date this guy?
February 26th my mom went out of town.  I was getting a friend to get me beer, and had stopped at work to help put away a shipment on my way to get it.  I turned to him as he's ringing up a customer and ask, "Do you want to come over tonight?" 
He freezes, then slowly nods his head.  "Yes, I do," he told me.  He came over and looked terrified as he leaned in to kiss me.
We've been together 9 years this February.  He proposed to me in front of the middle school where we first met.  Getting married 4 months later in June, him leaving for Army Basic Training two days later, moving to Alaska with him after that.  Four children.  Three deployments.  Now we're in Germany.
If all of those seemingly random things hadn't happen, I wouldn't have my husbands, my kids, my life.
So what things matched up perfectly, or maybe imperfectly to give you your love story?  If you haven't found that person yet, don't be discouraged.  Maybe you met him a long time ago and he'll come into your life again.  Maybe he's the guy you sell coffee to every morning at 7:40 sharp.  Maybe he's the guy who ran into you at a stop light.  Maybe he's the one who you will strike up a conversation with over twitter, because you hash tagged something crazy. ;)


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