Today, Husband and I had one of those perfect marriage days. It wasn’t anything spectacular or out of the ordinary. It was just one of those days where we found ourselves in the midst of a deep conversation before we knew we even started one. We were laughing and smiling more freely than usual and connected so effortlessly. At one point, while we were cuddling and laughing, he looked at me so tenderly that, although we’ve been together for years, we’re married and have had three kids, I found myself swooning under his gaze. I melted. It was one of those looks that said it all. It was more than an “I love you” look. It was an all-encompassing, “I admire you, I love you, I trust you, I need you, I adore you, I believe in you, I live for you.” look.
Never in my entire life did I believe I would find myself so completely blissfully happy. I never believed I’d find someone who I want to completely bear my soul to. Not because I didn’t think I deserved it, but because I didn’t know this kind of happiness and openness even existed.
Whenever we have perfect days or moments like this, I always find myself looking back on our beginnings. I catch myself smiling because I always inevitably end up going through snapshots in my head of our relationship like a slide show. It’s not the images that make me smile, but the feelings that they stir. To this day, when I think of one picture in particular, I always end up feeling my heart well up with a love and happiness that I could never describe. That picture says more to me than I could put into words. That picture is the beginning of what would be the biggest and best thing that would ever happen to me in my entire life. Nothing will ever compare to that.
The first time I saw him, it was actually my BFF that pointed him out in the hall. She had noticed him before me and I had to practically mop up the drool on the floor from her. She crushed on him. Bad. I couldn’t blame her, he was pretty cute. Later on we found out he was in track and I took the appropriate measures as her BFF to talk to his friends in track and we forced them to meet and talk during a track meet. In time, he fulfilled his duty as the crushee and asked my BFF out. They were officially a couple.
This is where a discrepancy comes in. I’m pretty sure they only dated for like a week. Husband says it was like three. Either way, it didn’t last more than a month. They were both good people, but he was fairly shy with her because he didn’t know her and she got bored with just passing notes timidly in the hallway and nothing more. They broke up via notes and life moved on and I didn’t think about him again. That was when he was a Freshman and I was a Sophomore.
Then next year Track came and I joined again. I ended up deciding that I was bored with just doing long distance and I tried out for all the field events too. Eventually I reluctantly settled for Triple Jump. I was terrible at it, but my jumping coach (and now good friend) refused to let me quit. He needed jumpers and I apparently showed promise. He told me to just jump for one meet and then we’d talk. I, having no backbone to stand up to the coach, agreed.
We had practice a couple of times a week and I slowly got better. The biggest issue for me was the boys. Being a distance runner, I didn’t have the fastest turnover when I sprinted down the runway. I “scurried”. At least that’s what I’m told. The boys lovingly picked on me for scurrying and eventually it got to be a “thing”. For the most part I gave it right back to the and laughed it off, but finally one day they really got into it and started clapping and jeering. I looked over at them for the first time to really see who it was that was picking on my scurrying. That’s when I noticed him. The boy who my BFF dated last year. He was in the midst of them laughing and smiling.
Oh. My. God.
He went from cute to absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous. Wow. Where I was previously unaffected by the playful banter, I found myself blushing furiously. I only barely made it through practice alive. I thought my heart was going to explode from nervousness. Every time he came near me I was fidgeting and my eyes were darting around everywhere but him. I think if he had spoken to me directly that day, I’d have fainted on the spot. Never. Never had a boy made me act like that before just from a smile. I mean, I didn’t even remember his name! I didn’t know anything about him. Why was I so nervous?!
Eventually, after asking around, I found out he was one of those star 4.0 students, a big athlete and an all around popular, sweet, fun and friendly guy. Not only that, but he never dated. In short, he was way out of my league.
I don’t remember how word got out. I don’t know if I eventually told someone or if my completely obvious reaction to his presence gave me away (I’m thinking it was the latter of the two) but eventually his best friends, who just so happened to be the ones who joked with me about scurrying, found out.
Oh. My. God.
Hell on Earth. Hell. I love these guys to death now, but I would have committed murder if I had the opportunity after they found out I was crushing hard on husband. I don’t know why I didn’t quit Triple Jump. Maybe it was because I started to get good at it. Maybe it was because merely looking at husband was enough to make the harassment worthwhile. Either way, I stayed. Now my scurrying was a big to-do. All of the guys, husband included, would line up next to the runway and make a point to watch my every move and cheer obnoxiously. As I did run throughs one of them would say to husband rather loudly, “Hey, I think that’s the girl who likes you!”
Oh. My. God.
To this day Husband claims that he didn’t know I liked him until later. But after his friends started pointing me out to him, he started to pay more attention to me. I would get occasional smiles, a joking comment, and even a few short sentences now and again. I honestly don’t remember most of those moments because I was doing my utmost to fight back my blushing most of the time. I would mostly just nod and grumble a few words and gaze mindlessly into his gorgeous green eyes. For weeks I suffered in silence. I never actually made a point to talk to him. (Not that I would have due to nervousness alone.)
Finally, my breakthrough day came. We had a meet and husband and I were, as usual, both jumping. I don’t know who started the conversation, but instead of going about our usual business by ourselves, one of us struck up a conversation. It was freezing cold in the wind and I knew there was an area on the other side of the track behind some bleachers that blocked the wind, but nothing was going to take me from this conversation. While most of the athletes huddled behind the bleachers, husband and I braved the wind and found a little hill overlooking the jumping pit and sat together and talked. We talked every moment that we weren’t busy with events. It was amazing. He was cooler and funnier and nicer than I had ever imagined. Although his friends joined us numerous times and left soon after because of the cold, he never left my side. I found myself staring at him in amazement while he told me one story after another of his life outside of Track. He told me stories about his granny, his friends, his brother, his church, his dog and so many more things. I just sat and laughed and smiled. I didn’t notice the biting cold wind. I didn’t notice anything around me. I couldn’t believe how close we were sitting. I couldn’t believe how long he was sitting with me. I couldn’t believe how much I liked him. I couldn’t believe how much his personality made him even more handsome in my eyes. I couldn’t believe he was single!
By the end of the meet, we were fast friends. At least that’s how it was in his eyes. To me, he was much, much more. Even with how strong my feelings were, I was just too shy to tell him how I felt. On the bus ride home, he sat with me and we talked over and listened to music. By this point we were huddled closely with a headphone in each ear. Our shoulders were touching. This was when I knew I was in love. I don’t know what specifically triggered it, but I definitely knew what I felt.
We continued to talk and joke and I, unfortunately, continued to be harassed by his friends for having a crush on him. Finally, spring break was here. There was an optional practice and I decided to go for distance running. When I showed up there was only about a quarter of the usual team. After I finished up my distance practice I headed over to the jumping pit. There were only a couple of people there, including husband. This time, though, he was without his posse. He suddenly seemed a lot less intimidating. I don’t know how it started, but we ended up talking pretty much every spare second we weren’t training. We talked about anything and everything. I found myself falling even more for him. He was just so sweet and funny and talented. Plus, my god was he good-looking. I mean, it was unbelievable how attractive he was to me.
To my complete astonishment, after practice he offered to walk up to the school with me. It was approx. a football field away, but it felt like a mile. I was alone with him. Completely alone. The boy that I couldn’t stop looking at or thinking about went out of his way to walk alone with me so we could keep talking and laughing. I can’t even tell you the amount of butterflies I had in my stomach. I was beyond elated. His laughs and smiles were just for me. And the way he looked at me a couple of times had my stomach doing flips. He would be quiet for a second and look at me out of the corner of his eyes and smirk and look away quickly. I had to look away or pretend to be busy with something because I was blushing so badly. Did he seriously just look at me like that?!
Unfortunately I had to wait for the rest of Spring Break to finish before I could go back to school and see if he would still act the same. By the time school started again I was so charged I could hardly concentrate on classes. I just wanted to see him again. Finally, after what felt like a lifetime, school was over. As I was rummaging through my locker husband came out of nowhere. He came to find me and walk with me to the locker rooms before practice started. He just wanted to say hi. Since he was a sprinter and I was a distance runner he wouldn’t see me until jumping. He just wanted to walk with me again. Just so we could talk for a couple of minutes.
Husband tells me that the Spring break practice was when he first started to really like me and he couldn’t wait to see me again at school.
From that point on, we were very aware of each other’s feelings and shared an embarrassed smile when one of his friends picked on us. Even the coach picked on us. Even though we both clearly liked one another, we were both far too shy to take the big leap and ask the other out. We sat in limbo and continued to fall for one another more and more. This led to people trying to directly intervene and get us to start dating.
Finally, it happened. At the end of a meet husband, his friends, coach and I were all standing around. Husband and I were huddled together talking and one of his friends asked me if I had a date to Prom yet. He knew the answer. Everyone knew the answer. I was a Junior and husband was a Sophomore. Only Juniors and Seniors could go to Prom. The underclassmen could go only if they were asked.
I obviously wanted nothing more than to dress up and get the chance to go out to dinner with him and dance with him. The problem was that I had never asked a guy out before and I had no idea how to do it. Besides, I was far too shy to ask him, especially in front of everyone.
Husband stood quietly watching me. I responded that no, I didn’t have a date. His friend the asked me if I was planning on going with anyone. I began to blush. I shrugged and mumbled an incoherent answer. Husband still said nothing. He was standing directly in front of me but I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. There was really no going back now. I was petrified. His friend, pushing even further, asked me if I was planning on asking anyone. Husband and I just stood there silently, I looked around quickly and noticed everyone was now looking at us and smirking.
Oh. My. God.
Finally, our coach broke the silence. He knew what needed to be done. “Hey, why don’t you go with husband?”
I caught my breath and looked at husband, only to find him looking straight back at me, smirking. *Ohmygod* I could feel my heart racing and my mouth dry up as I prepared to do the bravest thing of my entire life.
I took a deep breath and went for it, “Well, do you.. uh… want to?” *smooth…*
He nodded casually and stuck his hands in his pockets, “Sure.”
That’s what I felt like at that moment. I’m sure I responded with a simple okay, but I was elated! I was ecstatic! I was overjoyed! He said yes! He really said yes! Neither of us really said anything after that, but there was a chorus of, “well it’s about time!” from the bystanders. Eventually we walked up to the school together. We didn’t say much, but the atmosphere was different. The air was humming with happiness around us.
Then husband did something that made the previous mortifying scene all worth it. He put his arm around my waist. I don’t know if it was his way of reassuring me, or if it was his way of showing me how he was really feeling inside, but it was perfect. We fit perfectly. Time froze and I reveled in the moment. It happened. The impossible happened. This amazingly sweet, generous, funny, smart, kind boy liked me. He really liked me.
We walked silently together like that until we reached the school. When we stopped he kept his arm around me and we faced one another. That was the first moment he gave me that look. The all-encompassing look. At the time it wasn’t quite as deep and meaningful as it is today. But it still spoke straight to my heart. After he said goodnight and went to his locker room, I floated to mine. From that moment on, I knew that I felt differently about this boy. It was deeper and more passionate than anything I thought I was capable of. He was special to me. I knew I was going to fight for him no matter what.
We went to the dance and, if it were possible, I fell even more in love with him. Within a couple of weeks we were officially dating. Since then, a lot has happened, but I can still tell you every time I got that look from him. I can still remember every special unspoken moment we had when silence spoke louder than words.
As I sit here and remember snapshots of our life together over the past eight years, each image brings a happiness that touches my heart deeper and deeper. Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed that two people can love, trust and adore one another this passionately. Just when I think I couldn’t love my husband any more, I am blessed with another snapshot to add to my memory.