Love stories (ours.)

our wedding photo via tim will photography

I promised our story, so here it goes.

J. and I met by chance the fall semester of my junior year in college. I was running late for the first day of lab* & by the time I got there only two spots were left for me to sit. One by a really cute guy (J.) and one by a guy who seemed like he wouldn't be very much of a conversationalist. Of course I picked the seat across from J, and rushed over to it before another latecomer could beat me to it. It took a few days of talking before he started to open up, but once he did we instantly bonded. I felt something with him that I hadn't felt with anyone- not even my then boyfriend of 2 years. It was as though I had known him forever- like he was the best friend I'd always been looking for. And much like Melissa, I thought a "taken" girl could still have guy friends, right? When I thought about it, almost all of my friends were guys, so having J. as another felt completely natural. Of course something was different with him- and even though I wouldn't admit it to myself, I knew he was special. I think I even told my roommate at the time that I'd made a new friend. Seriously? was I six? Who announces their new friends? :)

Anyhow, soon lab wasn't long enough for our conversations and he began walking me home. On other days he'd ask to copy my notes from class when he had miss a day so we'd get to catchup then.** Like I mentioned, at the time, I was dating someone else so J. never asked for my number or asked me on a date. He didn't want to push anything and kept hoping I'd break it off with this other guy and he'd get his chance. Luckily his patience allowed us to become amazing friends & really get to know each other.

On the day before winter break, I ran into him before our final & asked if he wanted to sit with me during the exam. He did, & before it started he handed me his number. Knowing I might actually never see him again- I was an art major, he was studying biology/pre- pharmacy- I actually got sick during the final and had to leave early.*** It really caught me off guard because it was one of the first times I realized how much not seeing him would actually bother me.

The next 3 months I didn’t see J. as often as I would have liked, but we still talked almost every day. When I was sick he’d bring me soup and chocolate & he’d call and wish me luck on art critiques I was stressign over. Overall, he was the perfect best friend & although I still got butterflies talking to him, I wanted to believe that was all he was. It wasn’t until the weekend before spring break that I realized he meant so much more to me. I woke up vomiting & barely able to stay conscious & I called my then boyfriend. He told me to take a Tylenol, lay down, and I believe something about "shaking it off." Well this wasn't going to just "shake off," and not knowing what to do I called J. He picked me up within 10 minutes, carried me to the car, & took me to our university’s clinic- waiting outside until I was done. 3 shots and at least an hour later, the doctor helped walk me out to him. It was then that I finally saw the look of relief & love in J’s eyes. I fell in love with him right there. I didn’t say anything, but I knew what I had to do.

I drove to my then boyfriend’s hometown & told him I couldn’t be with him anymore. It wasn't exactly a surprise- the guy and I wanted completely different things from life, and he didn't really support my life decisions. To be honest, I think we had stayed together for so long because it was easy. Between date nights and football games, we never really had to discuss the "big topics" such as whether or not we wanted kids, where we wanted to live, what our careers would be etc. Naive I know, but when I finally forced the conversation, I was met with the harsh reality that I was heading towards a life I didn't want, with a person I wasn't in love with. And not only was that unfair for me, but it was really unfair to him as well. So I ended it and haven't looked back since.

When J called that night I told him what I had done, but not why. I was scared he didn’t feel the same way I did, and I didn't want him to think I had done that simply for him. Before I could finish telling the story though, he stopped me & said “I’ve been wanting to take you out for 8 months now. Will you let me this week?” (I did. of course :) )

So, fast-forward 8 1/2 months. It was Dec 17th & a fresh blanket of snow had just fallen on NYC, where we were spending a few days to celebrate our graduations from college. The first night we went to see the tree at Rockefeller Center & barely 5 minutes had passed before the guy standing next to us dropped to his knee and proposed. J seemed a little nervous after that- saying something about cliche’s and not being a surprise, etc. I figured something was up but tried to let it go & just enjoy our time together. We took the carriage ride in the park & saw the sights- but our most favorite times were spent just walking along the busy streets at night. I remember holding his hand in front of Saks as we stood watching the snowflakes light up to Carol of the Bells. He squeezed my hand & looking at him slightly shivering from the cold, I knew he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

On Dec 20th, the day after we got back to Atlanta, he took a detour on our way home. Next thing I knew we were standing in the exact place we had picnicked at on our first date. It softly started to rain as J knelt to one knee & asked me to be his wife. He said he knew by the end of our first date that he wanted to marry me, & after our trip to NYC he wanted to bring me back to the exact spot he realized that and make it official. We were married exactly a year later in my hometown.

It was a crazy start, and caught a lot of people off guard, but we both knew this was the real thing. I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but I truly believe in soul mates and can never stress the power of destiny enough. I think we were meant to meet that day in dissection lab and have never questioned- not even for a second- the decision I made. The journey we've had thus far and will continue to have has brought us such joy, and I feel so lucky to have found him.

I hope you all enjoyed our story and had a fantastic Monday!

*dissection lab. If you can still fall in love despite the smell of formaldehyde and the sights of a dissected animal, you know it's something special.

**It wasn’t until after we started dating that I learned he would walk 2 miles out of his way to walk me home and that he never missed a class so he would always be able to talk and walk with me.

*** Apparently I wasn't the only one. I found out later that J was so nervous about the possibility of never seeing me again and then sitting by me during the final that he couldn’t concentrate & completely failed his final.