We were strangers, but we talked easily and openly about things that most strangers would never talk about. He had borrowed a roommate's car to get there; I had stopped at home to shower between a Bikram yoga class and our meeting. We maybe stayed for a couple of hours, talking about our plans, fears, and hopes for graduate school (we had both been accepted to the M.F.A. program at McNeese State University, which was the reason for our first meeting). We also had both gone to the same college for undergrad (N.Y.U), and Brendan had said (and I'm paraphrasing) "There's a certain kind of person who will move to New York City for school, and a kind of person that will move to Lake Charles, Louisiana for school, but it takes a really strange person to do both." We were both that "strange person," and I love that we have this shared history of place between us (we've both lived in New York City, Austin, Lake Charles, and now, Midland). It makes for a common point of reference in almost everything. I also feel strongly that graduate school was a completely magical time. I'm so glad to have someone in my life that shared in that magic...in a way, it keeps it so tangibly alive.
Brendan later said he left the meeting thinking we would get married, but he also admitted he had no interest in starting a relationship anytime soon at that point. I left the meeting thinking Brendan would become a good friend--I had no idea that I would fall in love with him.
It would be another two and a half years until our first kiss, but that meeting was the start of the amazing friendship that we have in our marriage today.
That friendship has had so much time to develop, and I know it is in large part because we didn't have a romantic relationship for several years (in fact, we both dated other people while at school). But today, the candidness, silliness, ability to stay up into the morning talking, being serious about the same things, and comfort and dependability in each other is what makes our marriage so strong.
Brendan and I have always had this protection of one another as a basis for our relationship (when we were friends, he once told me a guy would have to be crazy not to treat me well). Even when we have arguments, we choose to take some space rather than saying hurtful things. Of course, we have our disagreements, but I can truly say I never lose sight of how much I love Brendan. He's there for me, even if we're disagreeing; he's always treating me in a loving way, and I hope I reciprocate that on every level.
But back to April 24, 2008. After our meeting, Brendan sent me an email with some stories attached. He wrote that he enjoyed meeting me and was looking forward to reading my work. The email subject line was "Well..." I feel like, in some funny way, the rest of our lives were contained in that ellipses (we just didn't know it yet).
In these six years, our lives have changed a lot. At that meeting, we had no idea that in the years to follow we would fall in love and move to the desert of west Texas to become teachers. We didn't know our engagement would be in Austin about four years later, or that our wedding would be there five years later. We didn't know our separate families would become each other's families.
We will be the first to tell you, we could have never envisioned our lives as they are. And while things aren't always perfect, the fact that we have each other is perfect.
Life is the biggest mystery of all. You never know where it will take you or who you're going with.
So here's to the "Well..."
May it find you when you least expect it.
|First photo I have of us together circa Spring 2009|
|Being goofy at our wedding reception 7.5.13|