There are lots of different kinds of love. But the euphoric, infectious, ecstatic kind? The kind that feels like floating on clouds of cotton candy while tripping on mushrooms? That love that the movie romances are made of? How many of us ever get to feel like that? Well, I did.
It was Friday the 13th in November 2009. Instead of getting a free number 13 tattoo (my lucky number) at this tattoo shop by my apartment, I went to a bar.
And the first time I saw him, I had no clue who he was. He was handsome, and I liked the way that he smiled -- as if it came from the depths of his soul and he really meant it. I wish I could remember who struck up the conversation first, but we were at a bar and the drinks were flowing.
But I do remember exactly what it was we talked about for an entire hour: golf. Yes, that's right. That boring sport that most people don't care for. I should have known then that he was the one.
But more important than that was the way that he made me feel. He actually talked to me. He didn't try to get me wasted to sleep with me. He was genuine, and we obviously shared common interests. I liked beer, and drank the same real beer that he drank -- Budweiser. We were both golfers (I'd played varsity in high school), and we couldn't keep our eyes off of each other.
I wanted to see him again. But I had to play the game. That's what you do when you really like someone that you just met. Right?
I received a text message at 4:30 a.m.
Mike: "Did you make it home okay? I want to know that you're safe."
That's what I woke up to the next day at my apartment, with my head feeling like it had been hit with an anvil and my body thrown down an elevator shaft. But even in my hungover daze, I could see clearly that this guy wasn't a total douchebag like every guy I'd ever known before him. This one was different -- I could just feel it in my bones.
So what next? Obviously only one thing stood out on the forefront, through the mist of Jägermeister brain fog. I. Have. To. See. Him. Again. But more importantly, when?
I got up the guts to call him, even though it went against my usual “I'm not calling a guy” personal manifesto. But he texted me, so it would be rude of me to not reply, right?
We talked for several minutes, and surprisingly it wasn't awkward. We decided that we would meet again on Sunday to watch NFL football, because, like golf, we had that in common, too. The only difference was that he loved Tom Brady and I'm a Peyton Manning girl. But differences aside, we would meet. And likely drink more beer, and more shots. And I would leave pondering the same question: When will I get the chance to see him again?
Fast forward to later that Saturday evening when I had a break during my shift at the bar I tended at and checked my phone. It was HIM. He wanted to know how my shift was going (we both tended bar).
I sent him a reply that I couldn't believe I sent. I remember thinking, “If he never talks to me again, then at least I tried.”
Me (via text message): “I wish it was already Sunday.”
Almost as quickly as I'd hit send I got a reply: “Why do we have to wait? I want to see you tonight.”
My heart inevitably skipped a beat. WOW. There was no turning back. I'd never done that before, but then again, no one had ever made me feel that way. To say the rest was history would be the understatement of the year.
The two of us rarely left each other's side. I learned everything about him, he learned everything about me, and every person that we knew could see the force that was getting stronger by the day.
He was everything I never expected to be real. Once he came into my life I felt like I could do anything. He supported me, believed in me, and learned to love me despite my craziness, bitchiness, insecurities, potty mouth, inappropriate behavior at times, and all of the things that most men had accused me of doing "wrong" on several occasions.
Thirteen days after we met, it was Thanksgiving. The two of us had been so joined at the hip that he asked me to go to Thanksgiving with him at his mother's house. I prepared several vegetarian dishes to bring, and off we went to his mother's. I'm sure they thought that I was a tad insane, but I cleaned up well and brought food. I also did my best to watch my mouth, smile and tried really hard not to interrupt. That was my downfall, still is, but luckily Michael helped me with that.
That night after we left, we went back to the same bar where we'd met. There, at the bar that we both loved (where probably every staff member cringed seeing the two craziest lushes they knew together), we ran into a friend of Michael's. The same friend who was also coincidentally an ordained minister.
Around 2 a.m., as a complete joke but not really, he married us. We stood at the bar, by the service well, with music blaring in the background and tons of ruckus and commotion. And again, I can't remember whose idea it was. Probably mine though, because I was (and still am) a tad nuts whenever there is alcohol involved.
The saying that “good news travels fast” could not have been any more true. As fate would have it my mother, who happened to own the bar in which I worked, somehow caught wind of this “ceremony” between me and “a stranger I had just met” a few weeks ago.
I assured her it was “like a joke” sort of thing. Nevertheless, it must have held some truth, as I learned a few months later. As the next couple of months went by nothing changed, and the force that grew like blazing wildfire was still burning strong. Then, my “husband's” lease was up at his apartment.
Dun-dun-dun. What's a girl to do? I'd been down this avenue before, and it had never worked. I wasn't just going to live with another guy out of convenience. I wanted something real. This is when everything changed.
March 2010. Michael didn't get down on one knee, and I wasn't one to like weddings -- I hated the color white, and couldn't have cared less about a piece of fancy jewelry.
“Why don't we get married?” he asked me.
“You want to marry me?” I asked, dumbfounded by the idea.
My parents had never gotten married, and all I'd ever really wanted my whole life was to be a wife one day. I dreamed of being a wife. Not a wedding, not an engagement. Just a wife.
I remember him looking at me. He smiled. That same smile that I knew would change my life, “I can't imagine anything else I would want more than that.”
That very same week, after telling both our parents, we went down to the courthouse and got a marriage license that the ordained minister friend signed for us. The same one that's framed in our bedroom now over five years later. We have two daughters, with a little boy due any day now.
Sure, life has changed for us -- we're now living in the suburbs and have become responsible adults and parents. But, whatever you do, don't ever let anyone tell you that love doesn't exist. Because I promise you that I am living proof that it does.
And if they tell you that you're crazy? Well, they're just not as lucky as you.