This weekend marks our 12th anniversary. It hardly seems real that we’ve been married that long, but then again, it also feels like it has been much longer than that. I suppose this is probably because we actually dated for four years before we got married. So, when I think that we’ve been together for 16 years, that feels a lot more accurate.
And, so while this day marks our anniversary as husband and wife, I thought it was more appropriate to recall the events that happened on the day when we started dating.
Eric and I met in high school. When we met, he was dating my best friend (Tricia). At the time we met, Eric was 16 and I was 14. The dating relationship of Eric and Tricia was short lived, but I couldn’t help but think that I had connected with him, though I didn’t really think that he felt the same way about me.
Still, we did stay in touch, and I remember talking to him often. It wasn’t unusual for me to go to him with my guy problems. He claims now that he liked me all along too (hmmm…I don’t know that I believe that) but that he didn’t think I would be interested in him, because I pretty much always had a boyfriend, whereas Tricia had been his first girlfriend.
As time for prom rolled around, I urged Eric over and over to attend his junior prom. He kept telling me that he didn’t have anyone to ask, and I kept saying, “Just ask a friend then.” Apparently one can’t be subtle with a teenage boy. He did not figure out that I was offering myself up as a date possibility.
It was also at this time that I started to get fed up with waiting to see if he might be interested in me as well. So, being a mature 15 years old at that time, I just decided to talk to him about it.
an AV geek helping with the spring musical at school when I was supposed to be outside cheering on my tennis team hanging out inside the school. I went back stage to have this heart to heart that ended up going like this…
“You seem like you’re feeling down. What’s wrong?”
“Well…” I sheepishly start, “There’s this guy I like, but I just don’t know if he likes me.”
While Eric is busy moving things around and gathering up equipment, he offers up, “Why don’t you just tell him. The worst thing that could happen is that you’ll find out he doesn’t feel the same way. But, then at least you’ll know.” And, then he started walking away to do some things on stage.
I also took a few steps away, with my other best friend, Christine, close by, waiting for a quick exit.
“Are you sure I should tell him?”
“Yes,” with an air for being annoyed because he had work to do. He walked about a quarter of the way across the stage, as I took a few more steps in the other direction.
“What???” He replied, perhaps losing a little patience.
I took a deep breath. I then proceeded to chicken out.
“Are you really sure I should tell him?”
“YES!” He then moved farther across the stage, and I took a few more steps, feeling this would not end well.
One more deep breath. I began to feel it was that moment or never.
“Eric…” I said with hesitation to him, as he was now in the middle of the stage, with an arm full of equipment.
“WHAT?!?” He said, no longer trying to act like I wasn’t annoying him.
“I like you.”
At that moment, I didn’t even realize that when those three simple words caused my future husband to drop every bit of equipment in his hands onto the center of the stage, that probably meant he felt the same way about me. Instead, when that crashing sound made everyone else look, I went with the second grade mentality and turned to Christine and said, “Let’s run!”
Eric, who used to be painfully shy and quiet, shocked me by shouting across the auditorium as he pointed at me, “YOU! STOP!”
As I waited for him to pick up the things he dropped and walk over to me, I wished the floor would open and swallow me up. Likewise when he walked over and with a perplexed look on his face said, “Why me?”
At the time, I thought that meant, “I have zero interest in you — why would you think to like me then?” Instead, I know now that it meant more along the lines of, “I don’t have very good self-esteem and I can’t imagine why you would be interested in me.”
We muttered some things to one another, and pretty much left it at that. I still remember walking back out to the tennis courts with Christine thinking about what a disaster that had been.
Still lamenting the horrible incident, I had to walk up to the school to use the bathroom. As I walked across the parking lot, I looked up at the school to see Eric waiting outside, just watching the action near the tennis courts. This made me dread walking up to the school. Did we really have to rehash what had happened in the auditorium?
Instead, that painfully shy young man grabbed my hand and just started talking to me like things had gone much better earlier. I still remember thinking as we walked hand-in-hand, “Does this mean we’re dating now?” (I thought this especially because when Eric and Tricia had dated, he had never even kissed her — they had just held hands once at the movies.)
When our meandering walk through the school finally ended at the bathroom, Eric said, “Wait a second,” as I was about to step into the bathroom. And, it was right there that we had our very first kiss.
I walked into the bathroom a little confused about everything that had taken place in just a few short hours. But, I did then think, “Well…I guess that does mean we’re dating now.”
And, so here we are — 16 years and three kids later. And still, there often times when it happens that there are things that I’m not sure about in life. But, even in those times of confusion, I always know that we have each other, and quite often…that’s enough.
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