The first time I was introduced to my future-husband, I was a junior and he was the prom date of my best friend. Outside of saying “hello”, I didn’t pay attention to him. Why? Because my date was a tall, hot, senior who I couldn’t stop making doe eyes at. My brief “relationship” ended a few weeks later, and I had forgotten all about my best friend’s date. My future-husband and friend continued to see each other periodically, but I wasn’t involved and their relationship was never serious, so my attentions went elsewhere. But that, inexplicably, changed my senior year.
Senior year my friends and I were old enough to try out for the Rose Court. If you’re familiar with the Rose Parade that happens New Year’s day in California, then you know who the Rose Queen and her court are. Long story short, none of us made it past the first round, but as a “consolation prize” we all got to go to the Royal Ball that Fall. I was the only one going stag to the dance, as my date cancelled last minute.
That’s when I truly met Andrew.
At that moment my mind and, who knows, probably even my heart, decided I was ready to know this young man. But, I confess, it was NOT love at first sight.
I can’t remember what he was talking about, just that, as I listened to him, I couldn’t help but think how interesting he was, and how much I wanted to get to know him. I didn’t want to bury him in kisses, there was no uncomfortable heat radiating throughout my body, just an intense NEED to KNOW this young man… who was my best friend’s date. Damn.
That should have ended things right then and there. Best friend law dictates your friend’s date is 1000% off-limits. But, my friend is a saint. She was not, shall we say, besotted with Andrew. They were just friends. So, when she saw my interest, she actually PUSHED Andrew at me to slow dance together. If that isn’t an “all clear” sign, I don’t know what is!
Back then, cell phones were still pretty new. So, instead of asking for my number, my friend gave him my AOL Instant Messenger name and, the next day, he was messaging me via the internet. A day or so after that, he became one of the few numbers I had in the cell phone my parents got me “for emergencies”, and a few weeks later, we were going on our first date.
Our relationship was pretty normal by all teenage standards. Except for the fact that my future husband tried to break up with me shortly after declaring we were boyfriend and girlfriend.
You see, we went to a retreat together in January for Andrew’s church. During that time, one of the pastors (I think they were pastors? Youth leaders, certainly) asked how many of us were attending the retreat with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Andrew and I raised our hands, and the pastor said, very frankly, “You will break up.”
I was incised.
Who was this man to tell me what I was going to do one day? Who was he to attempt to predict my future? Challenge accepted, I say! He didn’t know me, and even though he knew Andrew, he didn’t know the collective us, and we were in love. IN LOVE I TELL YOU!
That’s when Andrew tried to break up with me.
We were out in the snow, and he promised that he’d still be my friend, but we should break up. I don’t remember the other reasons he gave, they weren’t important, because I told him: “No. No we’re not.”
Looking back on it now, it’s easy to see fate, or God, playing its/His hand in that moment, because what did I know? I’ve been broken up with before, I’ve broken up with others, I never told those people they weren’t allowed to break up with me, nor did they tell me I couldn’t walk away. But here I was, telling Andrew that we, were in fact, not breaking up. The end.
And, oddly, it was.
Whether Andrew was just so shocked by my declaration, or realized he was making a huge mistake, I’ll never know, because HE doesn’t know. I remember he brought up the topic a few times after that on the bus ride home, but I’d always just shake my head and turn to look out the window. Clearly avoiding the topic was the right course of action (it usually isn’t, but in this instance, hey, whatever works!).
We got back, our parents picked us up, and a few days later, we were out on another date and the topic of breaking up never came up again. Well, I shouldn’t say never. Andrew and I did have a long distance relationship all through college, but that’s another story.
Point is, something I saw in that brilliant young man captured ALL of my attention the night of the Royal Ball. Something deep within me crawled to the surface of my mind and heart that day and whispered, “That’s him. He’s the one,” and he was, even without the initial butterflies and teenage blushing. I knew that smart, gangly boy would one day be my everlasting partner. And so, my high school sweetheart became my husband in a very “aww-inspiring” way, whether he liked it or not!
(Don’t worry, he likes it).