The background: In August of 2007, I packed up my bedroom and moved several hours from home to attend college. I had been looking at an arts institute in Kansas City, but chose to go to this university because my boyfriend at the time was going, and because I would receive a legacy scholarship. I moved into a creaky dormitory with haunted elevators and stuffy dorm rooms. I cried when my mom dropped me off. And silently cried for several subsequent nights as I drifted to sleep. As I got settled in, though, my body ached for adventure. I spent a lot of my time exploring my new city. I didn't have any friends yet, except for my then-boyfriend. And he spent the majority of the time playing video games. (Example: he asked me out to dinner; I excitedly got ready, even wore killer red lipstick...after an hour of waiting for him to finish playing his video game, I left. And then decided we weren't meant to date. So I dumped him.) A couple of weeks later, on a warm September weekend, an upperclassmen mutual friend invited me to a get together at your apartment. I had made some friends by then, but decided to only go in the company of the mutual friend. I don't remember meeting you, even though you were the host. I don't remember the handshake, or locking eyes - I don't remember if I stole glances at you across the room. I wasn't interested, as I had just gotten out of a two year relationship a couple weeks beforehand. Earlier in 2007, when I was applying to schools, my mom told me I would love college, that it was like a four-year party. So that's how I ended up at your apartment. Because I wanted in on this four-year party.
How we came to be (in the form of choppy sentences): A week after the get together, you're sick. I come to your apartment with Panera soup. We watch Wedding Crashers and I blush at the boob scene. Another weekend party at your house. One of my girlfriends from home is in town, so we go to your party. After several drinks, you kiss me by the pool. The following Sunday we go to the lake, throw around a football, and have hot dogs. The last weekend of September: a get together at your apartment. I bring J, the first girl best friend I made in college. You and I sit on your patio in white plastic chairs, talking for hours. We decide we want a pizza, so we walk to the grocery store. That's when it happened. You grabbed my hand and you held it for the rest of the night. We were up until 6am - still one of my favorite nights of college. A few nights later, you invite me over again. We play hangman. I make six dashes, two words. You solve it; it says "kiss me". You do. Fall break is coming and I decide to go home and see my family. You want to meet up with me on campus before I leave. You give me a big bear hug. Fall break is over. You ask me to lunch on October 9, 2007. Post-lunch you get really quiet as we drive back to your apartment. We sit on your bed. You're completely silent now. Then you ask me. And I say yes.
Since then: meeting each other's parents, tailgating with your brother and his wife, Halloween dressed as cowboys/indians, watching Boston Legal, going hunting with my step-dad, Superbowl party, baseball games, surprising me with a horseback ride for my 19th birthday, birthday trip to Kansas City, the surprise birthday dinner party with your family and friends when you turned 22, another football season = more parties and more tailgating, Kenny Chesney concert, trip to visit DP and AP, Halloween dressed as "white trash", camping, trips to the zoo, going to an amusement park for my 20th birthday, dinner on the roof of a Mexican restaurant with friends for my 20th birthday, celebrating your 23rd birthday, more football, quoting Dumb & Dumber, road trip to A(D)P and GP's dinner party and then watching my high-school best friend AD marry GP, trip to Memphis, watching me run a 10k, spring break trip to Florida (you're so brave to go on a trip with 6 neurotic girls), going to a roller derby bout, celebrating my 21st birthday in a limo with all my loves, wine/strawberry cake/comedy club for your 24th birthday, surprising me at door with roses in August, our special dinners every Thursday this semester, our first time to go to the fair together...
And all the million other times I've fallen for you. Kissing on the hood of your Jeep, breakfast with coffee and comics, snuggly Saturday mornings under your plaid comforter, going to church some Sundays, laughing until our bellies ache and our eyes water, staying up late watching documentaries, making heart-shaped pizza, helping me/rescuing me when I have car trouble, hanging things up in my bedroom, teaching me math/helping me with math homework, holding hands at the fountain, pushing me off the bed (don't act like you forgot), playing intramural softball, taking long walks, carving pumpkins, painting together, and being the glue when I come apart.
I didn't come to college to meet a guy. I certainly didn't come to get my "Mrs. degree". I didn't mean to find you. I didn't mean to fall madly, irrevocably in love with you.
But I did.
Happy three years to you, MLW, my love.
*I would have posted this tomorrow, on the actual 9th, but M and I will be going on a little adventure. And popping champagne.