(Today is our tenth anniversary. In celebration of our decade of destiny, I’ve decided to write how the love story began. Happy Anniversary, Matt. I love you. To my readers, enjoy the ride.)
It seems strange to start with a breakup, but that is how our love story began. I was 26 years old, which meant that, by BYU standards, my statute of limitations on marriage was quickly running out. All my high school friends were married. Some had even married, divorced, remarried and had children. I mourned it occasionally, but for the most part, I was okay with it. I was working on my masters degree, had traveled the world to some extent, had a fantastic group of friends, and was beginning the search for Ph. D. programs. I considered myself bright, independent and full of future. I wasn’t trying to avoid marriage or run away from relationships, but I didn’t picture myself as the married type— or the mothering type. (I’d never once planned out the colors or themes for my future wedding, and babysitting as a teenager taught me that wasn’t my cup of tea either.) So, though I dated quite a bit, I wasn’t devastated by the fact that I was 26 years old and had never had a boyfriend.
Until now. And it was big news.
On two separate occasions I was introduced to KK by different friends who thought we would “make a great couple.” The first time, we realized we already knew each other from a summer literature course. The third time we were introduced, I think we just surrendered ourselves to the fact that we’d better get to know each other, so we did. The conversation led to an immediate connection, and we began spending more and more time together. Over the next six months we became more and more involved in each other’s lives. Though I had gone out on dates with probably a hundred different boys since my debut as a wide-eyed freshman, this was groundbreaking territory for me. And I was surprised how much I enjoyed myself.
We seemed to be a perfect match. We didn’t really call each other boyfriend and girlfriend (me, because I had no idea what the rules were for such titles, and him, because –looking back– he had a fear of commitment.) But to everyone who knew us, KK and I were an item, a legitimate dating couple. It was exciting. Everyone went on and on about how great we were together. My girlfriends would pull me aside and say, “Where did you find this guy?” And I was really happy.
Then one night, after he invited me over to his house to watch Gone With the Wind (a class assignment— the movie part, not inviting me), he walked me back out to my car, and he broke up with me. Just like that. His speech went something like this:
“Like most guys, I have a list of everything I’m looking for in the girl I want to marry, and you have all of those things and more. (He listed them and I don’t remember much except that he emphasized that the physical attraction was definitely there.) BUT, (that word rang loud) I don’t know how to explain it, I just feel like something’s missing. I’m really sorry I can’t explain it any better that that. I know it sounds dumb, but something’s just not there.”
I was stunned. We hugged and left amicably, and I drove home in a whirlwind of confusing thoughts. “Something’s missing?! Thanks, I’ll work on that.” I don’t know if I was numb, but I just stayed calm, and I drove back to my apartment. I woke up one of my roommates, and said, “KK just broke up with me.” “WHAT??” She sat straight up in bed. “What? Are you kidding me? No way. What happened??” I explained the whole odd story in a very matter-of-fact way. She had a thousand questions. I had no answers. She kept saying things like “I’m so sorry.” and “I can’t believe it” and “Are you okay?.” I said I was fine, and I shrugged and joked, “I guess it was just a major accomplishment to get to the point in a relationship where someone actually can break up with me.”
I traipsed into my bedroom, climbed into bed, and went to sleep. The next day I called my mother. That’s when the tears came.
Coming tommorrow…. Chapter 2: The Transition