13 years ago I met the love of my life. I remember it was early November, just days before his 21st birthday. This guy walked in to a tight group of friends standing in a hacky sack circle. He was wearing a bright orange Hawaiian shirt and walked with a confident, determined swagger. I could see from the start that he was the kind of guy who stuck to his guns when it came to getting what he wanted. Little did I know then that I was what he wanted.
Fast forward a year and half and we were officially courting. It was exciting and I was hopelessly in love with him, much as I tried to not let my heart get too wrapped up before I figured out how many kids he wanted to have. Fast forward now 10 months and see us sitting in a quiet back room at church crying and breaking up. We were young and a little too in love with ourselves and our ideals to be in a serious relationship. What else was there to do but leave the country? I fled. I traveled with a group around a few Southeast Asian countries trying to ignore his constant MSN chat messages popping up every time I found an internet connection, which was not often. I continued on my own to Europe where I stayed with family and tried to forget him. Eventually he stopped messaging me and I began to realize that I kind of missed him.
Six months later I returned home to find that he had flown to Nepal on a one way ticket. I acted like I didn’t care. I worked a job at the mall. I hung out with another guy. I hopped around the country on trips to distract myself from the fact that I wasn’t really doing anything or going anywhere. He wrote me a letter saying that he wasn’t looking for or expecting anything from me but would I mind holding on to the journals he was writing in his little village in the Himalayan mountains? Thick notebooks began to arrive in the mail once a month which I read over coffee tucked away in my room. I read a page a day, front and back, trying to make the journals last a month. I realized I might have missed the best thing that could have happened to me.
By the time he arrived a year and half later I was in love – this time with the real man I had met through his honest words scribbled by candle light. 5 months later we were engaged. 2 months after that I was walking down the aisle on a carpet of shriveled up rose petals from all the roses he had given me over the last 7 months.
That guy I met when I was 17 turned 34 today. He has never stopped wooing me, waiting on me, loving me. He’s the man of my dreams even down to those obnoxious ways that I need him to be. I love you, Huck, and I’ll always stick out the adventure by your side. Happy birthday!