Once upon a time, when I looked like this:I went to a little school called Austin College, where I met a boy who looked like this:We met the Sunday after spring break of our freshman year, when our friend Frank invited us (and a few others) to go to a crappy Italian restaurant. For some reason, we both went, even though it was terrible (I’m talking Velveta cheese terrible), which means the moons must have aligned well that day.
I’m not sure if I even said two words to Chris that night; I was preoccupied with someone else at the time. But we kept bumping into one another at parties, which in those post-pledgeship days were happening nearly every night of the week. One evening, a couple of weeks later, we ended up at a Denny’s talking until three or four in the morning. After that, we sort of had a routine: we did our own things with our own people through out the week, but we always managed to find each other for post-party breakfasts. My preoccupation fizzled out and we added in late-night study sessions; then friendship turned into a daring kiss after visitation hours. Poor Chris, it might not have been the romantic moment he hoped for: I was more than a little shocked. I might have just stood there. Thank goodness for roommates, all it took was a long talk with my (awesome!) roommate, Annie, to realize I might just like him too. And that was that.
Somehow, Chris and I made it through that first summer apart and two more years of more than the usual college craziness and drama. When I think back on all the things that were stacked against our relationship: physical distance during the summers, his fraternity brothers’ more than dislike for me, my emotional instability and the many issues I was still working through, I can’t believe that Chris stuck it out. But he did — and not only did he stick with it, he made things better.
And, after two years of making things better, Chris arranged an amazing dinner at the restaurant where he worked, complete with a strawberry shortcake tower topped with a ring made by his grandmother. This is what it looked like after I said yes and stopped crying:
I can’t believe it’s been four years. One thousand four hundred and sixty days. I can’t believe how much has changed in that time; how much we have gained. I can’t stop thinking about this amazing year that Chris worked so hard to give to Nora and me – which gives today extra special meaning and twice the reason for celebration: one-year ago today we left New York and started our new life on Nantucket.