Saturday morning dawned white with snow. I breathed a prayer of thanks that I had invited a dear childhood friend to accompany me, for he had a truck and he knew how to drive it. I had a car, and when roads were white with snow I did not know how to drive it.
I was shown to my spot and introductions were made. Two ushers, one a peculiar stranger, uncomfortably friendly. The other one, the quiet one, with dark hair and dark eyes holding a hint of familiarity, although we had never met before that day.
After the wedding I made small talk with my childhood friend and chatted with my former classmates and searched out the gaze of his dark eyes. I barely knew his name but when our eyes would meet again and again, I knew him.
At home, my father glanced at the wedding program and asked me if I'd met him. My father knew him? Yes, he'd coached my little sister in the BB gun league and she also knew him. My heart sped.
Soon after, I talked with a close friend and I told her I had met the man I was going to love. The man I was going to marry. I knew it when I looked into his familiar eyes again and again that wedding day.
Spring came, followed quickly and slowly by summer. On vacation with my family in July, the short walk to the beach took me right by the fire station. I knew he was a volunteer fireman, I knew he designed firetrucks for his job, and I knew little else. I had not seen him and I'd thought of him every day since that day in January. I knew with absolute certainty that one of two things was true. I was either going to marry that elusive, dark-eyed, almost stranger, or I was losing my mind. I hoped and prayed it was the former; I was afraid it was the latter.
As summer was coming to a close I found myself still working at the restaurant and still thinking of him. One evening as I sliced pies and tossed salads, I thought about my life. I was tired of waiting around for what may never be. I decided then and there that I was done pining for my non-existent boyfriend. If he ever showed up, well that would be fantastic, but in the meantime I intended to enjoy this freedom that comes with independence while it lasted. I stayed long after my shift ended talking with my work-mom, all the while completely oblivious to the end of my freedom and the beginning of my future.
Eventually my boss turned the corner and told me I had a phone call. It was my father inquiring as to when I would be home. He went on to say someone had called for me and would soon be calling back. That I should hurry home. That I would not want to miss his call a second time.
I didn't miss his call and I wasn't losing my mind. In September we'll be married 15 years and this past month marked 19 years since I first looked into his familiar dark eyes. Half my life with the one who feels like home.
Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart.