Today begins our week-long 5 year anniversary celebration. My husband Chris has graciously agreed to share his side of the story too…its as much his as it is mine. I hope you enjoy a peek into the day we met and what started it all.
I guess some background is in order. I had only lived in Washington for about a year when I met Shaina. I had spent the 18 years previously in Massachusetts. All my friends that were my own age were married. All their younger siblings were married or engaged. I found myself lost, kind of chasing my own tail in a way. My parents moved out to Washington a full two years before I followed suite. They came out to be near their grand daughter. They had planted the bug in me to move out and I finally woke up to the fact I was going nowhere, not on any level. I was secularly, emotionally and spiritually stuck in neutral. The engine was revving hard, but the only result was smoke! When it came to love I had only ever been in one relationship. I had ended that before I hurt her. I realized I was far too immature at the time to handle her specific needs. Other than that, I had been pretty well emotionally mutilated. I won’t go into detail because this post is not about that. Suffice it to say I was jaded; was the kind of guy who hated going to weddings, because I thought it would never happen to me. Any hope I had of finding love was long gone.
I moved out to Wenatchee Washington and started making friends, playing music, having fun again. And slowly during that first year, I started to open my mind to the possibility of finding love. My heart was still very guarded though. I found myself attracted to a gal who really was a great person, but like all great women, wasn’t really interested in me. On the upside, she wasn’t interested in anyone. At least, not romantically. So I was licking my wounds yet again. I was very fragile in that respect…I had been hurt too often, and too deep to deal with rejection very well. Ah, the things we don’t see in the moment.
It was Memorial Day weekend, and a friend invited me up to a gathering in Brewster Washington. A whole slew of people I knew were there and a whole lot more I didn’t know. We were up there the entire weekend. One evening a big group of us went to the movies to see X-Men 3. It was there that a met Shaina. Being that it was a science-fiction movie, we spent the better part of an hour and a half tearing the movie apart outside the theater. The jokes were flying freely, and I distinctly remember Shaina, because of her laugh! It was pure, boisterous, but free and pure! My next thought was this: she looked young. I wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t that young. As it turns out I pinged pretty big on her radar too.
If we fast forward to the next weekend, it also turns out that Shaina was really interested, because she started asking about me from her other cousin, who is married to my friend Caleb, who is the one who invited me up for the weekend in the first place. The interest was mutual for sure, but I thought she was jailbait. I hadn’t learned that she was of age. I’ll never forget the afternoon her cousin asked me to come across the street and visit for a bit. Her words to me were: “If you don’t screw it up, you’ve got it made.” She sure was right.
A lot of stories start off the same: “It was just a normal day and…” But this story doesn’t start that way. The day I met Chris wasn’t a normal day. It was a big day for my family. My parents had just bought a new house and it was move-in day. We’d worked hard painting and pulling carpet tacks and unloading boxes all day. And then my cousin Jennifer called. She’d had a major crush on this guy named Nate for awhile now, and he was coming to town with a group of friends and they were going to see X-Men 3 at the theater that night. She wanted to go so bad, and wanted me to come and see what I thought of Nate; see if there was any chemistry between them. I needed a break from the day and didn’t want to disappoint her. So I went too. With just barely enough time to change and paint still in my hair we headed to the theater. We got there late and didn’t find our group of friends till after the movie. But that was okay…we ended up all standing around outside the theater for a couple hours once the movie let out just talking, and laughing (and okay, bashing the movie a bit). The group included Nate, obviously, my other cousin Hannah and her husband, some friends from out of town and a couple other people I’d never met before; one guy named Chris. After chatting for awhile, I knew I had to get back home and sleep to get ready for another long day working on the house, so we headed out. We got in the car and eagerly Jennifer turned to me and asked: “So what did you think?” And I replied: “That Chris guy was pretty cool.”
And that’s how it started. Jen and I of course talked about Nate too (they are both married to other people now, coincidently) but I just couldn’t get that guy named Chris out of my mind. He’d made me laugh and I remembered his warm hug when we were saying goodbye. So a few days later I called Hannah (my cousin that lived in the same town as him and was his neighbor) to ask a little bit about him. She said he’d been asking about me too, which made me smile like crazy. That night I wrote my very first, of many, poems about him:
“He said he liked your laugh”
(all I remember about that night is laughing)
“He said he thought you looked cute”
(must have been clean jeans and diamond earrings)
“He said he thought you seemed nice”
“I thought he seemed nice too”
And we both smile.
A couple weeks later after hanging out with him another time at Hannah’s house, I knew there was something special about this guy. I wanted to tell my mum all about him…and that had never happened before.