Once upon a time, a girl worked at a local supermarket while in her freshman year of college.
One day she decided to come into work early to buy lunch before starting her shift as a cashier. While at the salad bar, she noticed that a new guy with light brown hair and an aquiline nose was manning the station. She struck up a conversation for a few minutes and walked away.
|February 16, 2006|
"Hey, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you saying 'hello' to me the other day. That was really nice of you, and I just wanted to say thanks and Happy Valentines' Day."
Fumbling with the cash to pay for his gum with one hand, he handed the girl a single red rose and a red enveloped card. The next few minutes following the young man's exit from the store found the girl blushing at the lighthearted remarks of approval from the customers in line behind the young man as they checked out with their items.
Later that week, the girl and the young man went on a dinner and bowling date. It was the girl's first official date, ever, and she was charmed by the young man's Southern gentleman ways. They talked about their lives and their plans. She was determined to transfer to the University of Virginia to study English, and he was leaving the next week to go through the Marine Corps boot camp. Despite their divergent paths, the evening passed quickly with no lack of things to talk about.
|From the friend's wedding (May 28, 2006)|
That May, the young man was the first person she brought home to meet the family. He met a warm welcome. That is, her father made sure to ask very probing questions to determine his character and intentions towards his daughter. She hid behind the door of the basement steps to eavesdrop until she was so mortified by the questions that she scurried away, convinced the young man would not want anything to do with her ever again.
But he did. And the next week they attended his friend's wedding where he asked her to be his girlfriend. She accepted, and despite his departure for more training out of state, they maintained a limited long-distance relationship through letters and phone calls. But by the end of summer, she called it off - intimidated by their age difference, the distance, and in general, unsure of what she was looking for.
But she just didn't want to settle down yet. Family illnesses and mishaps in schedules prevented any more meetings that summer before she returned to college in the fall, and he went on a second deployment. They continued to send messages through Facebook and exchanged handwritten letters, delayed a few weeks as they traveled halfway across the world with their recaps of the day and attempts to carry on earnest conversations in spite of the distance.
One day she finally got the call. He was back in the states! And he would be home that weekend before taking his post-deployment leave in Europe. She canceled her plans, switched out her work shifts, and drove to Richmond to see him. His friends welcomed her, his sister smiled knowingly at her, and by the end of the night, they were an item.
The next day he met her at the river and told her he loved her, that he had waited on her all those years. She knew some would say that it was happening too fast, but she finally knew what God had known all along: that the first "real" relationship of her life, the first guy she brought home, the first one to treat her and her family with respect, and the one who proved his commitment by waiting through her changeability and uncertainties, was the one person with whom she'd spent the rest of her life. She loved him, too.
|The 1st Valentine's Day Card|
We've traveled to several states, a handful of countries, and countless cities together, but my favorite journey still continues. Whether exploring our backyard or somewhere new, home is wherever I'm with him, and the journey gets sweeter by the day.