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How Did We Meet? I'm Not Exactly Sure...

Written by  acertainglow
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I have a confession to make: I don’t actually remember meeting him.

My memory works in strange ways. There are chunks of my life from which I have very few concrete memories, but there are moments I remember with absolute clarity. The place, the smells, the music - I can pull it all back into my mind and re-live it any time I want.

Maybe it works this way for everyone. All I know is that the moments I’ve remembered perfectly over the years have usually turned out to be important ones.

So it’s okay that I don’t remember meeting him, because I remember plenty of other things.

I remember the first time I saw him - I remember that I could feel him looking at me before I glanced over and saw him, standing behind the sales counter of the little Freeport shop where we both worked. I was home from college on Christmas break, visiting my summer-job co-workers, walking through the shop like I owned it.

Then I felt it: the uncanny sense that someone was watching.

I was headed towards the back of the store, where a well-worn set of narrow wooden stairs twisted and turned down to the stone basement of the store, a cool, cavernous expanse that held the office and stock rooms, a basement where I’d spent many hours filling my arms with tee shirts to restock the sales floor.

When I felt it, I didn’t stop walking towards those stairs, but I looked right.

He was standing behind the counter, looking at me like he owned the place. He looked like the kind of guy I would have a secret crush on yet never be brave enough to approach. He looked a little dangerous. Angular face, stoic expression, wild hair. I couldn’t tell if it was dreadlocked at the time - if not, it was well on its way. By the time I met him it would be, to me, one of his most defining features.

As quickly as I looked over and saw him, I looked away, instantly feeling vulnerable and flustered. All I knew at the time was that I’d most likely end up working with this person during the coming summer. And some time that summer, we met.

“Is that the guy with the hair?” I remember asking Suzanne, the manager, when she told me I’d be working with Matt the next day. She laughed. Yes, that was him. The guy with the hair and the plugs in his earlobes and the labret piercing and the confidence that made him seem bigger than he actually was, the guy who didn’t smile incessantly and needlessly like I did, the guy who both intrigued and intimidated me that first summer, the guy who I soon discovered grew up just minutes down the road from me and even camped on the same lake I did as a child, right across the water.

I remember the first time I realized we were becoming friends.

We were both downstairs in the stockroom, me unpacking a shipment of inventory and he packing up phone orders to be shipped. His last relationship had recently ended and we talked as we worked, about what had happened and how he felt and relationships in general, and then he stopped what he was doing, packing tape in hand, and looked at me. A look I now know as well as my own face.

“You’re the first person I’ve really talked to about that,” he said, and then he went back to work, while something in my chest swelled and I smiled, realizing that something was blossoming there. A real friendship, however new it was, and however surprised I was that someone like him would even talk to someone like me.

I remember the way my insides always fluttered when I knew we would be working together, and the way I hesitated when I told him I was engaged. I remember high-fiving him when I found out that the period I missed during that engagement wasn’t due to pregnancy, just stress. I remember watching his truck pull up outside the church at my wedding and scanning the crowd in the chapel to find him sitting beside his girlfriend, the woman he would later marry and have a son with. I remember him asking me, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” when I cried that getting divorced wasn’t the right thing to do, wasn’t how I was raised. And I remember finding out that he, too, was getting divorced.

I remember trying, and failing, time and time again, to stop thinking about him, and I remember exactly what he said in the email he sent when he realized he couldn’t stop thinking about me, either.

I remember the first time he told me he loved me, those eyes I’d felt watching me so many years ago looking deep into mine.

So I think it’s okay that I don’t remember the very moment we met, and that he probably doesn’t remember the same moments of our friendship that I do. It doesn’t matter the long and strange path it took to get where we are today. It only matters that we did meet, and that we got here.

{more of our story can be found here!}

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 10:50


0 # Linds 2012-04-04 16:21
Awe, I love this!
Congratulations :)
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