I thought I would take this beautiful Tuesday to share with all of you the story of how Eric and I met. It's far from finished, but I'm in a mood today. Bear with me.
Early 2011. Life was a mess. I've always been a hopeless romantic, a believer in true love and forevers, fairytales and soulmates. But by early spring, I was done. I felt so defeated. The past year I had spent countless times trying to make it work with someone else, trying to figure out what I really wanted. But college can really put a damper on your little girl dreams sometimes. I went home for the summer with an I-don't-care-about-anything attitude and the mindset that maybe it didn't exist--true love (or at least, the way I'd dreamed of). That maybe it didn't matter as much as I had always thought. I swore myself off of relationships and love and decided to stop looking completely.
Ha. Nice try, Kristyn. A month into the summer, an old friend from high school invited me to a small party at her then-boyfriend's apartment, which he shared with two others guys. The first weekend she asked, I declined. I felt it would be awkward or boring and I'd just gotten home; I'd missed my family a lot the past year. But the following weekend, she was at it again, asking me to please come, it would be fun, why not. I told her no again, but as the evening approached, I changed my mind and called her back.
That was the best decision I'd ever made.
I walked in and Eric was there and we made eye contact (funny, I later found out he had tryouts that day for a professional D.C. Frisbee team but tore his ACL and couldn't go--fate?). I remember thinking to myself, "wow, he is just the kind of guy I would like to end up with." Not that I knew him at all. I guess my subconscious already knew. But we playfully bantered back and forth all night, until everyone left. It was just the two of us up. He looked at me and asked if I'd like to sleep in his room, since there wasn't really anywhere else to sleep. I started feeling really shy and nervous--should I trust him? Would it be okay? I'd heard this before, but this felt different. He was being a gentleman; he wasn't asking for anything. Eric promised to put pillows between us, and when he smiled at me, the corners of his eyes crinkled up and I saw welcoming kindness. Openness.
We stayed up until 5am, just talking in the dark. Me on one side of the bed, he on the other, separated by those blankets and pillows and quiet darkness. But I had never felt closer to someone....we talked about all of the things you would expect, but most importantly, we talked about what we believed in. We talked about our hearts. The deepest parts of ourselves, bearing them to each other like we were best friends. At one point I asked him, "what's your goal in life? What do you hope for most?" He talked about happiness as being the most important thing in life, and that the only way to find that happiness was to find balance. It was that word that did it. I nearly cried I was so in awe. I had been working so hard the past few years to find balance, and although I wasn't (and still am not) nearly close, I figured out awhile ago it was the key to being happy. Not perfection or money or anything like that. Just a balance.
I went home the next day and immediately tried to forget about him. I even wrote in my journal, "I told myself I wouldn't do this. I won't let it happen, I promise." Fat chance. Just when I had stopped looking. Bam. God went and gave me Eric.
I was so, so afraid to let him in. The first few months, I was so salty and sarcastic towards him, trying to hold that wall up in case he changed his mind. But Eric saw through all of that and saw my heart, just like he had that first night. I had changed so much over the course of the past year; many of the changes were for the worse. But meeting Eric changed all of that. That summer, I began to see myself again. I began to ask myself what I really wanted and who I really was, without the pressure of those around me.
On August 2nd, Eric told me he loved me. It had barely been two months, what, was he crazy? Maybe we both were. I'm not exactly sure what that summer did to both of us, but we learned to be open and hopeful and a little daring. After spending the past year continuing to grow and learn in our love, Eric made the decision to take a job in Tampa and I decided to transfer to my dream school, which I had given up out of fear a few years ago. A lot of people think we did this on purpose, but I think it's just fate. Together, we had the courage to chase after new adventures and take chances.
So when someone says, "You really think you'll stay together?" My answer is solidly, completely, entirely and utterly yes. How could there be any other way? Eric came into my life just when I needed it. He treats me with respect, as his equal, and he is patient and kind. He is that and so much more. Lasting love takes work and I know we will continue to build upon our foundation as the years pass. I can't wait for more of our adventures, more chapters in our book. It's just starting, this journey we've committed to take together. It's a pretty amazing one.