8 years and one week ago…
When I was 19 at NYU, I walked into my favorite bar (Finnerty’s, RIP) and spotted a cute boy across the room. The story goes something like this…
I thought we were making eyes at each other. Apparently, we weren’t. But I sent my friend, Becca, over to him and instructed her to tell the boy I thought he was cute. (Liquid courage. I had nothing to lose.) Becca and the boy realized they knew each other from class. Eventually they called me over, and I introduced myself.
"Hi, I’m Michelle." "Hi, I’m Justin." And so it went.
It sounds cliche, but I knew then. He says he knew, too. I won’t say love at first sight, but I will say it was something. Something big. Something that made me think, Oh, okay then.
We hung out all night. Two of his friends made out with two of my friends. But he didn’t kiss me when he asked for my number at the end of the night. I was mad, but I still had hope. Imagine my surprise when he didn’t call. A week went by. (I had actually met a different, totally lame boy the night before who I was NOT into, but he DID call. Men!) And then just when I was starting to put him out of my mind, my phone rang. He apologized for not calling me earlier. He explained that he was on the NYU hockey team and had gotten hurt in their last game. He had been in the hospital. Fine, valid.
And then he said, “Do you have plans on Saturday Night? I’d like to take you to dinner.”
And I paused. And then I said, “You mean, Valentine’s Day?”
He paused and said, “Uh, yes?” If this were his blog, he’d chime in here and say that of course he knew it was Valentine’s Day. I call bullshit. It was a ballsy move.
But it was a good move. We had a romantic dinner at I Coppi in the East Village. And we’ve been pretty much inseparable (almost) ever since.
Like any great love story, ours has been complicated and complex and passionate. In the beginning, there were hockey games and sorority formals. Long distance phone calls over the summer. Trains up the Hudson River to his hometown. Transatlantic flights to visit me while I studied abroad. Then we transitioned from “college sweethearts” to young professionals (sorta). There were new coworkers to meet. Weddings (seven and counting) to attend. A business was started and sold. Some dreams came true with a career in TV. A serious family illness and eventual death to mourn. Family vacations to Maine and Arizona. Secret trips to Miami and Amsterdam. A new puppy came to live with us. And then a cross country move when he got into law school in San Diego.
And then things fell apart for a bit. After 6 years, we just weren’t us anymore. Simply put, things were just off. So we took some time. I moved home to LA and convinced my best friend to move out from Boston. And it got really, really hard. Too hard. We didn’t talk. For the first time since the day we met, we were not a part of each others’ lives.
And then some time at the end of last summer, things just kind of happened, as they often do in life. The pieces fit again. It hasn’t been perfect, and honestly, if it was, I would doubt it. It’s been trying. There have been tears. But also, lots of smiles. Lot and lots of smiles.
And so here we are. Eight years later today, on the anniversary of our first date. And things are really good again. I can (and often do) look at him and think, we’ve been through a lot, and I still love you. It’s not a perfect story, but it’s our story, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy (old and new) Anniversary HS.
This is the oldest digital picture I could find of us. It’s from 2005. Apparently, our love pre-dates digital cameras and facebook albums. Yikes! Here’s to growing even older together.
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- ashleymarie317 said: i love your story. i also met my now-husband, at a bar, when we were 19. we dated for 4 years, broke up, moved away, got back together. somehow the universe knows, and it all works out. and a french bulldog helps too.
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- 808enidan said: Very awesome story! Glad it worked out in the end :)
- colormecozy said: so cute, happy valentine’s day! xo
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