My, my, my, this weekend was an eventful one. You may have seen the news but in case you haven't, we're getting married! It's been a whirlwind but I'm so excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.
Our story is unique because I've known Brenden for over eleven years. We met when I was twelve years old. (Goodness it's a bit uncomfortable to see that in writing.) He came to my church youth group one October night and I thought that he was the strangest human being I'd ever seen. At the time, I was a dorky homeschooler with scrawny arms, round glasses, and lots of graphic tees. He was gloomy and had this air of angst about him, like a raven-haired adolescent Kurt Cobain. He may or may not have been wearing an Incubus shirt. Though intrigued, I was "too cool" to be bothered by him. It didn't stay that way for long, however. A few months after meeting him for the first time, a friend said to me, (once again, super weird considering I was not even old enough to see a PG-13 movie) "I think that Brandon kid has a crush on you." Yes. Brandon. Not even his name. Insignificant detail. The seed was planted. I remember one particular evening when everybody had left except for a few of us, Brenden included. It was one of those "well, I need my mom to drive me home but she's talking to your mom so I guess we can all hang out" situations. We got into a "Skittle Fight," which is exactly what it sounds like. We started throwing Skittles at each other for no other reason besides being dumb, bored kids. The way he threw the small, circular candies at me was so different than the way he threw them at my friends. For me, it was almost playfully. For the other girls, he threw like a teen boy who still had a lot to learn about the female mystique. For barely-pubescent me, that was all the affirmation I needed and much to my eternal embarrassment, our long, complicated love story began in a hail of Skittles. He was, after all, so dark and handsome. As a lovelorn preteen with a rebel heart, that was perfect. I just had to get to know him better because he seemed genuinely interested in knowing me as well. Looking at it now as a much more mature woman, this seems like the element of love that we often overlook: our desire to know and to be known.
In the spirit of a Rachel-and-Ross-esque "WE WERE ON A BREAK" debate that rages on to this day, it's still somewhat unclear who exactly broke up with whom and how the deed was done. From my point of view, he text-message broke up with me when I was 17. In fact, it was right before my senior prom. (If you're reading this right now B, I'm not sure that I've ever fully gotten over that one.) Luckily, I was in a band and I was able to write woebegone songs about him. That helped a lot. Music became my main form of expression because songwriting has mystical healing abilities. After tears, sweat, and the ocean, it is most definitely nature's remedy for whatever ails ya. Even when I was "over" him, I always had this dull ache and this yearning for him deep in my heart. It was like I knew we were supposed to be together. I was missing an extremely vital piece of my being. I was waiting. I had other relationships. They were great and I was happy but in the end, I had to find myself because what I was really looking for was affirmation, company, and a new best friend because mine was gone. At one point, B moved to Arizona while I stayed in Jersey. I was crushed at the prospect of never seeing him again. It was five long years that we were apart. We'd talk occasionally, sharing coffee every few months before falling off each other's grid once again. One of those times we met for drinks, we made a date to meet the next week. And the week after that. And then again. One of those times, we shared a second first kiss that was everything I had ever dreamed that it would have been. Once again, I needed to know him and to be known by him.
We have this sort of twin telepathy thing. I guess that's what happens when you've known someone for (almost) half of your life? Sometimes I think that our friends or irrelevant onlookers may catch us making intense eye contact with each other and be freaked out by it. Really, we're just communicating non-verbally. Usually we're making fun of somebody or exchanging an inside joke. We also have a tendency to speak to each other in movie and TV quotes. We have similar taste in those things so it's nice to say something like "FINE, I'll Dust Buster!" and not only get a response other than a confused "what?" but also another quote (often times completely unrelated) in return. We've had entire conversations like that. It's dope. Speaking of which, I've been noticing myself using "his words" more and more. It's super (again!) interesting. He's my best friend and I could never imagine sharing my dreams, my hopes, my fears, my anxieties, or my ugly morning face with anybody else.
His smile will forever be one of my favorite things in the whole entire universe. When he smiles, his entire face lights up. I love the sound of his voice; he has this way of talking to me that I know is "just for me." I love the seemingly infinite amount of semi-useless information that he's been able to amass during his relatively short time on this earth. He always enlightens me. He knows how to show me love in ways I would never expect. I whine and complain to him a lot and I will never forget one time when his response to my griping was a simple and curt "that's life." As the anger welled up inside of me, it slowly began to subside as I came to the realization that this is what it means to know and to be known. He refused to patronize me because he knew that I was looking for affirmation. If that's not true love, I don't know what is.
Yes I'm excited to plan a wedding but more than that, I am overjoyed for marriage. I love that it means "goodnight" will be a kiss on the cheek as we turn off the light and tuck ourselves into bed instead of a text message. I'm excited for morning breath, grocery store trips, and fighting over which music to listen to in the car. He gives even the most monotonous moment in my life new meaning. Being with him makes me happy and when I am with him, I'm not anxious for the future. I can't wait to do life with the one who makes my heart sing.