This Is Not a Love Story

This Is Not a Love Story--The Beginning

This isn't a love-at-first-sight story, no. It's just a story about a girl who stole my heart.

The day I first saw her was just like any other day--I got up, got dressed, gathered the necessary paraphernalia, and set off for class. It was just another ordinary late-summer day spent half in--half out of various drab and dreary college classrooms, listening to professors and classmates discuss various topics. I can't even remember what they were. In fact, the only thing I remember clearly about that day at all is her.

Nothing extraordinary happened. There were no fireworks, no visible sparks, no fanfare--none at all. I don't remember exactly what was said--it's not really all that important. What matters the most is what happened next. For a while, I only saw her a few times a week, maybe less. Sometimes I'd see her from afar and wonder what was keeping her so busy, but I never asked. As a matter of fact, our conversations were limited to my (apparently faulty) attempts at flirting and a few spare words here and there for weeks. It was quite obvious she had no idea that I liked her--but at least she knew I existed.

I couldn't pin-point one thing that drew me to her. Maybe it was something in her eyes. They're beautiful on their own--pools of hazel-gold fringed by the sort of naturally long, dark lashes that make other girls jealous. Maybe it was her laughter--she's always got a joke or a smile to share. Maybe it was the way she carries herself. Maybe it wasn't any of these things, or maybe it was all of them. Perhaps something within me recognized a kindred soul, a person with whom I shared just enough in common to make conversation, but not enough that the conversation would get boring and lag after five minutes.

One semi-nice afternoon, I recall overhearing conversations between this girl, her then-girlfriend, and her mother (about said girlfriend, of course). It seemed they were in the midst of breaking up, so I backed off. Oh, I was still interested, but until then, I hadn't realized she was seeing someone, much less that this someone lived with her at the time (so much for paying attention). So I went on about my business, thinking about what my next step should be. With some consideration, I decided to be friendly, but not overly so, and see what happened. As it turns out, we ended up having quite a few conversations about...well, nothing, really. Jokes were told and there were laughs, which led to...more jokes and laughter. I couldn't figure it, or her, out.

My patience began to wear thin. I began to flirt more openly, going so far as to ask her where she was taking me for our dinner date, which had yet to be made. I guess that wasn't bold enough (she says she thought I was playing around). I tried everything, even being blatantly flirtatious in front of our mutual acquaintances on campus. It was really my only option, as that was the only place I ever saw her. Two months after I (sort-of) asked her to go out someplace with me, we got around to having lunch together. Like everything else with us, it wasn't anything miraculous--just good, simple food and conversation. She made a rose out of a paper napkin as we sat and talked, and then gave it to me.

Shortly after that, we started hanging out more often, texting, and talking on the phone. We compared (and laughed at) our profiles on a dating site we both used. We watched movies, listened to hours of music, talked, drank wine, and of course, we laughed. She played the guitar, we sang. She and her friends invited me to tag along to small bar to hang out. I found myself suddenly welcomed into her home, her circle of friends, her life.

At some point during all this, I fell in love with her. It was obvious--I can't be anything but. I'd written her love letters (they're one of the hazards of becoming romantically involved with a writer) and poems, few of with ever saw the light of day. A few were just the right mix of hopeless romanticism and sappiness with just a hint of humor, so I posted them to a social networking site we both use, the point being for her to see them, hopefully when I wasn't around--and she did. It was one of these poems, in which I rather bluntly tell the audience (rather, her) that I wanted an opportunity to prove myself different from her prior relationships, a chance, at the very least, make an attempt at a relationship with her.

For a few days, I thought it was too much, too soon...or maybe she hadn't seen it. I contemplated deleting the post in hopes that she hadn't--but then it came up in conversation. Initially, all she said was that she'd read it. No comments, no criticisms--and nothing changed. We still hung out, laughed, and talked as if I hadn't just laid my heart out on the cutting board for her.

I remember the night she asked me the question that made us "official" like it was yesterday, but it wasn't. We'd stayed up late, as usual, since she works the late shift and I'm a night owl. I'd managed to stay awake through an entire movie (Hercules, the Disney flick--yes, we watch cartoons together, all the time) cuddled up with her on the couch, and in the darkness that followed the feature, we ended up kissing. A lot. At some point she leaned in close to me and whispered in my ear, "You still want that chance?" All I could do was nod in agreement. Of course, I wasn't prepared for it, but I knew it was coming, if that makes sense. It's love I'm talking about here--it doesn't always have to jump right out and say what it means. Not its job.

That was December 2, 2009. Depending on what day it is when you're reading this, it's possible that we've been together for a year, or two, or ten. See, I have no intention of letting her slip away. It's one of the conditions of my "chance"--I promised to fight for her if I had to, and that's what I intend to do, even if the person I end up having to fight is myself. And just in case you're wondering, I still have that paper rose...and a real one or two she's given me since, all preserved and displayed, so I don't forget who has my heart.

That was then...this is now... (Six Months Later)

It's been an amazing ride thus far. We're now living together, happily. Actually, we haven't spent more than two or three nights apart in our entire relationship. We just don't want to. (Sappy and sweet, I know, but it's true.)

We've made a home for ourselves. Her things and mine co-mingle harmoniously (well, except for when her cat knocks everything over, but we're working on that...) and we're quite pleased with it. Her mother, thankfully, saw fit to come in and help overhaul our previously disorganized arrangements, and it looks and feels fantastic. Most of the furniture is mine from my old place--but we're slowly integrating things we choose together. Start small, that's our motto. So far we've brought home a new set of glasses, silverware, and a lovely wood and glass entertainment cabinent (okay, that was a surprise birthday present, but I love it).

Even my boys love her. (And not just because she likes to play video games as much as they do, swear.)

Things couldn't be better...or could they?