Tuesday, February 20, 2007
A Love Story
I was going t write all this down around N and my wedding anniversary in December, but I completely forgot - everything was so hectic around Boy's birthday. Since it was recently Valentine's Day and inspired by Ann's Turn Back the Clock Tuesdays I thought I'd tell you about how N and I met and got married. Plus, I've been reconnecting with old friends from high school who might not know the story. Everyone sitting comfortably? Good, then I'll begin...
I was 16 years old, and in a bad way. My relationship with my family was getting me down, I was hurting and lonely. I didn't feel like I could talk to my friends from school, so I'd turned to the Internet and had been a regular in chatrooms since before I was 14. It was quite freeing talking to strangers, letting out everything that was bothering me. I was also not doing well in school. At the time, I believe I was in my third year of high school, but I'd been told that because of my poor grades, I was still only considered a sophomore. I'd been lying to my father about my grades, and he still thought I was pulling in As and Bs. When I met N, I was strung out on another (older) guy who I'd met in a chatroom who I thought I 'loved' and was about to tell my father that I'd failed the last year of school.
From what N told me afterwards, apparently he'd tried to talk to me a few times before we actually did talk and I'd ignored him. But that day (it was the 4th of December 1998) when I finally did respond, we talked for hours. I don't remember everything we said, or even what topics we'd covered that day, but what I do remember is how EASY it was for me to talk to him. First he made me smile, and then he made me laugh. Later that day, he emailed me and I just thought he was incredibly sweet. We talked a few more times, but then it was Christmas break and as we normally did, my family went down to California to see my aunt and uncle and their family. I didn't think to tell N, it didn't seem that important but when I got back he'd sent me a few emails saying he was worried about me. I knew then he'd always be a part of my life, and a good friend.
After a few months, we started talking on the phone. That was so incredibly weird and strange and wonderful. I was so nervous. But again, we talked for hours and hours (though at first, I could only understand every other word he said because of his English accent and different phrases for things). We got into a routine where I'd get home from work (by the time, I'd dropped out of highschool, got my GED and had started taking classes at a local community college and working parttime at a horrible fast food restaurant) and call N collect. When the operator asked if he'd like to accept a collect call from 'Michelle' he always said 'no' (poor guy, he got a lot of grief for that from some operators!) and then he'd call me back. He always paid for the phone calls, and ended up with the most ridiculous phone bills! We'd talk for hours about god knows what... but I was still thinking he was just my best friend and not anything more .. serious.
And the thing was, he did think it was leading somewhere else. I know it sounds absurd now, but I didn't think I'd ever get married. I was too afraid to let someone else into my heart because of the pain I'd suffered with my parents. I was determined that I was unloveable. I treated N terribly, taking him for granted, testing him almost. And he stuck with me. It was my 17th birthday (in July, 7 months after I'd first spoken to him) when I finally realised and admitted that actually, I did love N. I think we were both surprised.
He started making plans. He was coming to visit. That December. It was so nerve-wracking. What if he was completely different than how he'd been on the Internet and the phone with me? What if he was disappointed in me? So many things could go wrong. I wasn't at all worried about safety, and met him at his hotel room. I knew as soon as I saw him, bouncing around, a nervous wreck that things would be wonderful.
That first day, we went to Borders and wandered about, before I had to leave for work. I'd not been to that branch of Borders before and got lost amongst the books. N thought I was avoiding him, but that's just how I am in bookstores! We spent the next three weeks hanging out, getting to know each other, watching movies, going to the 5th Street Market. I had such a great time.
He came back that March for another week (for us to talk about some problems we were having) but by the end of the week, things were OK again. He planned to visit again in the summer. Once, when we were talking on the Internet after he'd left again, he'd mentioned a friend of his, who'd gotten married to the guy she'd met on the Internet. I think he was trying to just bring up the subject of marriage, but I took it one step further, and asked him to marry me. And not in a very romantic way or anything, but I knew it was what I wanted.
He came again in July of 2000. We planned on a huge whirlwind trip. He was going to fly into Eugene, Oregon, we were then going to fly to Los Angeles together to visit the British High Commission to get me a visa to move to England. Then we were going to fly to Seattle and finally, I was going to fly back to England with him. It was a huge deal. I didn't look back.
The terms of my visa were that N and I would get married within 6 months of the visa, and that during that time I wouldn't be able to work. Because we'd met in December, both on the Internet and in person, we agreed on the 2nd of December as the date for our wedding. I moved to England on the 6th of August, it was less than 4 months to plan everything. I'll have to tell you about the great things about our wedding some other time (not to mention the way N officially proposed to me if I haven't already told you that one!), but I did have one of my closest friends Diane there with me to see me married and also my father.
Six years later, here we are. N doesn't want his picture up, but I leave you with a photo of me at my wedding reception (you can't see the other wedding photos, I was so fat) but you can see how happy I was.