Below is the final chapter in the tale of how I met my husband. Thanks for reading:)
Here are the previous chapters, in case you missed them:
The drive back to Chicago was a bitter, cold assent back into reality. What a fool I was for even dabbling in the possibility that a romance spanning the vertical distance of the United States would be possible. Had I imagined his interest in me? Surely, I must have. He made no attempt to further our engagement. Perhaps he was more of a Frank Churchill, flirtatious yet impervious with no regard to the concept of stringing along my fragile heart. I’d wrongly painted him as a larger-lipped Mr. Knightly. How true it is that “vanity working on a weak mind produces every kind of mischief.”
Friends, I could Jane Austen the situation into oblivion, you understand, so I will just stop there. But it will suffice to say that I would never see Lips Loveless again. I was dashed upon the rocks of heartbreak once more. (Do you sense my flair for the dramatic? 😉
We arrived home Saturday evening and I curled up on the couch at my mother’s house. She inquired about my trip and I told her, through tears, about this seemingly remarkable boy I’d met. After a good consoling, I dragged myself up off the couch to briefly check my neglected email and head to bed.
It took forever to log in, blasted slow-speed Internet. I was waiting for my mid-term grades and expected some end of semester correspondence with a professor. But then, in an instant, there it was: an email from Joe.
He said he’d gotten my email address from Josh (duh!) and wanted to know if he could have my phone number so we could continue our conversation.
I died. Literally, I lost it right there in my living room. I starting screaming and jumping up and down and generally freaking out in a manner quite unbecoming but I didn’t care. The story wasn’t finished yet. It was absurd and so unlikely but STILL, somehow our tale would continue.
I emailed him back that night and gave him my number.
I waited four agonizing days for him to call. It was basically a week. On the fourth day I called Josh because I had a very real (made up) and important (insignificant) question regarding something very urgent (trivial). At the end of our conversation, I casually brought up the fact that his brother hadn’t called and I was wondering if he was the type that meets girls on Spring Break all the time. Josh assured me he wasn’t that kind of guy and would get to the bottom of it.
Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang and it was Joe. Apparently, he was trying to play it cool.
We talked for over an hour. And then, the next day, we talked again. And the following day, we talked again. And soon, Joe made plans to come to Chicago to “visit his brother and sister-in-law.”
It was on that visit that we had our first official date.
We went downtown Chicago to see Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre. Our seats were on the second level, stage left with our backs against the brick wall about mid-way to the back of the house. We had to turn our heads in order to see the show and I could feel Joe watching me through out the evening. Every once in a while, I’d turn my head and catch his eyes and he’d look at me with an unhurried gaze that would completely demolish most of my functioning capabilities (like breathing).
After the show, we went to the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building and sat in The Signature Room Lounge. We snagged a cozy spot in the back with a wall of glass to our right overlooking the Chicago skyline. There was a candle at our table radiating a red glow and I could feel my cheeks matching its color because Joe was still staring at me with that look. I was completely a goner.
We made plans for me to visit Orlando again at the end of May for Joe’s 20th birthday and again at the end of June for his brother, Jon’s wedding. In between each of these visits were hours of talking on the phone. We called every day, sometimes twice a day. In many ways, the distance between us accelerated our relationship. All we could do was talk, hours and hours of asking better and deeper questions of one another. We saw each other once a month on average and waited in anticipation after each goodbye.
We dated long distance for 10 months. Then, on Christmas Day, 2004, I packed up everything I owned in my white Nissan Altima and moved to Orlando. I just wanted to be near him and I knew I loved him. I loved him the moment I saw him staring back at me from that photograph.
On June 9, 2006, in Orlando, FL in the presence of God and our family and friends, I became his wife, Mrs. Lips Loveless.
There are many, many more stories to tell about our 10 months of long distance or the year and a half we finally lived in the same city. There are stories for days about our wedding (Joe wanted a shwedding – part show, part wedding!) and how we started our family. But this is a blog not a book and I promised this would only be a five-part series.
I write in this space so that I can keep telling our stories. So, I will do that. I’m thankful for those of you who have read this far. The joy of telling a story is having someone who will listen. I count you as friends.
Blessings to you and yours,