Some of you will recognize the following story — I penned it just months after 26PM and i were married in 2008, and published it on my old blog (Remember Xanga? That’s how we all rolled back in the day, ha ha!)
Anyway, I rediscovered these words again today, and realized that I never shared our love story on this blog.
So, here it is. The story of a love that spanned the distance between the Atlantic and Pacific. The story of two people who could not remain apart. The story of our lives.
once upon a time, he saw her. after church, playing football in the grass. she was barefoot. this is his first memory, but she did not notice.
she does not remember, except for the time he could not understand something she said and then she refused to speak.
[we were both sixteen. –yellowcard, ocean avenue]
well, seventeen, actually.
[they had lots of common friends. –dennison witmer, 24 turned 25]
the same church. the same ski slopes. the same junior college.
but they did not notice.
[you never even see me. you look right through me. –coldplay, shiver]
she remembers how he flew before he could drive, and how he drew color and life bursting from grey rubble. she told her mother he thought about things, deeply.
he did not know he was present in her mind.
she did not know she thought of him, even when she did.
and then there were the summers at the factory. he remembers how she loved to make steel sparks fly across the warehouse when she was building fire and smoke dampers. he remembers how sometimes, she would bring them in-n-out burgers at dinner time.
she did not know. she unequivocally did not know.
one day, the summer ended.
[this is the day the music died. –don mclean, american pie.]
the gang was all there. krispy kreme after midnight. the air was full of summer, heavy, low to the ground and velvet, violet.
[lighting fireworks in the parking lots, illuminate the blackest night. cherry cokes under this moonlit summer sky. 2015 riverside, it’s time to say goodbye.–ataris, this diary]
she remembers watching him across the table, thinking to herself, “someday, he will marry, and she will know his secrets. they are important, and they are what is behind the art. that girl will know. she can’t be just any girl.”
but she did not know, even when she thought that.
he was sad. he was just beginning to realize…
but no, she was leaving tomorrow.
[keep pretending the sun will not rise. –ataris, this diary]
she cried. she did not know he noticed.
and like the paths in the yellow wood, these two diverged. he studied art in the light of the west. she studied crime in the dark of the north.
she could not find that summer that ended.
there were years in between. they not important now, except that they shaped and created and grew.
college ended. growth continued.
one day, the silence shattered.
“come to california”, he wrote.
but beneath her breath, she sang quietly, “please come to boston”. the sentence haunted her. the sentences exchanged slowly inched forward into paragraphs.
then suddenly just before the spring, florida called him for a brand-new job.
then suddenly just before the spring, california called her for a brand-new job.
when he heard this, the west coast had already disappeared from his rear view mirror. the lonely texas roads stretched on achingly endlessly that day.
and the next.
she surprised herself by stomping her foot.
what was left in california?
but she went anyway.
the paragraphs grew wings and flew into pages. it had been three years since that midnight goodbye, but june was going to bring him back.
[for lo, the winter is past. –song of solomon 2]
but then, when he finally came, the fever grabbed him and held his words captive. she kneeled beside him, quiet but afraid.
[sister, won’t you soothe my fevered brow. –rock me on the water, jackson browne]
finally, he spoke. he held her hand.
the plane took him back to the east coast. the pages grew wings and flew through the telephone lines.
hearts burst into life.
[who do you need, who do you love? –come undone, duran duran]
october saw them on the same coast, where the autumn moon grew full and rose over the california ocean. he whispered in her ear.
she unequivocally knew.
the plane took him back to the east coast. hearts grew wings and flew through the telephone lines.
at christmastime, he flew back through the sky to her.
but then, like it always did, the plane took him back to the east coast.
and worked. and worked and worked.
[it’s been one of those kinds of days when i feel so out of place. and, i hate everything but you. baby, when we’re right, i don’t mind the sun. i don’t mind the rain. i don’t mind businessmen who think they know everything. –i hate everything, derek webb]
april saw them on the same coast again, where the spring moon hid behind the lightening that shot down over the florida ocean.
[‘cause that’s the way our love is. –that’s the way, smashing pumpkins]
there was coffee for two and godfather three, there was sand and there was sun, and just like the once-upon-a-time beginning, there were bare feet. there was art and there was teal and orange walls, and sea shells, there was bob dylan over breakfast and there were baseball dugouts and there were puddles and rain and there were stars.
[so kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me, oh babe i hate to go. –leaving on a jet plane, john denver]
[when I come back, i’ll bring your wedding ring. –leaving on a jet plane, john denver]
and with that last goodbye, they found the summer.
[it’s the second september i have known you. four years or so ago i rode a pony, called him truth. we didn’t know the way. it took us until today to get here. –slow pony home, the weepies]
[anne wakened on the morning of her wedding day to find the sunshine winking in at the window of the little porch gable and a september breeze frolicking with her curtains. –anne’s house of dreams, lucy maud montgomery]
september’s moon rose quiet and full, over the same california ocean where they had been the october before.
[setting free the anchor, looking past the shore. –slow pony home, the weepies.]
and a week later, the plane flew back to the east coast like it always did.
but this time, they both stepped off together.
[i know who i want to take me home. –closing time, semisonic]
this is where most stories stop and end.
but this is not the end.
you see, once upon a time, happily ever after was only just beginning.