I met T-Bone 13 years ago at a Christmas party celebrating the end of our first semester of law school. I had picked him out of the button-and-suspenders crowd that dominated our class (bunch of gunners - so annoying) about two weeks into the year, and I dutifully stalked him for the next three months. My best friend was in his section, so I knew his schedule and could conveniently park myself outside of his classrooms and catch a little lookie-loo as he passed by. God forbid I ever try to actually talk to him - it was sooo much easier to pester my friends with daily (hourly) reports of what he was wearing, what he was eating, and what I overheard him saying in the cubicle across from me in the library as I pretended to be reading my Con Law assignment. See, I am not, nor have I ever been, one to flirt. I don't know how and am sure I would fail miserably should I ever attempt it. The Junior High Approach to Dealing with Boyz (TM) (heart-sparkle-heart-lips) was working just fine, thank you, but I had a sneaking suspicion that if I never actually met him, I would just D-I-E DIE, y'all. I knew in my heart that, at the very least, we would be great friends. I just knew it.
So after months of listening to me go on and on and ON about him, I think everyone around me was looking forward to the Christmas party where, it was hoped, I would get a few drinks in me and maybe finally - gasp! - end the suffering and talk to the guy. In all my stalking, I had literally run in to him a couple of times - once in the cafeteria when I had a mouth full of pizza and once when I was exiting the bathroom, still struggling with my zipper. Sweet. Not exactly the right time to introduce yourself to the love of your life. Anywho, I was so nervous about the possibility of meeting him, I called for back-up, and Karla May, living in Alabama at the time, came to my rescue. She too had had "just about enough of this shit," so I knew something was going to go down if in fact T-Bone made an appearance at the party.
After a few pitchers of margaritas for courage, she and I arrived at the party, only to find a group of about six of my so-called friends lined up at the door, all saying, "He's here! He's here! He's here!" Oh shit. I swear to you, not five minutes later, my best guy friend, Fox, who didn't know T-Bone from Adam by the way, followed him to the bathroom and said, "Hey - you're T-Bone, right? Follow me." Then the rest of my alleged compadres grabbed me and quite forcefully PUSHED me into him, after which Fox quickly made the introductions and stepped back to view the carnage. I want to throw up just thinking about it even now. But, after a couple of shaky "Hi"s and me saying something gay about my idiot friends being off their meds, we started talking. And we talked and talked and talked. Until 6 in the morning. There were a couple of times in there, when we were back at my parents' house (oh yeah - cuz did I mention I was living at HOME at the time? Gawd, I'm so awesome.), I started to nod off, and I was telling myself, "He's here! He's really here! Wake up!" We hit all the big topics, including music, God, and even marriage. Just in general, but still. And it didn't even seem weird. The best part was when he went to leave, and he asked - asked! - if he could kiss me. Still my favorite kiss of all time. Ever.
Two weeks later, we broached the topic of marriage again - this time, quite specifically, and a year from the day we met, we got engaged in New Orleans. A year later, we got married on New Year's Eve, and 11 blissful years later, The Story has just continued to unfold.
My mom has asked me on more than one occasion, "How did you know he would be so perfect for you? Just from looking at him?" and the answer is, I don't know. I just did. Which is especially surprising for someone who never EVER thought about getting married or dreamed about what my wedding would be like. I just couldn't really picture that happening to me. But then I saw him, and I thought, we need to know each other, and the universe made it happen.
I often tell T-Bone that he is either easily impressed or easily amused, I'm not sure which. Either way, I'm glad he is who he is, and I'm so lucky to get to be who I am with him. So Happy Anniversary, babe. I love you.
And Happy New Year to the rest of y'all.