Nine.

Nine years ago I was 17 years old and happier than I had been in…well, probably ever. Andrew and I had made it “official”. I was his girlfriend and he was my boyfriend. And although I was practically giddy with excitement, I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t want to screw this up somehow. I knew that this was a good thing. a GREAT thing, if you will. He  and I were nearly 80 miles apart from the beginning- he being in Amherst starting his sophomore year of college and me in Upton starting my senior year of high school. There was so little that we really knew about each other (aside from what we talked about for hours in my kitchen on our first date). There was so little to screw up, yet so so much.

A week and a half earlier, we had our first date. I can remember everything about that night. From what I was wearing, to what he was wearing, to what we did, to the words that were said. That entire night is permanently stamped in my brain forever. We washed his car (3 guesses as to who’s idea THAT was) and went mini golfing at Crystal Falls in Bellingham (now a parking lot). With his help, I won. He carried my purse for me. He let me use the GOOD sponge on the car (what a gentleman). Following mini golf, we swam in my backyard pool. Afterwards, we drew nautical stars on the whiteboard in my porch. Those very stars remained on that white board until my parents moved this past June. (side note- OMG, NAUTICAL stars??? I cannot believe I did not think of this connection before…clearly this was meant to be!) . He asked me to put tiny braids in his hair all over his head (omg, I’m SO embarrassed for him right now..) , and I did. We sat at my kitchen table and talked and talked until 2am that night. Somehow we only scratched the surface of each other. Enough to know that we wanted more time together. Enough to know we had a rare connection.

We talked nearly everyday on AIM (obviiii). He didn’t have a cell phone yet and I really hated talking on the phone (still do). We wrote letters to each other, which is totally and completely necessary to do being an hour and a half away from each other (uh…) & made each other beaded bracelets. I still have mine that he made. He lost his multiple times.  I must’ve made 5 or 6 duplicates for him in out first year. So juvenile, but I miss those times. We didn’t see each other for a month until he came home for a weekend at the end of September. I remember running out my side door to see him leaning against my saturn, and for a moment I thought my heart was going to explode out of my ears. The distance wasn’t hard for us because it was all we knew. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder…and boy, did it.

Here I am 9 years later. In our home that we are making together, wearing a diamond ring on the most important finger a girl has, and listening to “our songs” that always give me that swelling feeling in my heart that I felt for the first time so long ago. The words “excitement” and “happiness” don’t even BEGIN to explain how I feel right now.

To many, many, many, INFINITY more.

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