(Jared would like to note that his face here is ridiculous and that is not actually his smile.)
I often go back to the very beginning, wishing I could relive the first bursts of absolute love all over again. We had been talking for almost a week when I decided enough was enough. Jared reeled me in so easily with his smooth lines and witty conversation. I was eating out of the palm of his hand in no time. During that week, one could find me dashing through my apartment, giggling, dancing, squealing, and screaming. What caused my whole body to erupt in giddiness brought puke to others mouths. I hadn’t even met the boy and I was already in heaven! Our first date lasted 25 hours. We didn’t intend it to, naturally. I certainly didn’t go into it thinking I would sleep with the first man I had been on a first date with in years. Now, don’t go sticking your noses up at me. We didn’t “sleep” together. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Lets go back to 5pm, January 21, 2016. An apartment of 4 giggly girls peeked out of their various windows to catch the first glimpse of a boy sitting in a large, black jeep. How long had he been sitting there? Why wasn’t he getting out? Was he so nervous? I remember the unstoppable butterflies that had kept me afloat since meeting Jared only grew more jumpy when I finally saw him move to exit his jeep. An eternity later a knock announced his arrival. Breathlessly tugging on my outfit and patting down my hair, I opened the door. He was smaller than I had imagined. And I had worn my favorite boots, which had a bit of a heel. Oh boy…
I was surprised how easily conversation carried on face to face. And when it didn’t, the silence was comfortable. As weird as it sounds, I was happy to watch him eat and memorize the man before me. He was quite handsome. He made me laugh. He told good stories. When the famous Farmhouse roast beef ran out, Jared had drunken ten sweet tea refills,and we had boxed up a large piece of red velvet cake for later, we headed back to his place to watch a movie. We simply couldn’t let the night end there! The sun went down, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World turned into Bridget Jones Diary, which then turned into munching on cake. (Somehow we managed to finish them, even though I was pausing it every 5 minutes for Jared to pee out his refills) During the movies we had forgone the awkward “no touching” stage and grown quite comfortable with each other. This prompted many hours of cuddling and conversations on the couch. We spread our life stories out for each other, feeling none of the usual strangeness present on a first date. The night wore on until we fell asleep in each others arms. It was so easy.
Eventually the first date had to end. I had people waiting for me back home who I knew would be dying for every detail. I’ll never forget how we flocked to the windows again to watch him leave, or how he spotted us from the parking lot and laughed. Just as it had been all week, a smile was ever-present on my face as I described the dream I lived. I rolled the events over and over that night, scarcely believing it could be real. Never in my life had someone matched me so perfectly, right down to our food preferences. He was perfect. But, life had taught me otherwise. I will admit, the moment I met him and realized how perfect he was, I knew the shoe had to drop. Nobody could be like that. But it never did. It still hasn’t. Being with Jared was natural from the very beginning. I’m sure I loved him soon after our first conversation, but wouldn’t admit it until after our date. Even though it was extremely early in the relationship, we were on the exact same page. From then on, we blossomed so quickly with no barriers in our way.
Jared freed me in every way possible over our first year. With his guidance and love I have become the best version of myself. I have grown to understand the world and love more than I ever have. There is never a day where I don’t look at him in awe. I still can’t believe how lucky I am. I wasn’t looking for much, but I found everything. We make each other stronger. We tried to live our own lives in the beginning, but it was just better for us to be together. There was no point in forcing separation when our beings just wanted to be close.
Tonight we went back to the little restaurant that started it all as changed people. Solidified people. We remembered the two awkward, young people who sat a few tables away. The gentle adoration, the innocent laughter, the simple love that glowed between us that night has only brightened over time. It will become more blinding as we face every new challenge together. Every new day I am so excited to earn his love, his precious smile, and my place in his strong arms. Happy Anniversary, my sweet love. This one’s for you!