The other night I made Nate do a "How Well Do You Know Me?" quiz. He liked it the same way he likes our annual viewing of Father of the Bride, i.e. his only pleasure in the experience is witnessing the fuzzy satisfaction that I derive from such drivel. The quiz mostly contained questions about the past. "What was the first thing I said to you?" "Where did we meet?" It gave way to riotous laughter and smiling reminiscence about all the experiences that brought us to now.
What relationship that starts with seven digits secretly scribbled on the back of a Red Robin napkin isn't destined for greatness? We were an unlikely match. Me: straight-laced, mildly introverted, sixteen (almost seventeen) years old. Nate: Somewhat "misguided," wholly extroverted, and nearly twenty. But that didn't stop him from bringing me the first Dixie Chicks CD in November so I wouldn't have to listen to the KRWQ Top 6 at 6:00 countdown every night to hear my then favorite song, Cowboy Take Me Away. And it didn't stop us from running in the rain. Eating french toast every Sunday. Walking the soles off our shoes through the hills of Oregon and subsequently Utah. Playing paddle ball in front of his step-grandparents' beach home, which was actually a
rickety old vintage double wide tin trailer. Or from doing very illogical things like going for a run together a few hours after I spent 30 minutes with my feet above my head, in an inverted lawn chair, while a Red Cross phlebotomist tried to extract a pint of blood from my stubborn circulatory system. Or calling him from Paris, on my parents' calling card, and talking for what I could have sworn was three minutes that turned out to be twelve (premium priced) long distance minutes. Writing pen and paper letters for a year while Nate served a mission for our church. (Yeah, LDS missions are two years long, and ideally we would have written for that long, but I got...oh...how to say it...distracted (??) in his absence. Distracted to the point of engagement to someone else.) (And yes, I know those were all fragments. In many ways I am grammatically challenged, but for some topics, I just find it terribly stifling, and choose to ignore it.) Anyway, I hate to think of the consequence that awaits me for dragging Nate's heart through the muck while I tried to figure out my own. But when my heart finally remembered that it liked Nate best, we slipped seamlessly back into a state of smitten that showed little regard for time or logic. We stayed on the phone 'til the wee hours when we knew we had tests to take and classes to attend. (Prudence about phone time was never our forte because there was a lot of flirtatious fluff that needed to be talked about.) We lived on much less sleep than we needed and much less money than we have now, but we were never weary or wanting.
Sometimes I feel like those carefree spirits that were so hopelessly smitten by each other are wheezing under the weight of budget pow-wows, broken pipes, clogged drains and child rearing. So I insist on get-aways and charm and "HowWellDoYouKnowMe?" quizzes to keep some of the reckless affection of our courtship shiny, fresh and very close-by.
There was only one sad part of our trip down memory lane the other night. Some spots in that shiny courtship are getting blurry and unclear. And some, I'm sure, have been forgotten entirely, because neither one of us was writing them down. Now we're faced with the tremendous task of looking back and trying to remember the little details--the ones that make our story fit like broken-in blue jeans.
So I write to immortalize what we remember, to revive us when we wheeze, to remind us that our process of "becoming one" has been sensational.