20 years ago yesterday I had my first date with this guy:
We met when I misspelled his name and he flamed me -- love at first byte, and all that.
I was freshly 19, having had my birthday the month before, and we had been emailing each other for about 6 weeks. He worked at my university and I was a freshman. We met on a local newsgroup when I misspelled his name and he flamed me -- love at first byte, and all that.
Having spent so much time interacting with him in an entirely digital context, I felt I knew him well before ever meeting him in person.
That, and the invincibility of youth, is probably what convinced me to agree to a first date -- our first proper encounter IRL -- bottling beer in his basement apartment. I may not have shown the best judgement at the time, but the heart knows what the heart knows.
We were engaged by that Christmas, and married the following Fall.
There have been many ups and downs in the years since then. We moved from our sleepy Nova Scotian university town to Ottawa. We bought a house, had babies, experienced job losses and medical issues, started a home business, and established our life together. The Plymouth Horizon we drove to Ottawa in 1997 was replaced by a Ford Escort, then a minivan, and now a Suburban.
Relationships are rarely without drama and we have had our share of that, too. The one thing that I have been certain of through all of it is that he is my best friend. He is one of the kindest and most generous people I have known. We have fun together. We don't always get along -- we have our disagreements, we bicker and argue, we exasperate each other, but underneath it all is an understanding that we love each other and we are in this together for the long haul.
I know that when I really need someone in my corner, he is there -- he has always been there.
As a teenager, I used a Depeche Mode song as my dating criteria. Cheesy? Why, yes, in the way that only teenagers in love with love can be -- at 39, the lyrics of that song continue to resonate with me. He is my "Somebody", and I hope that I have been and will continue to be his.
We are the same but different now, 20 years after the photo at the beginning of this post was taken. Our family has grown and our hair is streaked with grey.