I stare at the paper and words written in blue ink. The handwriting is small and neatly printed. He wrote me almost every day and thirty of the notes survived. Holding them in my hands takes me back and I stop to catch my breath. Almost 20 years. Has it really been that long? To me, he has been known longer than unknown. Time is such a mystery to me.
When the notes were written, I was lost in a juvenile fog. I worried about how the school uniform made me look frumpy. I stressed over Algebra tests, why the popular girls didn’t call me and who would be at youth group on Wednesday night. My Junior year, I was the girl a boy liked and dated, but he was in love with another girl. By the end of the year, another boy asked me to prom, but I’m pretty sure it was only to make his old girlfriend think he was over her because they got back together after prom. Finally, I set my sights on a boy, who in the end didn’t want me. Unfortunately, it took me far too long to realize it.
In the middle of the ridiculous high school drama, he was there all the time – writing me notes asking if I would take a chance on him. Had I changed my mind? Was today the day I would come to my senses and agree to go on a date? He was patient and remained kind, in spite of my many replies, “No, let’s just be friends.” He wrote me original poems and favorite song lyrics. I helped him quit smoking and gave him relationship “advice.” (Not that I knew what I was talking about!) He sketched me roses and drew bullets with butterfly wings as we talked about the Smashing Pumpkins. He cracked jokes to make me laugh and if I was having a bad day, he could always make me smile. We planned to hang out after school sometime, but it would be more than five years before we would get that chance.
I have often wondered why in the world I saved his notes from high school. Everyone passed notes in between classes in the crowded hallways. After reading the notes, I would immediately discard them. But his…most of his I kept. After graduation, I put my favorite ones in a shoe box on a shelf in the closet of the room where I grew up. In this room, I had cried my heart out over boys, wrote melodramatic poems and learned to play guitar. I listened to the Cranberries, Sarah Maclachlan and the Indigo Girls, made sappy mixed tapes and dreamed up plans for my future. As I placed the box on the shelf, I said my goodbyes to high school and with it, I assumed I was saying goodbye to my old friend who couldn’t take a hint and told me my hair looked beautiful when I put it up.
Years later, the boy found me and relentlessly pursued my heart…again. Only this time, I saw him. I found the love that began with ripped out notebook paper and innocent pleas for a date many years before. And here we are. Ten years of marriage and two beautiful girls later… with the boy who passed me notes in Bible class and drew pictures in my text books.
It’s a crazy love story and I love that it’s our story. I am thankful that on some strange (foreshadowing?) whim, I decided to save these notes so many years ago. I had no idea that with each note Ryan wrote, a seed of love was sown. The notes are my reminders that true love really is patient and it will find you when you least expect.
Ten years have come and gone
Before my eyes
Fast as falling snow
And all I know is
What is true
That I no longer know
Who I am…
Happy 10th Anniversary to my husband and best friend…XOXO