I was fresh out of college in 2007 when he unexpectedly walked into my life. For the past year and a half, I’d jumped from relationship to relationship, refusing to hang on for more than a couple of months in fear of getting too close. I still felt that punch in the gut from my first adult relationship where I let myself fall a little too deep. I wouldn’t make that mistake again.
Famous last words.
We sat across from the bar from each other on that Sunday afternoon. We were both there to see the same bartender, my best friend and his roommate’s girlfriend, though oblivious to each other’s existence. After a few beers, I did what anyone would do on a Sunday afternoon and ordered a shot for me and my friend.
Unbeknownst to me, a scheme was already in place. She made three shots, placing one in front of me and the other in front of the green-eyed, blond-haired man sitting across from me. I didn’t think anything of it. She’d told me who he was. I figured she was just being nice.
Much later, I would find out she told him I sent the shot over myself, prompting his move from across the bar to directly to my left.
So love at first lie?
Eh. Not quite. I fought it. Hard.
My 21-year-old self did not want it to happen. I was free from love, off on my own to do as I please. But he was witty, sweet, and ridiculously respectful, something I’d been missing in the men I’d dated since the college catastrophe.
So no matter how how hard I fought it, seeing him once a week quickly turned into every other day, then every other day turned to every day until he was practically living at my place. The girl who’d sworn off serious relationships turned into a bubbly meatsack of love. I don’t know how it happened.
Though we dove in head first, there was no whirlwind relationship. The lie heard round the bar was told over seven years ago. We’re getting married in just over ten months. Slow and steady wins the race, right? And while some may think our relationship comes easy from the outside, it certainly hasn’t been, as no relationships are. There are days we want to punch each other, days we can’t get enough of each other, and all the days in between.
It’s scary to imagine where I’d be if I’d let my fear win on that Sunday afternoon. What if I’d dismissed him outright as I’d done before, not wanting to get close to anyone at the time? What would have happened if my friend, now my bridesmaid, hadn’t thought to play matchmaker that day?
I like to think we would have wound up in the same place no matter what. Because whether or not I believe in fate, soulmates, or the like, I know who I’m supposed to end up with and I’ll be walking down the aisle to him in less than a year. You can’t help who you fall in love with sometimes, no matter how much you want to fight it. Letting go is hard but you’ll never know what you may stumble upon unless you do.