When T.J. and I first started this adventure together, I didn't share too much on the blog. He popped up in passing, I would briefly mention a trip to South Carolina, or his face would show up in a picture. But honestly I kept most of the details of our relationship, especially the early days, to myself. It was too important and private and new. But I did try to write it down back then and I saved it as a draft, so I could always remember how that felt, the start of the rest of my life. Because even in the earliest days I knew that's what he was.
Now, in celebration of our almost one year anniversary, I'm going back, back before the wedding, before the engagement, before we were a couple, before I even really knew the man I would marry. And in the drafts where I first wrote about meeting "the boy who would one day become my...??" I'm able to write in the word "husband" and relive it all.
In May of 2013 I booked a flight and headed down to Charleston, South Carolina for a fun weekend with one of my college roommates and dearest friends. We had concert tickets, a tailgate spot at a polo match, plans to visit the Firefly distillery, and a lot of porch sitting, cocktail drinking, and catching up planned. I knew it was going to be simply the funnest getaway.
What I did not know was that I would meet the boy who would one day become my husband.
Our first night out we headed to a bar on King Street called Closed for Business. We knew that some of Aubrey's friends would be hanging out there, and that I would also kind of know one of the guys in that group.
His name was T.J. and he went to the same college as Aubrey and I. He was friends with a lot of my friends and he was probably someone's date to a sorority function here and there. The very first picture we have together is actually from the last day of classes our senior year. But I had never seriously hung out with him before and hadn't thought about him since the last time I'd seen him at a friend's wedding, almost a year earlier. I wrote about that weekend here and he isn't mentioned although he is in a couple of my pictures.
I learned that he was in his 3rd year of med school and also in the Army, that he wanted to do orthopedic surgery, and that he has a sister the same age as my sister. And I learned that this boy I had never really paid attention to before (sorry hun) was quite cute.
Why hadn't I noticed before?
We moved on to a different spot and we continued talking as we walked down the cobbled streets and up the stairs to a rooftop bar. He bought me a drink and always found me when I got lost in the crowd. He made me laugh and he was so easy to talk to. It was fun, I was flirty. I flipped my hair and stood on my tippy-toes so he could hear me better over the noise of the crowd and I leaned closer.
But this was my first weekend of feeling really free. I was just there to have fun with my friends, I wanted my summer to look like Taylor Swift's music video for 22.
But walking back home later that night, someone made the comment, "he definitely seemed to be interested in you."
Maybe, I thought. And I couldn't help but hope the subject would come up again, so I could do what girls do best and over analyze and over think. Mostly I hoped I would get to see more of him that weekend.
As luck would have it (or as I later learned, as T.J. orchestrated it), we met up with him the next day, and the day after that. And over the weekend I found myself standing next to him a lot, and catching his eye.
On my last day there we all went to a polo match and I spent my last few hours in town sipping on grapefruit cocktails, playing corn hole and stomping divots. He and I took a walk around the field, just the two of us, and I allowed myself to think of just the two of us.
At the end of the day I said my goodbyes and then I held his stare a little longer one last time before I got in the car, and boarded a plane home. And when I eventually landed back in DC and turned on my cellphone, my heart jumped to see a new voice-mail and his name there on the screen.