Spinning My Story : How I Met My Match

Kurt & I, cross country trip circa 2005

6 years ago I don’t think I would have shared this in a forum this public. 6 years ago it wasn’t as accepted as it is now. 6 years ago I wasn’t even comfortable disclosing this information to new acquaintances.

Do you remember the band I shared with you yesterday? Kurt & I would have never met had it not been for that band. Both of us are super fans of their music.

He lived in California & was in the Navy. I lived in Pennsylvania & worked in health care. He grew up in Philadelphia, I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh.

6 years ago I met the love of my life… online.

We both used to frequent a fan-based message board centered around the band. We then connected through LiveJournal & after a while, we started talking on AOL IM (does anyone even use that anymore?!) through the Fall of 2004. It was pretty infrequent at first, we would chat here & there when we were both online. We had a lot in common, so when we did connect, there was plenty to talk about.

In January of 2005 he had to do his mandatory cruise. He was on the USS Carl Vinson for 7 months, for most of the cruise he was in the Persian Gulf. He sent out a mass email to everyone he knew, with the email address he could use on the ship, asking us to write. I wrote, he wrote back. We started writing each other every few days. After a few weeks, it turned into every day, um… & then, a few times a day. It was quite insane. There were phone calls made from the ship’s faulty pay phones. The letters escalated into a fragmentary romance & then into love letters at their very finest, through the wires, across the seas. So. Romantic. It happened so organically that it nearly blew our minds.

what are you but my reflection?

I never in one million years would have thought that anyone could feel what we did for each other without ever meeting. I mean, I had heard of this happening to people & every time I heard it I thought, really? Are you kidding me? No way. I was really skeptical. I mean, really, how is that even possible? To fall in love without ever meeting face-to-face? It was really unbelievable, even for us. We kept questioning each other & ourselves. We kept telling each other — no expectations.

Meeting online gets such a bad wrap sometimes, I of course know this firsthand because we were subject to numerous eye rolls accompanied by judgment, even by some of the people closest to us. I think though, what a lot of people didn’t realize or thought about was, instead of going on date after date, we got to know each other through these letters. There were no games. It was pure & incredibly easy.

After an extension of his cruise, a stop in Rhodes, Greece & over 500 emails between the two of us…

a ream paper, front & back & in order – an anniversary gift from me to him
…the time came when his ship finally made it back to the US to port in Virginia. Talk. About. Nerves. Had we built this up too much? What happens if the chemistry wasn’t there? Or like my dad so lovingly put it, what happens if you don’t like the smell of each other?! It was a risk but we had no choice. We had to take it. We had to meet. It was different than meeting online & then going out for coffee. We liked each other already. A lot.

I had a really hard time telling my family & friends. I remember hemming & hawing around forever with my mom, until she was like, AMANDA, JUST TELL ME! So all red-faced, quiet & with my head down, I told her. I told her how twitterpated I was with this boy & when she showed me that she was genuinely happy & excited for me, (Mad love & props to my open-minded mama! Love you Mom!) I told her everything.

He hadn’t mentioned anything to his family yet, trying to tell them through email or on the phone just wasn’t the right way to do so. So imagine their surprise, after him being at sea for 7 months, when he told them that the next day he needed to borrow a car to meet a girl… 5 hours away.

a week after we met

We met on August 1st 2005, all movie-like, in a bus station.

A month prior, I had moved from State College, PA, a college town, back to where I grew up. We decided to meet In State College though, because I was familiar with the town & there were things to do, it was home to me.

I bussed the 3 hours there.

He was late due to trying to acquire a car. I occupied myself by walking around downtown, killing time. I got something to eat, some coffee, hung out in my favorite bookstore. I headed back to the station closer to the time he was supposed to arrive.

Clad in my headphones, I tried to read but I continued to read the same line over & over & over again. It was August, it was hot, after I spilled my iced coffee all over the sidewalk, I decided I should wait inside the station. I didn’t have a cell phone. So, whenever he got there, he got there, there wouldn’t be any warning beforehand. It was just going to happen. I sat on the benches tapping my feet, looking around, fidgeting & then decided to redirect my attention to the pinball machine. I love pinball. I was engrossed in a game when he came up behind me & poked my sides — I turned around, I don’t think we even spoke a word that I can remember… like some classic scene in a corny romance film, we kissed.

We were immediately comfortable together, it was & still is so amazing to me.

Everyone thought we were nuts, hell, we thought we were insane.

Technically, we were… we were in love.

From August 1st to the 16th we were in PA, we met each others’ families & friends. On the 17th we hopped on a plane to California where I stayed with him until his stint in the Navy was over. On Sept 30th we began our cross country trek back to PA together, slick-wrapped in the resilience that new love so often brings. We were invincible. We stopped & stayed in Austin with friends for a few days. We took our time all the way back home, staying in random cities on the way. (See path here.)

the present

Years later & we have two beautiful boys & are still in love, it’s just deeper now.

Please, if you’ve met your match, I’d love for you to share how you met them in the comments either with a story or a link to a blog post on your blog! If you haven’t written the story yet, you should! Of course you don’t have to, but if you do share the story on your blog a link back would be appreciated! Let’s start a Love Fest! Yeah?

Or! You could send your piece in for consideration for the Spin Your Story feature, check out the guidelines here. I’m a sucker for romance, I love reading stories about how people meet & how love begins.

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