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Sunday, August 5, 2012

our story: part two

My nine year wedding anniversary is just days away
and I've decided to use this as my excuse to share
parts of our story in a few separate posts.

part two: they meet, again

*if you missed part one then you can read it here.

Part one ended when my one month and eleven day summer love came to an abrupt end. Bryan and my dad were both surprised by my sudden choice and were left quite sad. I on the other hand felt good about my choice... for a week or two. I thought I had it all figured out.  You know, the way most high school kids do.  My thought process: We didn't go to the same school so I knew it wasn't going to work out for that reason alone.   Plus we didn't work together anymore which meant when would we see each other? I also convinced myself that I liked football players more than romantics which explains why I returned to my old boyfriend at the end of part one.  As you can see I had a few really solid, well thought out reasons for the break-up.  Hopefully you sense my sarcasm.

My story picks up shorty after the break-up. Although I was enjoying my senior year, I quickly became regretful for breaking up with Bryan. If you remember from part one, I mentioned that we lived just blocks away from each other. So, you'd assume we'd run into each other, right? Never. We never once did. I sure did day dream about it though... but it never happened. I even tried to make it happen. My friends and I would go out of our way to drive by his house whenever we could. I had all my friends well trained at which house was his, which truck was his, and what he looked like. It was their job as we'd drive by to give me a status on him. Clearly I had become a bit of a stalker. I spent a good part of my senior year regretting the break up, missing that sweet boy, realizing my dad was right about both boyfriends, and convincing myself that I messed up and it was too late to fix it.  I was convinced I'd be a lonely old lady with grey hair telling people this story, as an example to always follow their heart.

Eventually the year ended and I graduated.  My plan was to attend a junior college in a nearby city. School started in August and it had now been an entire year since I had seen or talked to Bryan. I still thought about him every single day. My first day of school I even thought I saw him walking on the college campus. I knew I had just reached the point where missing him turned that crazy corner into hallucinating him. I reminded myself that he was an extremely smart guy and had aspirations of going to USC or USD. The chances of him being here on my junior college campus were below zero. This only made me feel worse as I carried on with my first week of college.

My first day of math class was in a huge room with over a hundred students. My assigned seat was next to a girl who appeared to be nice. She quickly introduced herself and asked how my first few days of school had been going. I am still shocked by this next part of the story. I decided to tell this total stranger in my first day of math class all about "the boy who got away" aka Bryan.  I told her how I had even been hallucinating him. That I hadn't seen or talked to him in over a year but we dated for one month and eleven days last summer and I should have never let him get away. At some point during my display of dramatized desperation her face seemed to look like she had heard this story before. She asked, "What's his name?" I told her his name was Bryan and then tried to continue back to my story. Then she quickly added, "Bryan what?" I replied Johnson, and was annoyed that she kept cutting me off in the midst of my story. Then she said, "He went to Mater Dei, right?" All I could do was shake my head yes. I couldn't even put enough thoughts together to figure out what just happened in that math class of over a hundred people. Did I actually sit next to this stranger and decide to unload on the one girl who knew the story, my story, already!? Who knew Bryan!? As soon as I had nodded my head to confirm we were talking about the same guy she quickly said, "Oh so you are that girl. Bryan is one of my best friends. He told me about you." All I could think was, yup... I'm that girl. I wonder what he had told her?  How heartless I was?  How I broke up with him and went back to an ex? What other horrible things did he say about me to this girl that I'd sit next to for the rest of the semester!? Part of me wanted to disappear from that desk and never return and part of me wanted to drag her out with me and ask her a million things about Bryan.

Neither of those things happened. What did happen was on our class break she took out her cell phone and called Bryan up. Just like that. Once she had him on the phone she handed it over to me. I've never been so put on the spot before. All the bad reminders of the way I broke up with him came flooding back, and the long year since, and the fact that he had probably moved on and I'm the weirdo hallucinating him... not the other way around. I had no idea what to say. There was a lot of silent pauses and awkwardness. The few things I was able to spit out ended badly. The conversation lasted only a couple of minutes and then was over. It took me from feeling worse to horrible. The only somewhat positive thing I took from the entire ordeal was finding out that he was actually attending the same college that I was. So I wasn't going crazy... I may have really seen him there. If it hadn't been for a really bad conversation I may have been a little excited about going to the same college and the chances of running into him. But after that conversation, I wanted to hide from him forever.

That night at home I was still devastated. I had spent an entire year day dreaming of running into him. Creating scripts in my head of what I could say, how to apologize, confessing how much I regretted breaking up with him, and how I thought about him every single day this entire year. But, even with all of that practice I totally failed on the phone with him. I only made things worse. So I did what any other eighteen year old girl with a broken heart does, I wrote him a six page letter. I told him everything. I left out nothing. It was time to choose all or nothing and I was choosing all!  This was my last chance to not end up the lonely story telling old lady.  It was handwritten, front and back of three college ruled papers, and then folded and sealed into a zip-lock. Why a zip-lock? Because there was chance of rain that night. Why did that matter? Because my eighteen year old girl plan was to walk to his house in the middle of the night and leave it on his truck. Which is exactly what I did.

The next afternoon our home phone rang and I was too nervous to answer it. My dad came bursting into my bedroom with the most giant smile he could possibly fit on his face and said, "Andrea! Bryan Johnson is on the phone for you!" That phone conversation is a blur in my memory but thankfully, a good blur. Now that I had everything out there in the open it was so much easier to talk to him. He told me that the letter was nice to receive from me, but there were parts that were quite confusing to him. I wasn't surprised by his confusion since I did write the letter in a state of emotional overload and writing isn't a strong skill of mine to begin with. Regardless of the letter's confusion, he wanted to meet up with me. We met the next day for frozen yogurt. He brought the letter with him to show me the places that left him confused so I could explain better. Well it turned out that the letter he read wasn't six pages, it was only three. He only read the front sides of each of them! No wonder he was confused! Half the letter was missing. That has and will always be a joke between the two of us.

That day we met for frozen yogurt was August 28th of 1999. It was like meeting for the first time all over again. Like meeting a tad bit more mature version of each other all over again.  We saw each other the next day, and the day after that, and the next, and so on.  When people hear this part of our story typically what they give credit to is "fate". When it was happening I too probably believed that "fate" was to thank for our reunion. I can't deny how awesome it was that of all the colleges, of all the people on campus, of all the math classes, I sat next to and poured my heart out to that stranger. But Now, thirteen years later, looking back at the odds of that happening, and over everything we've been through in thirteen years, I know what brought us together is much bigger than some silly thing called "fate". I can see God's hand in it all. He had a plan for the two of us. The plan for our future wasn't always going to be cute or easy but it was His plan and in the end, His plans work out better than our own. I can see this and I know this all now but I didn't know it then, and I actually didn't know it until a few years into our marriage.  But, God was always there and I'm grateful He has been.

Our story will continue on past August of 1999...

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