I met my husband when I was 16. We were at a party in our hometown. I went with my best friend - the blonde, beautiful one that everyone always wanted to hook up with. This night was no different and by the end of it, she was with him.
As cheesy as it sounds, and as must as I still struggle to believe this is possible, I secretly loved him from the moment we met. He looked nothing like what I thought my husband would look like - his hair red, pale skin - very unlike the dark, brooding Italian man my father promised me. But that night, as I watched him move effortlessly from girl to girl, all eyes & smiles on him, I felt something I hadn't felt before.
I had pink hair & a nose ring. I wore thrift-store clothing I paid $1 a bag for. I listened to Nirvana, smoked menthol cigarettes and drank my weight in beer. I was not beautiful or inspiring or kind or any of those words people use around me now.
Our friendship grew quickly. Their relationship ended just as fast. After three years of three hour long distance calls while he was away at college, we were dating. I was elated. Joe became everything to me.
We broke up once before we made forever official. Devastated, I cried in front of my house for what felt like hours. I vowed not to ever love anyone again. I vowed to live alone, become wealthy alone and not to ever need anyone again. He simply asked me to leave so he could finish some laundry.
Years passed and aside from a few birthday cards and phone calls our lives moved along without each other. I moved in with someone else who loved me more than I ever think anyone ever had or has. I broke his heart.
But we found our way back together. My hair changed; brown & highlighted, nose ring hole closed. He wanted me back and everything in my world revolved around my love for him. We were engaged, then married, then parents.
And now, after 7 years of marriage, more than 15 years since we first kissed, 18 years since we met, it still seems that everything he touches, better yet, everything he glances at, looks more beautiful - and not just to me, but to everyone. He is peaceful without being too quiet. He is confident without being arrogant. He is kind without being weak. He is protective without being overbearing.
And I still feel a bit like that girl with pink hair and a nose ring.