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8.27.2013

2 Years Later...

Ah. Freshly married and in Normandy.

Let me tell you a tale, dear readers, about how I met Charlesband...

Around August of 2008 was the first time Charles and I made contact...through Facebook of all places. I had friended his brother (who was a friend in high school) and he had friended me through that. All I remembered about him then was that he had been friends with my older brother when they were kids and I used to frequently see him at local diners being the angst, beatnicky, cute musician who was too cool for me to talk to.

We spent most of our formative years in that limbo. Hi-Bye friends. We'd see each other at a diner, maybe wave and I would run away because I felt awkward and didn't know what to do after that. Talking to him was out of the question. His best friend, his coffee and his cigarette seemed way more cool than me.

And so, I was surprised and delighted to have a few Facebook exchanges with him over a few weeks back in 2008...but then that fell off...as Facebook messaging often does when you don't know what else to talk about. The last message was some time around Thanksgiving of that year.

So, wasn't it a surprise when we started chatting again in July of 2009...this time with more determination. More jokes, more laughter...we spent all day at our respective jobs messaging each other about inane things. I was often found snorting from laughing too hard at my cubicle thanks to one of his witty quips. Naturally, Facebook messages turned into ichat messages...and then text messages...until, eventually, I called him and we ended up talking on the phone every day for about a month. Each night I would sit outside and talk to him until late at night (he was living in LA, I was in NY...the time difference didn't do anything good for the amount of sleep I was getting.)

And then he tells me he's coming out to NY to visit friends and family...so, of course, we decided to meet up.

I can remember the excitement of that day...rushing to the train after work to get downtown as soon as I could. Surfacing from the station and texting a cool "hey, I'm in your hotel's hood. Where are you?"

Of course, I didn't expect him to say "I'm at the hotel. Come on up." but he did.

I must've smoked 3 cigarettes in my 2 block walk, I was so freaked out and excited at the same time. I even started a conversation with a homeless man to try to divert my attention, but it didn't work. There I was, standing in front of the hotel...so, I walked in...and decided to take the stairs to let out any excess anxiety and jumpiness.

I quickly bounded up the stairs...and when I got to the stairwell door, due to its griminess, I kicked it open. I hadn't expected to be standing face to face with Charles right at that moment. He was expecting me to come from the elevator and was standing at the door, waiting. The stairwell door just happened to be situated right in front of his hotel room door. I must've given him a heart attack.

So, there we stood, the two of us. Dumbfounded that we were finally seeing each other in person for the first time in 5 years or so. (Yes, the last time was at a diner on the east coast...and, yes, we just waved.) We immediately gave each other a hug...and it was a good one. The type of long hug you have with a long lost friend.

He quickly invited me in and asked me how my day was. I was having a hard time finding the words, but attempted to keep my cool.

And then he kissed me. It must've been less than 5 minutes. I was shocked...but also pleasantly surprised. Later, he would tell me that he was so nervous at that point that if he hadn't done it then, he never would've.

Needless to say, we were totally crazy about each other from the onset. We walked to dinner, had a wonderful meal, went and got cupcakes and spent the night together. Magic would be the word.

The Eve of Our First Reunion - Getting Cupcakes

Of course, we only had a few days, so we spent as much time as we could together. During the course of that weekend, we toted around our respective cameras and I recall one of the strap rings of my camera coming loose. He offered up a spare, but I had figured out a quick fix. I took the spare anyway and told him I would hold on to it. We were in the hot subway station and I quickly tried to put the ring on a finger for safe keeping. Funny enough, the only finger it would fit on was my ring finger...my left ring finger.

We both paused...blushed, pretending it was normal. I ended up wearing it every day after that.

The weekend blew by and he was gone before I knew it...and, honestly, my heart felt empty. Lucky for me, he was returning in two weeks to go to a wedding in Philadelphia. He had asked if I would be his date...duh. Of course.

So, two heart-wrenching weeks of talking on the phone every night again and he ended up back in NYC. I met him at the hotel that night after work. We met in the lobby and immediately went up to the room. Another long hug commenced and he told me he loved me.

...yep.

Which is when I realized I loved him too...so, I returned the sentiment.

Cut to an amazing wedding weekend and another heart-wrenching goodbye.

So, we talked every night. We dated long distance...it was difficult. And then he came back to the east coast for the holidays. (Our families conveniently both live in the same town.)

I recall he was a little cold. I felt like I wasn't getting enough attention. I told him I felt like the only time we would talk was when he was in the car on the way somewhere...so, he matter-of-factedly said we should break up.

That was a rough holiday. We tried to have a good time...and then he left. We were over. I cried on New Year's Day alone, but put on a happy face for my family. It sucked.

And, of course, we continued to talk on the phone. I flew out to LA in January to spend time with him on his birthday...and then we broke up again.
Saw him in February and it was wonderful...except that we broke up again.
And the same things happened in March.
We didn't even see each other in April even though I had secretly hoped he might show up to my birthday party.

Nope. No dice.

...but, always, we talked. We talked on the phone, texted...every day.

I went out to LA in May of 2010 to spend Memorial Day weekend with him and, by that time, was so emotionally drained that I ended up suggesting we split and not speak for at least a month. It had become a vicious cycle and we had to break it. I had to move on.

That goodbye was the hardest. I gave him that camera strap ring back that last day...I was officially giving up.

And that next month was hell and heaven combined. A new job, a new dream apartment, a new life awaited me in NYC, but always with that feeling. "I wish I could call him and tell him about everything. I wish I could hear his voice."

We both stayed as strong as possible (aside from the occasional Facebook post that may or may not have been written for the other person.)

And then we started talking again. July of 2010, I remember our first video chat and me giving him a tour of the new digs. Despite wanting to talk to him every second of every day, we tried not to make it as frequent as before. I still loved him, but this long distance thing wasn't going to work. We both knew that...I had played with the idea of moving to LA, but with this new job and new place, I didn't think that would really happen either.

So, August of 2010, he says he's coming to visit friends and family. My new apartment had plenty of space, so I offered up my place to crash. Mind you, I had a roommate, so I figured it wouldn't be too excruciating or awkward.

I remember when I opened the door that Thursday evening. He was standing there with his suitcase, being himself...and the voice in my head told me I couldn't live without him...but I didn't say it out loud. Chalk it up to too much pride.

Whatever the case, it was obvious we were both happy to see each other and we immediately got to catching up. I remember lying there with him. He was playing with my hair. My face was hidden, so he didn't see the fact that I was near tears because I was so happy to see him. He made me feel like I was home.

He told me he had a surprise for me, but that he would wait till Friday night...which was fine. I suspected he had brought that camera strap ring back, but I wasn't sure. We fell asleep that night, happy as pie to be with each other in the same city again.

And Friday happened. It was a particularly rough day at work...and it was scorching hot outside. By the time I got back to the apartment, I was miserable. We took our time, waited till it got dark out and decided to head to dinner...but, first, we wanted to take a walk on the Highline. I had purposely avoided walking on it (even though it was right outside of my apartment) until he came since it was new and something we wanted to try together.

We strolled. It was a gorgeous summer evening in Manhattan...and, like people do, we decided to sit on a bench and admire the scenery. We sat down and I began commenting on the architecture of the Standard Hotel when he put his arm around me.

His hand was shaking...I thought he had too much coffee (which he said later might have been partially to blame.)

I turned to him when he said he had that surprise.

In the dark, I saw him fumbling around and finally he pulled out that camera strap ring. That made me smile. I guess, to us, it had been a signifier of an unspoken promise we made to each other a year before on that hot subway platform.

But wait...then he said that he thought I might want a better ring...so, a few seconds more of fumbling and he was on one knee in front of me.

Which is when he asked me to marry him...and after several repetitions of me saying (louder and louder) "what are you doing?" and him turning blue holding his breath, waiting for me to answer, I yelled "of course!"

That time my father threatened Charles' life if he ever hurt me...Happy Engagement Party!

And that was that. I moved to LA in December of that year and we married in August of 2011...the day Hurricane Irene hit the east coast (and our wedding was right on the Hudson - that's right, I'm a hurricane bride...and did I mention, we went to the first diner we ever met at on our wedding night to have a plate of disco fries in our wedding garb? Yeah, we totally did that.) August 27th, 2011, to be exact...which would make today our two year anniversary.

BOOM! Marriage!

I know people say "you just know" when it comes to who you end up spending the rest of your life with...and, for a while, I didn't even want to get married. I was totally ready to live alone, become an avante garde artist with a geometric haircut...maybe buy a cat...until that first time I met Charles in 2009.

Something shifted...and I can even remember the one time I daydreamed about our wedding and was in total shock. (That was in that two week span between the first time we reunited and that wedding we went to.)

The last two years have been beautiful. Everyday we're learning more about each other. Everyday our communication gets better. We talk things through. We plan for the future. We laugh...a lot...probably a bizarre amount. We have rough patches we help each other through.

We always say "I love you" when we say goodbye and we never go to sleep angry.

He is the most amazing man I've ever met and loves and supports me in his special ways. What can I say? I really lucked out.

So, to you, Charlesband, thank you for two great years and here's to many, many more until we're old and grey and awesome. We'll have a great story to tell our grandkids and I can't wait. I love you so, so much.

Your wife,
Nami

4 comments:

  1. This was a beautiful story, Nami. I found myself being weird and smiling at the computer screen as i read it :-) Happy Anniversary!

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    1. Ahhh, being weird & smiling at your computer you say? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
      Thanks for taking the time to read it, Davida! It means a lot! And thanks for the anniversary well-wishes.
      Upward & onward we go!

      Also, I miss you guys!
      If you & Julia make it over to the tents during Fashion Week, be sure to get in touch and let me know when you'll be there.
      A hug or 10 is in order!

      xo!
      N

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  2. I was in love with you guys back then when it was happening... and I just fell in love all over again after reading your post. Thanks for letting me share the awesomeness of The Owl & The Hare. Here's to many more adventures between you both! I'll never forget Irene!

    xo, Susan

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    1. It seems like so long ago, Susan!
      Remember all that drama?! You got to experience it firsthand...and I'll always remember that you were the one who texted that New Years to see how my holiday was and me texting you back, driving back from the airport, that we had broken up.

      And you, Harry, and the little one dancing together at the wedding...I'll never forget it.
      Ahhhhh, the memories. I miss you like crazy.

      xo!
      N

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