"I was June and you were Johnny Cash"

I don't think I've ever told you guys how I met my husband.

Well, it's your lucky day! 'Cuz I'm about to...

In the fall of 2005, I was a junior at Georgia Southern University and still reeling from the breakup (you know, the one where you thought- someday- you were going to marry that person and then...well...you didn't?). My dear friends, Lauren and Ray (who, coincidentally, are now married with a beautiful baby boy) were going out to a bar called Dos Primos (more affectionately known simply as Dos) and invited me to come along.

I was not feeling particularly up to it. But didn't want to sit in my dorm all by myself, so I agreed.

When I got to Ray's dorm, I was happily surprised to learn another guy would be coming along with us.

Hooray! I thought. I won't be the third wheel.

And then another surprise: he was supposed to meet up with someone else.

So I became the fifth wheel instead.

I remember when Pierce first pulled into the parking lot, driving his 1981 El Camino. As he strolled over to greet us, I took inventory, making note of his tall, lean build and messy college-boy look: khaki shorts, salmon Le Tigre button-up, and baseball cap. I couldn't see too much of his face, but he seemed cute.

Still, I didn't have any hopes. Pierce was there to meet up with someone else, a girl named Brittany he and Ray worked with at Rite-Aid, so I quickly lost interest.

The night was uneventful - save Brittany's enthusiastic declarations of hoping to get laid at some point that weekend (she had just gotten out of a three-year relationship, apparently) - and most of what I remember was Pierce's quiet presence inside the noisy, crowded bar and my increasing curiosity about him.

Also, as though we were characters in a story, I remember walking home that night, watching Brittany and Pierce leave, and Ray asking me, "So do you think Pierce is attractive?"

I shrugged. "Yeah, but he doesn't seem interested in me."

"Oh, Brittany's not his type, trust me," Ray replied. "I bet you guys would be good together. Just don't break his heart."

And that, my friends, is what we call "foreshadowing."

We dated. And I broke his heart.

It was definitely unintentional, but I just wasn't over my ex, who came back around again at the end of the school year. Pierce, who was the ever-patient, always understanding male version of Persephone knew I still loved my ex...and I knew I would never feel right about dating Pierce if I couldn't be totally committed to him.

So we stayed friends. Which really means our large group of friends were together almost every night and Pierce and I were with them, too. I thought he was a great guy, but, to me, it would feel like cheating if I dated him while still carrying a torch for someone else. Our friends saw it a little differently (i.e. they liked us together and thought I was stringing him along...you know all the fun stuff you hear when you're so close you're practically family).

Then my ex made it easy for me and said, "Hey, I still love you!" and I went to Greece for the summer thinking I could finally put Pierce completely and totally in the "friend" box and leave him there.

But then I got a letter.

Before I left for Greece, my older sister hosted a toga party for me to celebrate. I gave everyone there my address in Thessaloniki so they could write to me if they wanted. I hoped they would (I love getting mail!) but, truth be told, I wasn't really expecting anything.

At this point, my ex and I were what I call "conditionally back together" meaning we were monogamous but still dealing with a few issues. We wrote to each other multiple times a week online, but I kept feeling a quiet stirring in my heart, something I tried very hard to ignore. Things were not the same with my ex - nor, I would come to find out, would they ever be - and I had moved on without even knowing it.

The confirmation came when I got Pierce's letter. Pierce's handwritten letter. In an envelope and everything. With a stamp.

I vividly remember sitting on my bed in the hotel, reading his funny anecdotes about what was happening back at home with our friends (a break-up, a concert, a get-together) and becoming increasingly upset. Why had Pierce written me a letter? He wasn't supposed to be doing things like that, not when my ex was back in the picture. What was he thinking?

At the end of the letter, I found out.

"It's so hard to imagine that you're halfway around the world right now. But I think it's great that you're doing something you love. All I've ever wanted is for you to be happy."

And then I cried. I was so angry. Mostly at myself. I even called Pierce, forgetting about the time difference, and gave him a piece of my mind. 

I didn't want to admit it, but I was angry because Pierce's letter had just proved all the things I had no intention of saying aloud. And it kind of broke my heart because all I wanted at that time was for my ex and I to have the same incredible relationship we'd once enjoyed.

When I got back from Greece, Pierce and I were still hanging out with our friends every day, but he barely spoke to me. For me, the letter had held up a mirror to my heart and revealed how I truly felt for him. For Pierce, the letter had been a goodbye.

About two months into my senior year at school, I broke it off with my ex for good. I knew that Pierce's polite (and silent) refusal to do more than simply be in the same room with me was evidence that he still cared.

After all, my mom always says "Anger is not the opposite of love. Indifference is. If you are still angry, you still care."

So after a weekend at home in October, I drove back to Statesboro and listened to Johnny Cash and Citizen Cope, two of Pierce's favorites. The long stretch on I-16 was pure bliss for me. Somewhere in the middle of Laurens County and the bridge of "Hurricane Waters" I suddenly- joyfully- realized I was in love with Pierce.

It took a bit of time, but once he found out my ex and I were over, Pierce started talking to me again. And talking turned into flirting. And flirting turned into a sweet, hesitant kiss in our friend Sam's apartment.

We got together officially on October 21, 2006- the same day Pierce met my dad for the first time- and we got engaged on March 22, 2008.

The rest, they say, is history.


C.Curley said...

This is a great story! :) I can relate to a lot of it with the ex boyfriend and trying to feel something you didn't really feel anymore. It just goes to show that try as we may to do what we think is right for us, God will continue to insist we do what is perfect for us instead. :)

Chelsi said...

Oh my laws, girl, I felt like I was reading a book. I kept reading to find out what happened next. I love your writing style, me being a bookworm and all. You two are so cute! I'm officially addicted to your blog, all because of this page haha. You are a cutie! Thanks for sharing such a cute story!

- Chelsi from Truly Yours

My name is Wendi. said...

Well, thank you Chelsi! You are such a sweetheart and I'm glad you enjoyed our little love story! Thanks for reading!