Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Remembe(RED): Long Distance

A That '70s Show marathon was on. I was eight or nine episodes in, and Kelso was doing something stupid again. Because Ashton Kutcher is so dang cute, I didn't much care that his character on the show was one dimensional, but tonight I couldn't appreciate Kelso as much as usual. I was just a little distracted.

I was laying on my belly, stretched out on my new bed in my brand-spanking new apartment. It was midnight. Midnight on my very first night out of my parents house and on my own. Midnight on my very first night in my  apartment. Midnight on my very first night meeting the man who would become my husband.

We had met online three months earlier. He lived in California, and I was in Georgia. The distance between us was of little matter. In the three months since we'd started talking, we'd decided we were in love and made plans to move in together. This night was the result of all those plans. Long distance relationships everywhere stood up to salute us.

As I laid on my bed half-watching Ashton Kutcher and half-scared out of my mind, Jeremy was driving toward me. Only an hour or so away. Fate bringing him closer and closer to my doorstep...what was now our doorstep. This would be our first meeting, our first time laying eyes on each other.

My parents didn't know Jeremy had made it so close to Georgia. When they left the apartment earlier that night, they left with the small comfort of knowing that he wouldn't arrive until the next day. Like any parents would be, they were scared for me, nervous and thinking I'm sure that I had definitely lost my mind. I think they imagined being there when Jeremy arrived at the apartment...just in case, they would be there to defend me. After all, he could have been a serial killer or something. My Mama had said on more than one occasion, "You never know what kind of crazies you might meet on the internet."

And she was right. You never do know who's sitting on the other side of the computer screen. Except I did know. I knew that Jeremy was for me...as contrived and tired as it might sound, he was my soul mate. He is my soul mate.

My soul mate called in the middle of the eleventh episode of That '70s Show. When the phone rang, I nearly jumped out of my skin. I sat up on the bed and tugged at my blue and white sweater. I smoothed my crazy hair, grabbed up my ringing cell phone, and calmly said, "Hello."

Jeremy, on the other end of the line. This time only a few miles away as opposed to thousands. As ridiculous as it may be, I could have sworn his voice sounded closer. "Hey. I'm at the Bremen exit."

The next few moments were a blur. I somehow managed to gather myself and my crazy emotions and drive The Black Bullet, my super cool black Volkswagen Bug, to the Bremen exit, meeting Jeremy, a virtual stranger who had driven across the country for me--for me--at a nearly abandoned gas station. By now, it was 1:00am.

I pulled up in the parking lot, eyes searching wildly for a sign of the man I would marry. I saw his silver car parked under the sickly florescent lights of the gas station. By now, my heart was beating so fast that I thought it might stop altogether. But it didn't.

He wasn't in the car. I let out a sigh and allowed myself a moment to calm down. Amazingly, I managed to put The Black Bullet in park.

It only took a minute. A minute to change my life forever. He came out of the gas station, and I saw him.

It was the first time I laid eyes on the man I would marry after he drove across the country to be with me. It was the first time and the last time I'd ever fallen in love.

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