...of how Bear and I met.
I would like to preface this by admitting that I am a delusional, romantic person, and my ideas of love and courtship were fed by a healthy diet of semi-romantic but age-appropraite novels in which the moment of true love happens instantly, and the high school relationship ends in a happy marriage. Does this happen? Sure, to some people. But realistically, not to everyone.
By the time I met Bear, I had already had my heart broken and broken a few hearts. I was done with boys. I had spent a year as a free agent and decided that since all boys were stupid, I was a lesbian. Who never had a girlfriend. It was really just easier to hang out with the guys I did like as friends, with no pressure, that way. Did I really think I was gay? Well, girls are pretty. I think I just misread some natural signs, since I now have learned that lots of girls think other girls are attractive, but not in a sexual way. At any rate, saying once "hey, she's pretty" and being labeled a lesbian made it easier to have guy friends, and I wasn't complaining about how uncomplicated it seemed after a string of lousy relationships lasting three months or less.
Anyway, a couple friends of mine had a party at their house and invited a ton of their friends. Some people I knew, but others were strangers to me. After a couple drinks, I gained that liquid courage to talk to the new faces. One guy drew me in particular, which was odd to me, since I hadn't felt anything like that for a guy in a year or so, but I figured conversation never hurt anyone. He was rolling his own cigarettes, which I found fascinating. My grandfather used to do that. I never saw anyone younger than an old man do that before. He had kind eyes and a ready smile, and I instantly felt I could trust him.
I don't really remember much of what we talked about, other than at one point I got to talking about how I really wanted to go to Ireland. He said he wanted to, as well. I then promised to take him to Ireland one day, since I figured I would be rich and famous somehow. Oh, the things we believe when we're 19. So confident. At a party with people older than I was, feeling fairly invincible, and dangerously badass. Yes, that was the headstrong me he met that night.
I think he put his number in my phone under an alias that night, but he says he didn't. At any rate, we never talked on the phone or otherwise until another night. A group of friends, many of whom were at that party, and I were planning to have dinner and see Knocked Up at the local cinema. At dinner, I saw him again. He had a friend with him, who appeared to be his girlfriend. I couldn't even remember his name, but I was jealous thinking he was taken. I couldn't help it. It made no sense, and it irritated me, but I was angry with her and myself for the whole situation. She was so much prettier than I was (and I still think she's prettier than me); tall, dark, relaxed and thin, with an ease in herself that I could never achieve. She is older than I am, more worldly, and I assumed, more like what I guy would want. Meanwhile, I was this short, awkward almost-20-something who was incredibly self-concious and painfully obvious kid. The contrast overwhelmed me. After dinner, I invited them both to join us to the theater, but she had plans and he went with her. To me, this confirmed what I thought. He was unavailable. I decided to forget about him.
At this time, we were rehearsing for a show, and I was helping with set construction as well as an actor in the musical. My friend who was in charge of designing and constructing the set called Bear up for help. Imagine my surprise when he showed up! Suddenly, I was useless and awkward and saying ridiculously stupid things in an attempt to impress him. Ah, the awkward crush. He rolled me cigarettes and we talked about nothing in particular. He became a member of the running crew. We spent a lot of time together leading up to opening night... so much so, my friend was beginning to tease me about it.
Opening night came and with it, an opening night party. At this party, someone initiated a kissing game. Eventually, Bear turned to me and I backed out. I took an out-of-town friend to her car instead, and he offered to walk us both. I thanked her for coming out to see the show and we waved her off, left alone on the dark driveway. This is about when he asked if he could kiss me.
I've never been asked to be kissed before. My first kiss was so unexpected and unromantic, I just expected guys to be spontaneous and callus about whether the girl even wanted a kiss. I suddenly had this option to say yes or no. If I said no, that would have been the end of the whole show-crush, an experience I was beginning to chalk up to irrational hormonal imbalances and close proximity during a show that makes people think they have a connection that they don't really have in the real world. But I said yes.
He took me home that night. Shortly thereafter I moved in with him, and we've been together ever since. It's not a very romantic story, and it has some incriminating bits to it, but it's our story nevertheless. Our entire life together started at that patio party and picked up speed at the cast party. We spent a lot of the early years drinking and partying and generally going out all the time. The more recent years have been spent at home in PJs watching TV, or cleaning the house together, or having reading dates. Our life has changed pace as we move from one phase to the next. The only thing that seems to remain a constant is our relentless goofiness!
Boo-Bear, I love you with all my heart and I can't wait to share forever with you! xo, me