In lieu of writing an epic account of our love story that would give War and Peace a run for its word count, here’s a timeline with pictures instead. You’re welcome.
1485: Thomas Malory publishes Le Morte d’Arthur
October 2006: My roommate tells me of her weird new coworker who always wears a gray baseball cap to work. A couple weeks later, I see a guy who fits her description while walking back to the dorms. I don’t think he’s weird. I think he’s cute.
7 or 8 March 2007: We are introduced at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, on our way to England, Wales, and Ireland for a class we are both taking. He and I were both studying King Arthur, so we spend a lot of time “researching” (read: goofing off) together.
15 March 2007: As I was taking this photo, I realized that this man had become, in just seven days, very important to me. I wanted him to be a part of my life.
Summer 2007: He stays in Minnesota, I go home to Colorado. By the time school starts up again, we’re best friends.
12 October 2007: My roommates, LT (he’s still a civvie at this point) and I go out to Olive Garden to celebrate our first paychecks of the year. During dinner, we are all laughing when I have a made-for-TV moment. The laughter softens and blurs for just a second, and I hear myself coming to the realization that I was in love with my best friend.
13 October 2007-spring 2008: I go crazy trying to not love this man, especially after he tells me he just wants to be friends. He is also going crazy, because he doesn’t want to pursue me, only to leave me in a few months to join the military.
March 2008: A year after our UK trip, we accidentally* end up on the same mission trip to Mexico. I try to spend as much time away from him as possible, because 1) I didn’t want to love him and 2) I was trying to toughen myself up for when he would join the Marines in two months. He notices my strange behavior, calls me out on it. We talk, he assures me we will still keep in touch, and I give up trying to eradicate my romantic feelings for him, even if the feelings aren’t mutual (which I soon learned they were).
14 April 2008: [Civvie] LT tells me he wants to talk while we are in the sauna. I get sort of upset, because if he tells me again he just wants to be friends, I am going to give him a piece of my mind and tell him off for being so wonderful and attractive and fun all the time. Instead, he tells me he wants to court me (dating with the intent of seeking marriage, not some strange basketball or tennis ritual). Sweet! Only maybe not quite yet, since he is about to leave for the military. Oh.
“So what do I tell Rachel?” I ask. (Rachel was my best friend and roommate, who had been tracking our relationship from the beginning)
“What do you tell Rachel? …You tell her I declared my love for you.”
“But you didn’t.”
“Well…I love you!”
(cue birds chirping and music playing as I swoon. Even more than I was swooning earlier, considering he was shirtless in his bathing suit)
Summer 2008: He is off training to become a Marine and is gone all summer. I write him an old-fashioned letter every day.
November 2008: He flies me down to Virginia to attend the Marine Corps Birthday Ball with him. Considering I’d been slaving away at school, I really feel like Cinderella.
6 April 2009: LT gets a couple of weeks to move from VA to CA. He stops in MN to see his parents (and me!). It’s almost Easter break, and Colorado is on the way to California, so I convince him to take me with him and drop me off at my parents’ house. While I am waiting for him to pick me up, I get a message from a mutual friend, telling me to look outside by the tree in front of my apartment building. There’s half a puzzle with a message on the back. I put together the pieces and there’s a riddle that leads me to the bridge on campus. Underneath the bridge is the other half of the puzzle. The riddle on the back leads me to the cross by the lake, where my beloved is kneeling and has his mother’s diamond ring. I don’t remember what he said (who ever does?), but I accepted his proposal and we shared our first kiss.