The Last 5 Years

Five years ago I managed to drink enough alcohol to board a plane to Phoenix for my brother’s wedding. I was fresh off of my divorce, having just gotten my name back, and was still very much in my Honeybadger Player mode. (Honeybadger Player don’t give a shit. Honeybadger Player just wants to have fun and no loyalties) I was “dating” 5 guys at the time and enjoying not having any emotional attachment to them while gleaning the perks of going out on the town with nice guys, sharing a few drinks and good laughs, and perhaps a makeout session on my couch or two.

Five years ago today I walked into my brother’s wedding rehearsal planning on being bored out of my mind (as most wedding rehearsals are) and spending my time chasing around my 2.5 year old nephew who had made the trip with my oldest brother to the wedding since his wife was at home on bedrest. I was standing inside the airplane hangar being used as the wedding/reception site while waiting for everyone to get there so we could go outside to rehearse…I’m pretty sure I was reading some historical plaque on the museum’s wall when I turned around and saw this unbelievably hot guy I pseudo-recognized.

When I was 15, my brother graduated from the United States Naval Academy. His roommate was a guy named Matt. I remember seeing him off and on, specifically at graduation when our families met and my dad razzed him for choosing Marines and welcomed him to the corps. I was sunburnt that day from sitting in the stands where the sun could reflect off of all the white hats below us and whatever wasn’t burning straight into my skin bounced right back up at me. My Greek powers can only do so much, so I was cooked-lobster red by the time the ceremony was over.

Matt was just my brother’s roommate then. Somehow, he had gotten really hot over the 7 years since I had last seen him. I still remember well the white button up shirt he wore that had a blue/green thin plaid pattern on it and was tucked in, the way his jeans hugged his ass just enough to show it off without being gay/hipster/cowboy, the noticeable belt buckle that gave away that he was a Texan, and his smile…oh man. When he smiled he radiated that he was genuine.

Anyway, I checked him out during the rehearsal, and at the party that night I kindly asked my brother permission to screw his best friend for the weekend (yes, I’m a classy broad). He told me to go ahead and try, but that Matt isn’t a one night stand guy. I rebuttled with “then I guess it’s good we have two nights, then?”.

My eldest brother needed to get my nephew back to the hotel for the night and my mom went with them, but dad & I stayed behind because Matt offered to drive us back to the hotel. One of their other friends was also in the car with us and shared the back seat with my dad while Matt & I talked up front. Seemed to be going well, we laughed and had things in common…my goal for at least one night of the weekend was on track. I slipped him my number when he dropped us off at the hotel, per my brother’s guidance on how to be “smooth”.

And you know what? The jackass didn’t even call me the next day. The wedding wasn’t until 6pm and not one peep. So I figured he wasn’t interested and went about my business. At the wedding Matt said a cordial hello, while looking infuriatingly handsome in his dress blues, but we didn’t speak beyond that. We’re at the altar watching my brother and his wife exchange vows and I catch this motherfucker staring at me. Seriously? At this point I was livid and confused. I don’t play games and I hate mix signals. He was giving me this weird look the ENTIRE ceremony.

After the ceremony, everyone moved into the hangar for the reception. I had a great time talking to Matt’s sister-in-law Lindy, whose husband was deployed but was a great friend of my brother’s so she came. I spent a good deal of the reception dancing with my nephew (who looks beyond adorable in a tux, might I add), chatting with my new sister-in-law, and teasing my brothers. At one point Matt asked me to dance and we did, but we didn’t say much. (note: later I was told that Matt was wandering around the entire night looking for me to dance with but I was always somewhere else. Can’t help it that I’m a social butterfly…)

Afterwards, the bridal party decided to go out to downtown Phoenix for drinks and debauchery. That led to us being back in his room at the hotel and not sleeping the entire night because we were mostly laughing and talking all night. At 6:30 he drove me to my hotel so I could make my family’s early-morning departure for the airport. I had borrowed his sweatshirt to walk to the car that chilly morning, and when I went to give it to him he insisted I return it when I visit him in San Diego. I smirked, kept it, but didn’t expect anything of it.

He was stationed in San Diego, CA. I lived in Washington, DC. Things like that just don’t work out.

So I resided myself that it’d at least be fun to go see San Diego, and at least I enjoyed the company of that gentleman, so why not. That night he called when he landed and I booked my ticket to go see him two weeks later. Anyone that knows me knows I HATE flying. My anxiety is horrible with it. Not only did I make that flight, but we flew back and forth to see each other for a few months before he deployed. I did everything in my power to not fall for him, to push him away, but he was steadfast and recognized it was my hurt acting out.

While he was deployed he invited me to spend his R&R with him in Tokyo, Japan AND I ACTUALLY GOT ON A PLANE FOR 14 HOURS TO GO SEE HIM. How the hell I managed it, I’ll never know. Close to the end of our trip, while wandering around in a park in Shibuya after a delicious Turkish dinner, Matthew dropped down one knee and asked me to marry him.

That man is now my husband. In the last 5 years I have managed to have a better hold on my anxiety than I ever have before, and I know it’s because of his support. We now have two wonderful children. We still write each other love letters. I still get giddy when he’s coming home after a work trip. He encourages my passions and balances me out in a way I never knew was possible. He is also my best friend.

Matthew, my darling, I carry your heart. Thank you for carrying mine. ❤

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