Once upon a time, in a faraway land (to many, known as Kansas), in a teeny tiny town, lived two young kids.
These two kids were very good friends. One friend had a girlfriend and the other friend probably was never able to take any sort of hint that she wasn't wanted around all the time, so she was around. All the time. She hung out with the friend and girlfriend all the time.
The third-wheel friend also had a boyfriend who told her nonchalantly and in a joking manner that she was probably in love with her friend.
The friend did not like hearing such things because he was just her friend. And would never be anything more. He was Matt, for Gods sake.
Sixteen years later, those two friends have been married for eight years, have three children, a dog, a trampoline and don't remember much from 16 years ago because... well, because life at the moment is madness... but I can tell you that in January of 2001, none of this had ever entered my mind.
Our love story is funny because never during that time when I was the third-wheel friend (yes, that was me!) was I imagining my life with Matt. Because he was my friend. He was nothing more.
Yes, he had an outrageous smile that made your stomach do flips and his hair always seemed wet because he probably managed to let him take gym class four times a day.
Matt was charming in that he could get just about anyone to do what he wanted, just by smiling. Why do you think he sat next to the odd Spanish teacher's desk his junior year? That gal was blushing all class long.
How on earth did we end up together?
Here's what I can tell you.
I had a New Year's Eve party with my friends (who Matt still makes fun of - listen, we may not have been as "cool" as Matt and his buddies back in the day, but my friends were good friends and we made our fun... all legal fun) and somehow Matt ended up there (he is a year older than me so why he was at a high school party must show you the deep-down love he had for me - ha). I was trusted to have a sleepover... because seriously, none of my friends and I had any of those lovey dovey feelings for each other, but somehow, my relationship with Matt took a turn that night. And it was from nothing, except flirting, and being mature and throwing carrots at each other (high school, people).
Since he was in college and his break was a little longer, he was around - he was at a basketball game where I hurt my knee (I DID hurt it... I just probably pushed my recovery time a little longer than needed!) and we sat together.
A few weeks later, we are at a movie together - "Save the Last Dance".
And that was it. The full-on love fest began with hand-holding. And then a conversation in the car, with his brother Michael in the backseat asleep, about what was going on, should we be doing this, is Michael going to hate us.
Side note: I love Michael to death and I have since 7th grade. Matt has joked that he thinks I might have married the wrong Clark boy because for all the things Matt doesn't do (or doesn't remember to do), Michael usually does do. My love for that kid though is full-on brother mode and I'm taking applications for for a sweet sister-in-law for myself (or more for Michael... whatever).
Despite it all, we decided we'd give our relationship a shot. And the rest is history.
|They let us get a dog.|
|They let me teach him to ski (that was fun...NOT)!|
|They actually let us get married.|
|I watched many Newman Jet basketball games in my lifetime!|
I sucked at that and our time apart lasted maybe a week.
I don't think we ever thought the third-wheel and the kid with the great smile would end up happily ever after.
But that's the fun of living your own story, your own fairy-tale. You get to write it all.