06 January 2006

In Sickness and in Health

[posted by Amy]

Colin and I have reached the "wood" anniversary. Yes, folks, we have been married for five years as of today, January 6, 2006. In some respects, it's hard to believe that five years have already flown by; but mostly, it's hard for us to remember what life was like without each other.

Colin and I met in marching band in 1997. He played baritone; I played piccolo. He first caught my attention at band camp (no American Pie jokes, please) when he returned for his sophomore year with long hair and a goatee. "Wow, have you seen Colin? He looks so different!" everyone said. I looked ... and looked ... and had absolutely no idea who he was.

A few days later, Colin was standing in front of me on stage at Jesse Hall for an indoor music rehearsal during band camp. He was talking to someone else, while I happened to be looking down at the floor. That's when I saw the painted toenails. (Side note - at the time, guys who wore nail polish were considered fashionable, in an alternative sense. I was still into the alternative music scene at the time, so I liked it.) "Hmm," I thought, admiring his silver piggies. "This guy is really interesting!" A few weeks later, I found out that he had a serious girlfriend, so I dropped my "crush" and moved on to other things. Colin and I remained acquantances, but nothing more.

Fast-forward to one year later. Colin and I are both in leadership roles in the band, so we were invited to help out with the search for an interim marching band director. While asking the candidates questions, I caught Colin looking at me. Thinking that he was "checking me out," I remembered my former crush on him and took this as a good sign. I tried to call him later that week, but since he had just moved, I couldn't find a phone number anywhere. So, I sent him an e-mail, under the guise of "Hey, have you heard anything on the new band director search?"

When there was no response for a week, I sighed and moved on. Then, the e-mail came. Colin had been in Minneapolis for a conference, and was just now back to checking his e-mail. He responded to me, which kicked off a three-month exchange of e-mails over the summer of 1998. Finally, he suggested that we should meet for lunch because it was silly to just be e-mailing when we lived in the same town. "Finally!" I thought.

The lunch meeting was fine until I asked the all-important question: "What kind of music do you listen to?" (Remember that I thought he was an alternative guy.) "Oh, mostly oldies and art music." Whoa. I was NOT expecting that. He asked the question in return, and I proudly proclaimed my love for Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Garbage. We both left this lunch meeting thinking the same thing: "He/she is nice, but not someone I would date."

Later on, I decided that maybe I had been a bit hasty in my decision, so I tried to make a move: "Hey, what are you doing for the fourth of July?" Alas, I got shot down in a manner I really wasn't expecting: "My girlfriend and I are going to Jeff City." D'oh! How could we have been e-mailing for two months without any mention of a girlfriend?? I was crestfallen, but continued to reply to his e-mails, figuring that the friendship was worth it anyway.

Right before band camp 1998, Colin's girlfriend became an ex because she moved to the Dominican Republic for a Peace Corps assignment. The door was open again, but would I walk through it? I never really lost my crush for him over the summer, and I was still convinced that he felt the same way. (He didn't. He was 100 percent clueless that I was interested, much less flirting shamelessly with him.) Nonetheless, we started spending our water breaks and lunches together, but I didn't admit to anyone that I was smitten. But, I couldn't fool everyone. When I left uniform distribution early for him (something I had NEVER done because I had a leadership role in the process), my friend and fellow piccolo player Tabatha figured things out for herself. She found Colin the next day and said, "You know, Amy must really like you if she's willing to leave uniform checkout to give you a ride across town." Suddenly, the lightbulb went on in Colin's head that maybe, just maybe, I was interested in him. This wasn't such a bad prospect ...

A week later, when I picked Colin up to give him a ride to band practice, he mentioned that a mutual friend of ours wanted to know what was "up" with the two of us. Ah ha! Here was my chance! I asked him, "Really? What did you tell her?" Oh, did I put him on the hot seat! He squirmed a little bit and said, "Well, I told her that we're going to a movie on Friday night" (which was true). Grrr. I responded with a terse, "Well, that's accurate." We did end up going to a movie together, where both of us sat with our hands sitting palm up on our knees so that the other person could initiate the hand-holding. (For the record, it is the BOY'S job, not the girl's, to make that kind of a move.) Despite our lack of palm-to-palm contact, Colin went home and immediately instant-messaged a friend: "I have a girlfriend!!!" I went home pissed off, thinking that this guy was totally wasting my time.

All was resolved a few nights later when Colin was over at my apartment, watching TV. Finally, at some ridiculous hour like 1 am, I swallowed the lump in my throat and said, "So, are we ... I mean, because I wouldn't mind if we ... but we don't have to if you don't ..." He cut me off and said, "Yes." There you have it. A conversation without a single complete sentence, and we were dating. That night, I walked him out to his car, where we had our first kiss. (For the record, I initiated the kiss because Colin is a big chicken.)

Within two weeks of our relationship, I knew we were going to get married. I don't know why, but I just knew. I didn't tell Colin this, of course, for fear of giving him a heart attack. Besides, I couldn't help but wonder if I was just a rebound girlfriend, since we got together so quickly after his last girlfriend left.

Any fleeting doubts I had about Colin's love were put to rest in the winter of 2000. I came down with the most horrible stomach flu you can imagine -- seriously, I can't remember a single time in my life before or since when I felt worse. I was a total mess. Colin happened to be at my apartment when the symptoms kicked into high gear. After ruling out food poisoning as the culprit, Colin headed to the store to get Immodium, Emetrol, and lots of Gatorade. He stayed by my side the entire time, cleaning up mess after mess while trying to keep my hydrated. I remember being amazed at one point when he sat next to me in bed, holding a plastic wastebasket for me while I threw up for the umpteenth time. He administered doses of medication, and soothed me by petting my hair and back gently from time to time. The next day, I was so weak that I couldn't get out of bed. So, Colin came over, made sure I had food and drink, and even brought me my toothbrush in bed. I thanked him profusely for tending to me, and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would love this man for the rest of my life.

So, here's to Colin, my lobster and my one and only someone. We spent the day in sickness (me, with a wicked hangover) and in health (Colin, taking care of me yet again). Nonetheless, it was a special day for both of us.


At 7/1/06 01:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rien qu'un mot: Love...

I almost cried!


At 7/1/06 02:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot: Happy Anniversary!

Muriel - Too emotional

At 7/1/06 02:22, Anonymous keely said...

beautiful! congratulations :)

At 7/1/06 16:04, Anonymous Rachel said...

it's a great story! i want one someday.

At 8/1/06 04:00, Blogger Godknows said...

Congratulation, Love your story


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