My junior year of college I was cast as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest. It remains one of my favorite productions 1. because I got to wear a really fun costume that looked like drapery (and had a corset) and 2. because I got to learn how to do a British accent.
I'll also add that one of my lines always got a really big laugh...and I still, to this day, have no idea why. Perhaps the "dim" part of Cecily Cardew isn't so unlike Courtney Walsh.
One night, after rehearsal I walked into my sorority house to find I'd missed one of those events, the kind where the girls bring their guy friends in to embarrass their pledge daughters...at this hour, there were still some stragglers hanging around, one of which was a guy I'd met in the dorms the year before.
I didn't like him at all.
I'll spare you the details, but this guy was soooo not my type. He was flirty and thought he was so funny and I was pretty sure he'd left a string of broken-ish hearts in his wake.
And besides, I had a crush on someone else.
Then I realized that same guy I'd written off last year was sitting at the baby grand piano in our front room. Now, don't get me wrong, I knew this was his way of impressing girls, but and I hated to admit it...it was kind of impressive. I mean, he was good. And several of my sorority sisters were great singers, so I walked into what sounded like a rehearsal for Rent.
My first thought was, HE has TALENT?
I admit. I had misjudged him. He was more than I originally thought. (How often does that happen?) So I stayed awhile. And sang awhile (this was before I realized I'm really not a very good singer) and that was that.
But a few days later, that piano-playing flirt asked one of my sorority sisters about me.
And I can't tell you what came over me. I think it might've been morbid curiosity, but I agreed to go out with him. I was certain it wouldn't go anywhere (and said as much to him) and positive we weren't right for each other (and told him so) and convinced my initial impression about him had to be at least a little bit right (it was.)
But that night, I found myself at Perkins after rehearsal where I sat across from this boy until 5 a.m. talking about everything. I drank a Coke and he had a bottomless tea because neither of us had any money.
Turns out, he'd been away at a summer camp where he found Jesus and he couldn't wait to tell someone about it...
That night, I left pretty certain I knew everything about that guy. I mean, he told me things he'd never told anyone. Things you can't un-tell. That's not to say I understood him by any stretch, but he'd let me in to his world in a way that no one else ever had.
When my theatre professor walked in to Perkins for breakfast, I realized we needed to leave (remember when you could pull an all-nighter and actually recover from it?)
So we went home. And later that day, everyone I knew told me it was a terrible idea, dating this guy. What was I thinking? Why would I even consider it? Didn't I know his reputation?
And I can't explain it. Because it really didn't make a bit of sense for someone like me to spend so much time with someone like him...
It's hard to find someone to love when you're young...because neither of you really knows who you are yet. You make mistakes. You say stupid things. But when you get to the other side of it, well, it's kind of a beautiful thing...
That Perkins date was 16 years ago today. And while I won't lie to you and tell you everything has always been perfect, I will tell you that I'm very, very thankful I didn't listen to everyone else...
Because this guy? He's my favorite "mistake."
No one, not even me, can believe how thankful I am to have this man in my life. Because every day I think of another reason to love him. Even though he taught my kids to throw their socks in the ceiling fan.
Today I'm celebrating 16 years with my best friend...
And looking forward to 100 more...