I met you when I was 16. Just a kid with a crush. Too afraid to muster up any courage to say hello. It was months until I finally said anything, and when I did, I received a simple smile. That smile. A year went by, and in that time we’d become Myspace friends. Still no actual words exchanged. I listened to every song you posted and read every blog you wrote. You’ve always been wonderful with words.
As fate would have it, we went on the same youth group trip to Chicago after we graduated. I actually had no clue you’d be going, but when I saw you signing in that morning, my heart froze.
Two full days into the trip, and I still had no courage at all to say anything, only smiles and trembling hands.
But then we all went to the pier one afternoon, and you had your camera.
I had already seen all your photography on Myspace so I knew I could confidently compliment your work. You were amazing, even back then.
And all of a sudden we were friends, just enjoying each other’s company.
Later on that trip we were paired up to organize a library together. That’s when you told me you had a boyfriend. But I didn’t care. And it seemed you didn’t either. A month later you broke up with him and decided to go to the same college as me. Thank God you did. You weren’t in the same classes as me, but at least I could see you almost every day.
After Chicago though, I had returned to my scared self, and we spoke maybe once every few days.
But thankfully one of those days you told me about the thrift store game and how you wanted to get a group of friends to play it. I could help with that. So we invited people, told them the game, and told them where to meet us that night. I got there. You got there.
No one else showed up.
I sheepishly muttered, “We should still play!” And there you were again with that smile.
So we played, and we talked. And we laughed at the ridiculous outfits we picked out for one another. You looked straight pentecostal, and I looked like a 90's mom on vacation in Orlando. We fought over who won. But you definitely won. We showed off our outfits in McDonald’s while enjoying fries and M&M McFlurries. Only got a few weird looks. After our desserts, we went back outside to our cars. You elegantly pointed out the similarities between our two vehicles (they were maroon lol), and I sarcastically agreed saying they were practically the same. Looking up at a street lamp light above them, you said, “It’s like they’re getting married!” So of course, we held a ceremony for our cars as they entered into holy matrimony. And just like in the movies, it starts down pouring. And just like Kinsey, you busted out laughing and screamed,
“Let’s have a dance party!”
So I blared “All I Ever Wanted” by Basshunter from my car, and we danced like maniacs under that street lamp as cars passed us.
That was the night I fell in love with you. And even though it’s stupid with the cheesiest lyrics, that song we danced to is truer now than ever.
"All I ever wanted
Was to see you smiling
All I ever wanted
Was to make you mine
I know that I love you
Oh baby why don't you see
That all I ever wanted
Was you and me"
It’s only ever been you, Kinsey. It’s almost been 9 years since that night, and nothing’s changed for me. I’m still that scared, 17 year old kid, in love with a wonderful, talented, beautiful woman. And here we are years later, you’re an accomplished photographer, respected in your industry, and admired by many. And I’m so proud of you, you’re everything I knew you’d become and more. The truth is though, I’ve always been terrified being with you. Because I’ve always known you’ve never needed me. I knew that reading your Myspace blogs. I knew that night in the thrift store. You’re strong, compassionate, you’re so smart, absolutely brilliant, you’re stunningly gorgeous, and you have a drive that almost no one can match. I’ve always known that about you. It’s why I’m in love with you. And you’ve made me a better person because of who you are.
I guess I’ve just always wanted to show you that I could be like you, that I could accomplish my goals, be successful, and hopefully give you everything you’d want. But I’m not. At least not now. And my biggest fear is failing you, even more so, losing you in the process. Because you’d finally see how truly weak I am. Which I am. I can sing, I can write songs, but what am I if I can’t take care of you, if I can’t be there for you? Pathetic. A failure. A waste of space. Maybe I am. But one thing still rings inside of me. I am in love with you. And you of all people know how competitive I am, to the point of obsession at times, especially with myself. And I’m not about to let that weak ass, scared teenager beat me. I’ve made a lot of stupid decisions the past seven years of our marriage because of my insecurities, but the one stupid decision that I refuse to make is give up. On you. On us. On our future together. My favorite thing in the world is to make you smile. And I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you smiling as long as I can breathe. You’re everything to me, Kinsey.
You’re my home. It’s only ever been you. And I believe our story is just beginning.