Saturday, July 17, 2010

If ya'll don't mind...

I'll tell you a bit about my sailor and I. If you don't wanna hear the story, you don't have to read this blog. I just figured if ya'll are reading my blogs, you might want to know the story behind me! Also, anyone who's reading this can feel free to post their stories too. It's always fun to tell or read about a military couple's relationships!

So I met Patrick during a musical in 2008. Before then, he was just a kid two grades ahead of me who had dreads at my school. We went to a relatively small school, with each class averaging about 90 kids. So the fact that I didn't know him was surprising. I had a lead role and he was playing a supporting role. The night of the production, my voice was gone. I had bronchitis, and it was a nightmare. I was back stage coughing so hard that my throat was quite literally bleeding (gross, I know.) And although everyone felt bad, they were also nervous and in a hurry to get to spots and listen for the cues. The one person I remember actually stopping to make sure I was okay and give me a few encouraging words was Patrick. He hugged me and the time stopped for what seemed forever. Although, no, this was not love at first sight whatsoever. It was friendship at first sight. He had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend.

Soon after, he became single, while I was still taken for many months following. We were best friends. Better than any other friendship I'd ever seen or experienced. I could tell him everything and anything, and he could do the same to me. He cried to me, and I cried to him. He'd pick me up on nights where I'd need out of my house and we'd pass the time watching ridiculously stupid horror movies. As you can probably see where this is going, one of us fell in love with the other. Can you tell who fell first? Him. He loved me differently and told me very honestly. Being that I'd been with the same guy for almost 2 years, this only made me feel awkward around him. I started worrying that he'd mistake joking for flirting, or mistake a long friendly hug for a love-love hug. Soon after, we found a way to both "co-exist" with one of us being in love with the other, while the other being glad to finally have a best friend she could trust and depend on.

As you can guess, that boyfriend didn't last forever. And only wanting to be friends didn't last forever either. Sadly, neither did civilian life. He dropped me off at my house the night before he left for bootcamp in his little green Dodge Dakota Sport. He made me promise that someday I'd let him take me on a date, even if I was married. He also asked if he could kiss my forehead. I smiled and blushed, then agreed to the date and allowed him to kiss my forehead. That same night, the boyfriend and I broke up. The entire time he was in bootcamp I waited by the mailbox for letters every morning. I even had a lemonade stand to raise a few dollars for stamps because I didn't want my parents to buy them. I was 16 years old, currently a senior in high school and graduating a year early. After he received his phone, we began talking every single night. It wasn't small conversations. They lasted hours. They were about anything and everything. And soon, he got the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend. I said no, because I wanted him to ask in person. So he'd send videos to my cell, asking me to be his girlfriend. I continued to deny him. One day I was talking to him and I was explaining something from school and said "well I told her my boyfriend wasn't gonna be around for a few more months" or something of the sort. And he got real quiet and asked, "Who's your boyfriend?" It took me a few seconds to realize that we were dating, and neither of us even consciously knew it.

I was also extremely lucky with the fact that he had a very wonderful and loving family who treated me as a daughter of their own. When times got difficult without him, I could just drive to their house, enjoy a very delicious dinner and watch a movie with the family, then fall asleep in his bed with his smell on the pillow. Anyone with the last name of Dangrow became my best friend in the world. Although Patrick and I were very far apart, I had the next closest thing, and they loved me as one of their own. For that, I am forever grateful.

First time we got to see each other as a couple was in Groton, Connecticut while he was in submarine school. His family and I drove up for the first time to visit him. As we drove past the base, not quite sure where to park or wait for him, the rain was beating down on the car. It was dark and only the street lights were lighting the wet street. We parked in a small car repair lot across the street from the gates to get in or out. Soon enough, there he was across the street. In his dress blues, with his peacoat on overtop. My heart was beating so fast that I thought I was going to pass out. Before I even realized what I was doing, the car door was open and I was running across the parking lot and into his arms. I can still remember the way his cheeks smelled - fresh, newly shaved, soft. Yes, they smelled soft. It was raining on us, yet we couldn't even feel it. After a few moments, I shared him with his family. Our first kiss was on the car ride to the hotel. We couldn't let each other go, not for one single second. It was perfect and I can easily say hands down, it was the best day of my entire life.

Months and months and months and months and even more months went by. We were always 500 miles apart, although we managed to always keep it together. We had never even experienced having a normal civilian relationship together, so this is all we've ever known. I visited him in Groton, Ct. Then in Providence, RI. Then when he was stationed in Norfolk, VA *a godsend* I started visiting there.

I was accepted at ODU, which is basically a hop, skip and a jump from his base. I celebrated my 17th birthday and graduated high school in the same week while he was underway. I've seen him twice this summer, and the second time, which was last weekend, he proposed. :) He drove TEN hours after a full work week on a Friday (his first duty free weekend in a while) to arrive in our little hometown of Greenville, Pennsylvania around 3am. I was passed out on the couch at his house and he awoke me with a kiss :) Saturday evening he got down on one knee and surprised me completely by asking me to marry him. Obviously I said yes, although being that Patrick is one very predictable guy, I was definitely surprised to be surprised. This I can honestly say ranks up there in favorite days right next to the rainy day in Groton, Connecticut when we first saw each other as a couple.

So that's our story. I sure hope you've enjoyed reading it a tenth as much as I've enjoyed living it!

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