Ten Years Ago Today I Was Excited And Terrified

I was waiting at the airport, barely able to stand on my nervous legs. I’d hardly slept the night before, and spent the morning cleaning my little basement apartment, tidying my car, and doing other last-minute preparations.

I kept checking the arrivals board. It gave me a reason to keep pacing in the international meeting area. Eventually, the word “Arrived” appeared next to her flight number. A new wave of nerves came over me, and I thought I might pass out.

About six months before, I was checking my profile messages on a proto-social network/silly dating website called sparkmatch (which no longer exists, but was recreated as okcupid a few years later) when I got a message from a girl called kaosbutterfly. I don’t recall the details of that first message, but I remember her being impressed that my profile made reference to both Nine Inch Nails and Leonard Cohen. I checked out her profile. She was really cute, her pic looked a little like Neve Campbell, and her write up seemed pretty cool, so I messaged her back.

Sparkmatch had yielded some interesting connections.  There was a single mom in Kentucky that wanted me to move down there and help her raise her kid, and a younger girl in Minnesota who liked to lead guys on and fuck with them for some kind of sport, and some other people who had become the first online friends I’d ever made. This kaosbutterfly girl was from South Africa, almost the exact opposite side of the world,  so while I was looking forward to making a new friend from a part of the world I knew little about, I didn’t hold out hope that it was a romantic possibility.

Little did I know that she had already gone home and told her mom that she thought she’d found the perfect guy for her.

We exchanged messages over the site for a week or so, really hitting it off. Those PM’s turned into long emails, with multiple conversation threads in each. I’m not sure which of us said i first, but at one point one of us said something that the other thought was amazing, and responded with “marry me?”, and that phrase became our shorthand for “Holy crap I feel the exact same way, you are amazing”, and was eventually shortened to the initialized statement “mm”. Soon we were text chatting on MSN, and that became voice chats that would last up to 7 or 8 hours.

What a weird thing this was. We were effectively dating over the internet, probably getting to know each other in a deeper and more profound way faster than most people who date in the awkward world of real life could accomplish. We’d never met, but in a few months, we were absolutely crazy about each other, much to the confusion and/or concern of pretty much everyone we knew. It was too bad about the distance and expense of travel, because that made it very unlikely that we’d ever get to meet.

It was July when she emailed me about coming to Canada. She had a big chunk of vacation owed to her, and had saved enough money to afford a flight out, and would I be interested in having her come visit for a few weeks in September.  Of course I said yes, even though my insecurities started working overtime, now that I had to worry about presenting the reality of me, and not just the editable digital version. She had the same concern, but we rationalized that, even if we weren’t madly in love in person, we at least had enough in common to spend a few weeks hanging out. The odds of it being terrible for either of us looked pretty low.

I was able to book the first and third weeks of her visit off of my job, and planned a road trip for us, so I could show her where I grew up, and some of the interesting sights in this part of the country. We’d spend the first couple days at my place, getting over any of the awkwardness of real life, then head out on the road.

Suddenly, it was September 6th, the date of her arrival from over 30 hours of flights and a horrible stopover at the Frankfurt airport. The combination of excitement, nerves, and uncertainty was almost unbearable as I watched the doors through which the international travellers exit after dealing with Canadian customs.

Eventually people started coming through those doors, and I began to wonder if I would even recognize her when she emerged. Every female with dark hair between the ages of 20 and 40 looked like maybe they were her. My hands reached a cold, sweaty clamminess that I couldn’t seem to wipe away fast enough.

The first thing I noticed were the stripy pants she said she’d be wearing, then, as she saw me grinning awkwardly at her, she smiled widely, and I knew it was her.

The first hellos were a bit awkward, but when we finally hugged, all of that nervousness began to dissipate. I grabbed her bags for her, and we headed for my car, where I had a small bouquet of flowers waiting. We hugged again, and in spite of her travel stress, and my anxiety, it was already feeling natural.

We were about to start a three-week vacation together, having  just actually met for the first time, and already it seemed like it would be too little time before she would have to fly home again.

Fortunately, as it happened, she never used that return ticket after all.

Happy 10th Meet-aversary, my love. Thanks for circumnavigating the globe and taking a chance on some weird Canadian guy.


5 Responses to “Ten Years Ago Today I Was Excited And Terrified”

  • Kel says:

    Awwwwwww, I’m choking back tears over here. I LOVE THIS. I really do look up to you two as a role model couple. I’m so, so happy for both of you that you’ve found a love and companionship this profound. :)

    Coincidentally, this reminds me a lot of how I met and fell in love with my fiance (minus the halfway-across-the-world part).

    So much love. 😀

  • Ben says:

    Awww I knew the story but it brought atear to my eye again. Happy meetiversary you two.

  • kaosbutterfly says:

    Thanks for being at the airport to pick me up and thanks for always coming home every day since, even when you receive hysterical phone calls during the day.


    (Bustin’ out the old handle for this special occasion ;))

  • GoingToStabYouWithABrick says:

    No one ever thinks about the families of the henchmen…


    Oh, and teeen years maaan…. TEN!

  • Wink says:

    Oh, you… you… YOU! Here I am, catching up on the week’s RSS feeds, and you go and make my eyes all squidgy and blurry. I heart you guys.

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