Ten years ago today I left for college. I moved into Hillside Hall at James Madison University, embarking on a new life, one that would become more interesting and fun with each passing year. See that chimney in the middle of the picture? See the window directly to the left of the chimney? That was my window.
It was at Hillside that I became friends with some of my favorite people on the planet, and it was because of those friends that I met Matt.
Matt and I met because my friends--the friends from Hillside Hall--lived downstairs from him in their apartment building. I met Matt my junior year, but he didn't say much (like young Forrest Gump!) and I didn't think too much of him. My friends would talk about how funny and cool he was, but I didn't see that side. I wasn't impressed. I didn't see the highly intelligent yet ridiculously goofy side for months and months.
And then came Becky's birthday party. Becky had lived directly across the hall from me in Hillside Hall. We threw Becky a Heaven and Hell party, complete with a fake crow hooked to a ceiling fan (Becky was deathly afraid of birds) and an ice luge aglow with blue light. One of her gifts, as was our tradition, was a trashy romance novel.
Unprompted, Matt began to perform a dramatic reading of the novel. Under the influence of about three gallons of jungle juice (What was I thinking??), I began to act out the words he was reading on him. From what I remember of it, we put on quite a show.
(Yet another reason, by the way, that I fear having children. "How did you and Daddy meet?" "Well, Sweetie, we were acting out pornography." "What's pornography?" See? Bad idea.)
And the next day everyone but me went to lunch together. Apparently Matt kept talking about me, and Matt never talked about girls. All of my girlfriends returned from lunch, and began--in that way that silly girls do--to talk about the prospect of a Mandy and Matt relationship. Missy (above, in stripes) remarked, "You and Matt are gonna get married."
I thought about what she had said for a couple of seconds and responded: "Yeah, I'd marry Matt." And then Becky chimed in: "Nah, you're too annoying. He'd get sick of you." I agreed that was probably the case.
But we know that it wasn't. Because on August 26, seven years ago today, Matt and I shared our first kiss (after months of plotting on my part, and months of cluelessness on Matt's).And then we started dating and then we moved to Savannah and then we almost broke up and then we liked each other again and then we got a dog and then we got engaged and then we got married. And Becky got ordained online so that she could be the minister.
And all of those friends from Hillside Hall were there to witness it. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Here's to a decade of friendship, and to many decades more!