how we met
Eric: I had a theory that if I tried too hard to make an impression, it would probably make me seem crazy to the cute girl in my musicology thesis writing class with the perfect voice. I tried to play it cool and tell myself that I'd see this girl in next week's class, and that introductions shouldn't be rushed. So a few weeks later, I decide on my plan: a calm, but direct passing "hello." Cold feet however stopped me just before I was technically close enough to casually talk to her, and I instead left the room. After unlocking my bike and starting my bike home, heart racing, I realized I saw her. After a minute of biking, I decide to go back to the music building, I have to try! I turn around, casually race up to her, stop directly in front of her on my blue Peugeot, and breathlessly ask her if she wants to study or read papers or something sometime in the near future. She says OK, gives me her contact info, and I bike away, thinking that that was very casual.
Andrea: When leaving my thesis writing class one day, a guy who zipped past my path on a cool-looking road bike suddenly skidded to a stop to turn around, and pedaled slowly towards me. He introduced himself, said that he was in my class, and asked: "Uh... want to edit each other's papers sometime?" I was surprised, but charmed by the nerdy proposition and his earnest smile. We exchanged numbers and he zipped off again, a Peugeot blur I had no idea I'd grow so accustomed to seeing in the future.
The In-Between Years
E: For those first three years, Andrea became my confidante, a patient friend, an encouraging voice, and not-so-secret crush. I believed at the time that dating her must be impossible, but accepted that whatever time I could get with this person would be worthwhile. I liked her unique and articulate writing style, her musical projects and friends, and her penchant for seemingly unsolvable crosswords. When we graduated, we had one last talk on a rooftop, and almost said goodbye forever. I told her she should borrow my UCLA Taekwondo jacket, because it was too special to lose—and that was the first time she borrowed my jacket.
A: We definitely had chemistry, but various things barred romance from wedging itself into our growing friendship. Some of the many fond memories include: eating $1 chocolate-dipped ice cream cones at a yogurt shop right off campus, catching the sunrise after a delirious all-nighter the day before our final papers were due, and—having discovered we both grew up in the Bay Area—taking a road trip together there and exchanging stories and podcasts and music. After graduating we traded cities (I was in the South Bay while he was in L.A., then vice-versa) while kick-starting our careers, but kept in touch all the while.
It's hard to put a finger on the pleasant sort of feeling I got whenever we were together. Upon reflection, one thing I realized was that I always felt like my best self around him. Those traits rose to the surface, magnetic—he uncovered those things in me.
Fun fact: Eric first confessed his feelings for Andrea in an acrostic sonnet—we had been sending each other poetry one winter break... we know, we know, with such little context this might not seem very platonic but it was!—Andrea saw the coded message immediately but, because she was extremely conflict avoidant, didn't acknowledge its existence until much later, after we had started dating.
A Turning POint
A: It's 2012. For a few months my head waged war against my heart: I was intent on exploring being newly single, and yet I wanted to spend all my free time with Eric. We cuddled up for movies, biked to the beach, and had dinner dates, yet I completely denied that we were more than just friends. Bless Eric for his incredible patience! When I finally decided it was time to stop pretending, I sent Eric a vague email about a particularly moving sunset and added that we should "give things a try... whatever that means." (Very smooth, Andrea.) I felt shaky with nerves but oh so light, floating on the possibilities my message had set into place.
E: Somehow we found our way to each other again. I definitely needed that jacket back. After a few uncertain months, the big unknown after college came into focus: Andrea worked in journalism in LA, and I found a gig across town. I had a huge calendar on my wall with only one colorful event every month—"Andrea." I had to hide it when she came over for dinner.
Eventually, the stars aligned: We were both single, working, grown-up—and I asked her to be my girlfriend. She said yes. Three months later, I asked her to move in with me. She said yes.
A: . . . and now? I'm marrying l'homme des mes rêves. I feel incredibly lucky to have found someone so supportive, devoted, smart, and perfectly odd. Someone who pushes me to be better and makes me laugh until my belly hurts. I can't wait for the adventures ahead, and I revel in our quieter moments too. Here's to growing old together!
E: Four years later on a hot air balloon floating above wine country, I asked her to marry me. She said yes. It only took seven years.