"So, how did you guys meet?" When asked together, the question always results in a sly smirk and a giggle to between each of us, playfully determining who's going to tell their side of our love story. "She claims she knew me," Marshall is guaranteed to respond, "but I didn't remember her". Naturally this answer sends me into a tangent of all the times and reasons he DID have to remember me in our early high school years and leaves me deciding that it's actually for the best he didn't easily recall that Buckingham girl. "Leave it to Ashley to move to Charlotte and meet a boy from Appomattox", my mom would always say (jokingly, of course, as growing up Appomattox, Virginia is considered the 'rival town' of Buckingham). Our first weeks together weren't so much a whirlwind of love as much as non-stop friendship as we first spent every waking hour as besties (who were we kidding?), bringing each other goodies and treats from the gas station and riding around listening to the Fray before ever showing any true interest in one another but I will never ever forget the moment I realized I was in love with this guy who I never expected to meet again: and his Dad did, too. Marshall's family had come to North Carolina to watch him play college baseball, and after the game we all circled 'round the kitchen, eating dinner and talking story. Marshall's catching hand waved, covered by a leather glove as he recounted the game, repetively striking it's center to condition the mitt. As he talked I fell into a deep trance (most likely googley eyed!) gazing across the boy's kitchen at him, the once buried feelings quickly rising to the surface. "Shit, I'm in love with this guy" my twenty year old self panicked, slipping deeper into my daze. The lovey dovey hypnotism quickly snapped off as out of the corner of my eye I noticed his father Terry looking over at me, grinning. Clearly recognizing the emotion I just uncovered. Ridiculously embarrassed, I kept it all in, vowing to just keep my mouth shut and let him be the one to whisper three little but heavy life altering all encompassing heart palpitating butterfly inducing words. A short (but in a love stoned girl's mind simply grueling) month or less later, curled up beside one another the night before our first camping trip, he pulled me tight into his chest and nervously uttered "I love you".
"I've been in love with you."