How We Started

It all started, over eight years ago, in a tiny private school in Midland, Texas. I was in 7th grade, she was in 8th. I had been talking to a friend of mine at the time, saying that I kinda liked this girl. I left him with strict instructions not to tell anyone, so of course he promptly told his girlfriend who happened to be said girl’s best friend. Naturally, said girl found out about my secret crush.

We went to a few parties together around Christmas time, spent a lot of time around each other, but not a whole lot of time in a way that would accommodate a shy boy like myself with opportunity to ask a hot girl like her out. After a few months, she and her talkative friends thought I had given up hope. To their shock and bewilderment, I put together a WordArt sign that read “will u go out w/me?” one Wednesday evening before church, found some alligator clips, hung the sign around my neck while she was on stage playing piano, and waited for her to nod yes from across the room. I know it’s cheesy. I know it’s dumb. I don’t know what possessed her to agree, but it’s been a lot of fun since.

We spent the next almost year learning a lot about each other. Learning how to hold hands, how to kiss, how to really make her mad with all my insecurities. We learned that an improperly handled series of events at a rodeo can almost ruin a relationship. This is a part of our history that not a lot of people know: I screwed up one night, at a rodeo, and she decided to break up with me. It was a hard time for both of us. I know I felt like I’d been ripped apart. Heartbreak at 14 is a weird sensation. You think your life is over, that you’ll never love again, that you’d be better off moving to the mountains and panning for gold only to find out that there’s bears in them thar hills who really dig the smell of fear. I didn’t know what to do. She had left me, but her talkative friend told me to ask her out again. I said no at first, but a few weeks later I decided to reforge my sign.

I don’t remember the day, but it was during algebra class one morning that she got up to leave the class for some reason. I saw my opportunity and I jumped on it. I put my sign folded up into her open book, closed the book, and waited for her to come back. It was at this time that her talkative friend decided to inform me of her current state. “She’s totally over you, you know. She will not say yes.” My hopes were dashed, but a fear came over me. My insides were screaming, Get the sign, THE SIGN, YOU FOOL! So I grabbed the book, tried to shake the sign loose when I heard the footsteps coming down the hall. I had no choice. I would put the book back on her desk, suffer her wrath and rejection and take it like a man.

She got back to her desk. My heart was racing; could I jump through that window? She opened the book. If I run through the wall, will it leave a silhouette of body like road runner’s? She saw the folded sign. All hope was lost, here comes the cold. She read it. My heart was in my seat. She smiled. She leaned over and kissed me. In front of God and all the eighth graders.

It’s been about 7 years since then, and we’ve had so much fun. She’s learned to deal with my temperaments (and how to control them, which is weird for me since I still haven’t figured that out). I’ve learned when to just say, “Yes, ma’am,” and shut up. OK, so I’m still working on that; but I really am getting better. We’ve struggled through the long-distance relationship, and battled through some of the close-quarter stuff, too. And she’s always been there for me. Last October I asked her to marry me. I didn’t have a sign (would have been GREAT, though), but she still said, “Yes.” I can’t believe I’m this lucky, and I can’t wait to start the rest of my life with my best friend and childhood sweetheart.

3 Responses to “How We Started”

  1. Esteban Ramos Says:

    Congrats to the both of you! Great story Jace. I’m gonna have to share this with my girlfriend. She will love it, and then hate me for not thinking of something just as romantic.

  2. Rene McDonald Says:

    So, I started out looking at the recipes y’all had posted, then I ended up reading the story of your romance that you apparently wrote before you were even engaged. Sitting at my office desk with tears running down my face. That was so sweet, Jace, I just wanna squinch you! Who knew you were such a romantic? Hoping you and Mandy have a most happy Valentine’s Day 🙂
    Love, Rene’ 02/10/10

  3. Mandy and Jace » Anniversary Banana Bread Says:

    […] have responsibilities, but that’s another post.  I think we have one of the most interesting stories around. People always ask if we know everything about each other since we have been together for so […]

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