Amanda has quickly become one of my favorite friends in Nashville. It's surprising that we only met this past summer. She has been a source of encouragement for so many reasons. I have enjoyed our writing/coffee dates at Crema Crema. We are guaranteed to have a good time whenever we hang out. Sometimes we even get work done. As you shall soon see, Amanda is a gifted writer. I look forward to seeing where her words take her next.
I was 24. He was 32.
I was a scriptwriter for a marketing firm. He was an entrepreneur, a small-business owner.
I was a recent college grad, newly released from a church internship, working a real job in the real world, feeling like an adult for the first time. He was a combat veteran, honorably discharged from eleven years in the Air Force, leaving his fatigues back in Carolina to start a new life in Tennessee.
I was single and I was happy. The girl who always needed a guy had spent a year making real friends and learning to love herself. Me. Not me plus someone else. Not me attached to someone else. Just me. I would stay this way for years, I decided. Single and healthy and learning to be an adult. Maybe later I would marry. But not now. Not soon.
He was single by choice, devoting years on end to his country, his family, his business, his dreams. He was intentional in this way. He was not one to waste time, and so he didn’t. He worked hard to build his business. He wrote screenplays in his spare time and took bartending classes at night, dreaming of a backup plan if Nashville didn’t pan out. He was not looking for me.
We were not looking for each other.
He rented office space from my boss through connections that seemed so random, and he moved in late that summer. We worked together but not together. I watched him walk past my desk a hundred times going to and from his own. He was all business, all focus, and he worked diligently in the quiet isolation of that back office. I joked with his coworkers and quickly called them friends, but he and I did not speak often. He was so businesslike, so determined. Surely not personable. Definitely not fun. As a southern girl and a professional at sugar-coated conversation and obligatory hellos, I was turned off by his lack of small-talk and his freedom from forced smiles. I didn’t like him much to speak of, mostly because he didn’t seem to like me.
I remember what he was wearing the day that image of him shattered, the day it broke away to reveal a glimpse of the man I love.
It was fall and we were at a corn maze on a farm outside of Nashville. Our two families of friends were one now and it was the inaugural outing of what would become an annual tradition among the group of us. He wore a black t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, a departure from the button-down shirts and black boots of the work week. I remember the smile on his face as we ran around like children. I remember that first glimmer of light that sparked in my heart. I remember the excitement-laced fear that came with the vague realization that this could too easily fan to a flame.
He was fun. Business Dave -- that’s how we thought of him, the older friend who did grownup things like run businesses and buy decent bottles of wine and discuss politics -- he was fun. And suddenly, in a cornfield in the middle of nowhere, he became the most interesting man in the world.
Our first real date was a couple weeks later, a dinner cooked by him and paired with that good, grownup wine. We sat at the candlelit table for more than four hours.
The next months flew by and they were a blast. We loved our new friends, we loved our new city, and we were beginning to love each other. Quickly. It was the most exhilarating, content and wholly right time I’d ever known. To this day I suspect a movie camera must have been secretly perched over our shoulders, filming every word, every laugh, every glance. It was all that good. It felt beautiful and fun and ordained and good. There were moments I was afraid; I feared I would destroy it, ruin what we’d been given. But at the point I wanted to pull away, he held on for both of us. He was sure, he was constant, and in spite of myself and the lies my heart was so accustomed to reciting, I felt safe. I didn’t have to run this time. And so I stayed. Oh, thank God, I stayed.
Six months after that four-hour dinner he asked me to be his wife. I’ve never been more sure of a yes in my life.
Had you asked me throughout my life before who was my type, my dream guy, I would have described a slightly different version of the same man each time. He would have been lovely enough in theory, but he was not my husband. David is everything I didn’t know to ask for, everything I couldn’t want because my heart did not know how. When I look at him, I see God’s promise. It is a promise to give me all that I need, not all that I ask for; to give me all that I long for, in spite of a heart too broken to dream.
He is the man I misunderstood who fully understood me. He is the man I did not like, who taught me how to love. He is the man I did not expect, who far exceeded my expectations.
He is my one love, my best friend. And this is how we met.