It’s been 365 days, and I haven’t forgotten this date on a single one of them. I may have just realized that today was Sept. 12 on the drive home from work, but the date itself has always stuck with me.
Sept. 12, 2015 changed my life forever, and that’s not hyperbole or cliche.
It’s the day I met her.
You know, her.
Yes, that one.
The one who is the whole reason my first book even exists.
It’s funny. For a guy who has to put every plan into his iCal or write it on a sticky note or else it will be forgotten, I still remember every single thing about that day in remarkably vivid detail.
I remember the shirt I was wearing, as well as the tie. I remember the shirt and Daisy Duke shorts she was wearing. I remember exactly where I first laid eyes on her and where she was standing.
I remember texting my best friend about her. I remember my heart racing when her father introduced us out of nowhere. I remember my cheeks hurting from smiling so much while talking to her.
I remember talking about her to my friends at the bar that night. I remember texting my best friend telling him that I had to ask her out or else I’d regret it forever. I remember contemplating whether or not to do it. I remember taking a shot of whiskey — the only shot of hard whiskey I’ve taken in my life — minutes before asking her.
I remember dancing like an idiot, with no regard for anyone who might have been watching me. Just writing all of this out, I’m mentally transporting back to that moment of elation. My hands are starting to heat up and my heart is starting to pound again.
I wish that I had a happy ending to tell you all, but anyone who has closely followed my work or is in my social circle knows that’s not the case. Nothing came of it other than what was, at the time, the best date I had ever been on and a kiss that seemed to stop time.
In what is arguably my most Ted Mosby moment ever, I told her I loved her… after one date. I didn’t tell her to her face, or at any point immediately after the date. No, I wrote her a letter. Actually, several letters. Then I gave them to her.
And that’s putting it lightly. I think I’ve only told three people what I actually did.
Her father knows what I did, and I know this because he mentioned it and we talked about it.
That conversation (which went exceptionally well after initially striking fear straight into my soul) only confirmed some of the things I already knew about her: She wasn’t sure what she was looking for (but that it obviously wasn’t me), she was close with her father, and she came from a great family.
She didn’t want me. There’s nothing I can do about that. I didn’t lie to her about how I felt, and I wasn’t about to lie to her father when the topic was brought up.
To this day I’ve been trying to figure out if it really was love or infatuation. The logical answer is that it’s the latter, but I know for a fact that the experience made me truly believe in love at first sight. Even if what I felt for her wasn’t it, the fact that I could feel that strongly about someone right away on more than just a physical level tells me that those love-at-first-sight stories you hear aren’t just bullcrap.
I’ve grown so much in the last year, and it’s all because of her. I’ve grown a self-respect for myself that was unparalleled to the previous 26 years of my life; I’ve learned what it feels like to care for someone on a deep level again; I’ve learned when you need to stop justifying everything and accept a harsh reality.
October through May are not the most embarrassing months of my life, but they’re a strong contender for the most pathetic. I hated myself for acting and feeling the way I did, unable — or rather, unwilling — to change anything.
It’s been a year — an entire year. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t think about her from time to time, but it’s pretty much become the same as any random ex or past fling popping into my head. She just happens to pop up a little more frequently than the rest.
I still see things that make me think of her everywhere. The difference now is that I’ve stopped looking at them as signs and I’ve started seeing them for what they really are: reminders. I no longer pine for her, and it’s for the best.
I’ve remembered this experience in every single romantic endeavor that has transpired since. It keeps me in check, grounded. I hope that it didn’t leave me jaded to the point where I’m going to second-guess every feeling, but I suppose it’s better to play it safe with the heart than leave it exposed often.
She made me feel things and do things that even I didn’t think were possible, and I’m a sappy and shameless individual. All in all, the experience was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
Even if I literally never see her again, I’ll be thankful for what happened over this past year. I still wish her the best of luck, and I truly hope she finds happiness — be it with me or someone else.
I’m not holding out on the hope that one day everything will change and fate will bring us back together. I’ve moved on. If it ever did work out, we’d have one hell of a story to tell people.
For now, I’ll stick with the story as is. It was a hell of a ride.