I met my wife Jessica during my freshman year at UC Berkeley (1995). She lived on the same floor as I did in the dorms. She had a slightly rebellious, powerful personality, and quickly generated a fan-club comprised of other guys in the building. She organized a midnight poetry reading club that met at the base of the bell tower
. Naturally, I participated.
My roommate was the first to date her. I was secretly appalled, because I thought I was a better man and thought she deserved better. But as with many things in life, it's the person who puts in the work that gets the reward. The worst part was coming home from classes at the end of the day and seeing the paperclip on the bulletin board outside our door -- our agreed-upon signal that I should not enter the room...
That summer, I stayed at Berkeley and got a job in the computer labs. She went home and got a summer job there. She lived not too far from her boyfriend, but they broke up pretty quickly after school got out. (He actually visited her at work to break up with her.)
Fast forward to sophomore year. Ken and I are roommates in the dorms, Jessica is living in a co-op, but working at our dorm security desk in the evenings. Ken and I start to hang with a different crowd, but our circles intersect enough that we remain friends. Jessica and I start to go to the 10pm candlelit mass together on Sundays.
Summer after sophomore year, Jessica and her friends get a rental right next to campus and are going to completely repaint the inside. I volunteer to help. It's a fun summer, lots of good times, but I am yet to make a move. Ken and I and another friend also move into a rental. Our free time starts to fill with computer games (Marathon!) and drinking.
Junior year starts. I'm still going to church with Jessica. I look forward to the walks and talks on the way there and they way home. Eventually, in the second semester, I tell myself I have to make a move. So I write a letter because I know I'd just stumble over my words. But I don't write
a letter, I type it. And print it. And push it through her mail slot about 5 minutes after I've said goodbye to her after a post-church walk home. (Pretty pathetic, no??)
So there, I've done it. I go home, feeling like a great weight has been lifted from my chest. She'll know how I feel about her and how I've felt for a long time, regardless of how she reacts.
A few days later, she knocks on my door, hands me a typewritten letter, and insists I read it then and there. It's not what I want to see. In summary, how could I dump all of this on her -- in a typewritten letter no less -- and expect a positive response? She says I'm a great guy but all this is too much for her for the moment. I'm distraught.
A couple days later, she says she's changed her mind and wants to give us a shot. We date for a few days, she changes her mind again. She breaks up with me. This is the worst I've ever felt.
After many more ons and offs -- I broke up with her the last time we were separated -- we finally reunited in late 1999 with renewed commitment and have been together ever since. Married July 5, 2002. Since we've done so much separating and reuniting already, we figure it's out of our systems and we'll last until death.