"How did you know?" It's a question I've been asked, both before and after I got married. How did I know it was Michael? I've given both long-winded and concise answers to this question while feeling like the words aren't quite the right ones. Don't get me wrong, I did know. For someone like me, someone who second- and fourth and ninety-eight- guesses everything and who returns something to a store only to buy it back later, to say bye to Michael the day before the wedding and have no nerves, no doubts, no heaviness in the pit of my stomach, just a serene happiness, is virtually miraculous. (It was actually the most amazing feeling ever, this absolute sense of surety.)
I still don't have a perfectly articulated answer, but I will say this: Seven years ago, I met this guy at a party, and we teased each other about looking underage. We moved on to a bar where he proceeded to buy me Surfer(s) on Acid (typing this out is making me embarrassed, but we were in college, okay?), and the rest is history. Several months later, he was driving me back from the library, we were talking about our families, and I found myself thinking, I could marry this person. (And years later, I discovered he thought the same thing then too.)
We decided that, instead of a fancy dinner or going on a mini-trip, we'd throw a bbq (but not tell people why because I thought that would just be weird). We couldn't resist sneaking a few toasts in at Patterson House on Friday night, but the Saturday party prep--working in the kitchen together for hours--was just as fun. And of course, having everyone over, different friends we've made over the three years we've been in Nashville, was even better. I remember just looking at him and thinking, we have a community here, we've made a home.
Sunday was the perfect winding-down. I stayed in bed reading forever, and then we spent hours catching up on our favorite tv shows. Slow, lazy, nothing special, just right.
Of course, there are days, weekends, the occasional week, where everything goes wrong. When I wonder that maybe I didn't know, that maybe my gut should have said something, darnit. But those moments pass, and all of the memories we make, big and small, continuously form into an ever stronger foundation that I hope will sustain us for the seven, twenty-one, forty-nine years (and beyond) to come.