• Katharen Martin

Chapter Two - Romantic-ish

Way back when, I met a boy.

He had dirty blonde hair spiked up with gel—a sign of the times—and big blue eyes.

You might have a mental picture of someone that used to look like that, and it’s probably a pretty douchey looking guy that comes to mind.

But this guy? Put him in khaki shorts and weird Hawaiian shirts. Slump his shoulders a little, because his confidence was way below the bar, and give him a ton of shyness— which I was prepared to bully out of him.

He liked weird things. Records, board games that made you think and strategize while you played (Hello, Risk), and Tibetan throat-singing monks.

I met him at a party—a birthday party as a matter of fact—of a mutual friend.

We were an awkward sixteen.

Here’s where you’re thinking love at first sight. Oh, how cute, this is the story of how they got together. High school romance, eee! And you’d be wrong.

His name is irrelevant because it was irrelevant. I called him by it all of two days, and then I renamed him, Sage. Something about what his parents originally named him felt stifling to me. It didn’t fit his face or this personality that I could sometimes see peeking through the cracks.

He was nice. Nice in that too-nice sort of way that made me look at him like he’d grown a second head when he bent to everyone’s demands around him.

I was the picture of a free-spirited tomboy, and he was the startling image of parental oppressed obedience: nice car, bright and shiny future they’d set up for him, approved friend’s list (which I was not part of, imagine that), and a sort of lost soul edge about him.

Who can decide who they are when they’re being told everything they will be?

Anyway, according to him, he fell in love with me at hello.

According to me, I had a boyfriend I was planning on marrying, and the biggest emotion that Sage ever pulled from my depths was annoyance.

The first time Mom met him, the door had just closed behind his Hawaiian shirt and that woman looked me dead in the eye and said, “Oh, Kate. You’re going to marry that boy.”

Ugh. Gag me with a spoon.

Fast-forward. Senior year, I graduated by the skin of my teeth, moved away.

Moved far away.

I came back to my first apartment and community college so I could get into the college I thought I wanted to go to. Blah, blah, blah, story for another time.

Bam. Sage is graduating from Wake Forest University, and after a friendly visit, I shrugged and thought “Eh, he’s grown up some. No more Hawaiian shirts. I’ll give it a whirl.”

And that’s how I ended up marrying my husband.

It’s been seventeen years since we met, however many years since we started dating (I don ‘t know, I’m not the one who keeps track of dates in this relationship), and we’ll have been married eight years in October.

He’s still nice in the way that makes me jab him in the ribs. He still draws annoyance deep from within me. But his personality isn’t just coming through the cracks anymore. It lights my life.

The only downside to this? I had to admit to my mother she was right. Again.


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