Step 1: Boy meets girl.
Step 2: Boy and girl fall in Love.
Step 3: Boy and girl live happily ever after.
Well, that sounds nice, but that was not quite how it worked out for us. There were steps in between those. We may have taken the scenic route to get to each other. It was worth it though, because now we feel like we’re living a fairy tale. So, following fairy tale tradition, here is ours.
Once Upon a Time. Two kids grew up in different parts of the country. Prince Charming grew up in Connecticut. The Fair Maiden grew up all over the place, but mostly in the South. As children, they were lively and silly and probably drove their parents half insane sometimes, as children are known to do. The little girl loved to read books about dragons and princesses and heroes—sometimes the dragons were the heroes! The boy liked to play games all over the neighborhood riding bikes and sometimes fishing. (Don’t play capture the flag with him. He will go unseen for hours and suddenly show up with both flags before either team knew they were gone. He can be quite sneaky.) The girl was a little shy around strangers, but soon learned that she could dance and sing on a stage and perform for anyone. The boy was also shy around strangers, but liked to sing and play the clarinet. Dancing, however, was out of the question. Obviously, if the five-year-old Fair Maiden met five-and-a-half-year-old Prince Charming, they would have been best friends.
Eventually, girl and boy successfully navigated through their teenage years and decisions were made that would come to impact their future lives. The one place that really started it all for them was Jacksonville University, in Jacksonville, FL. Fair Maiden honed her actor’s craft in singing, dance, and acting. Prince Charming began in aviation as part of the NROTC program, but switched soon after to Geography (still with NROTC). Then, one quite ordinary day, they were introduced to each other through friends.
Friends: “This is Lily*. Lily, this is Pacman.”
(*This is not my real name.)
And BOOM! Nothing happened.
Boy and girl were friends in college. Or rather, they were friendly. They’d see each other and say, “Hey, how are you? It’s been a while!” They’d chat a few minutes and then head in opposite directions. You see, our hero and heroine were each dating others during their time at JU. They were each pursuing separate paths that rarely brought them into contact with each other. How silly. If only…
College came to an end for both boy and girl. She stayed in Jacksonville to be nearer to her family. Prince Charming was off doing exciting things for the Navy. (That’s a lofty way of saying he locked himself in a room for 12 hours a day trying to understand how to push a 7000 ton warship through the water “simply” by smashing atoms together.) Five years went by. Boy and girl each grew up even more, into responsible, loving adults. Fair Maiden was unhappy in Jacksonville and made the decision to move back to the D.C. area. He was assigned to a submarine for months at a time but would soon have the chance to work on shore for a while. Little did they know, fate was bringing them together again.
They met in Jacksonville one more time. She was moving to Alexandria, VA in two weeks. He would be settling into his new duty assignment soon in Groton, CT. They met at a party and agreed not to let another five years go by before they talked again. And so it began. They started talking again, catching up, getting to know each other. They chatted and texted every few weeks and then it was every week and, soon, every few days. The Maiden, who didn’t like talking on the phone after her last job, reluctantly conceded to a phone call and suddenly, the phone wasn’t so evil anymore. (How she got over that, she didn’t quite understand.) After only a short time, they couldn’t go a single day without talking to each other. It was an exciting time for both boy and girl. Little did they know, they were already falling in Love.
It was May and a lovely spring and Prince Charming had a sailboat. He was excited to go out sailing and wanted to share his excitement with Fair Maiden.
Prince Charming: “You should take a trip to Connecticut to come sailing with me.”
Fair Maiden: “That sounds like a swinging good time!”
Prince Charming: “Great, see you soon!”
Fair Maiden furiously dials her mother’s phone number.
Fair Maiden: “Mommy! What on EARTH does one wear to go on a sailboat?!?!”
Anticipation built, more and more, but finally, Fair Maiden stepped off the train at the station in New London and practically leaped into the open arms of Prince Charming. There was now no turning back. He might not have known it then, but he was already in Love with Fair Maiden, and unknown to her that day as well was her own Love for her Prince Charming. He was already hers, and her heart already belonged to him.
The sailing trip went beautifully and Fair Maiden travelled back to our nation’s capital but suddenly, her brilliant life in the D.C. area was less shiny. Her heart wasn’t in Alexandria anymore. Every few weeks, Prince Charming visited her and she visited Connecticut again. But it wasn’t enough. Skype dates became common and they were helpful, but shortly, they just weren’t enough.
Prince Charming: “My Dear, will you consider moving up here? I miss you terribly when you are not around.”
Fair Maiden: “Yes. I’ve known for a while now that my future lies with you.”
Prince Charming: “Oooh goody!”
Fair Maiden immediately begins the happy dance.
It was only September. A time frame was established. The move would have to wait for February. Meanwhile, their not-frequent-enough visits continued. They climbed mountains and saw a meteor shower. He showed her his hometown and introduced her to his friends and family. She brought him through monuments and museums in D.C. and they ate sushi nearly every time he came to her house. They attended each other’s churches and further solidified their relationship, both in their minds and their very souls. They were so in sync with each other that they found themselves thinking the same thoughts and saying the same things together all the time. (They even twiddle their thumbs when they hold hands.)
Then suddenly it was Christmastime and they planned a trip to Jacksonville together for New Years. It would be the first time Prince Charming would meet most of Fair Maiden’s family and he would indeed make it a memorable occasion. (Did I mention that he can be quite sneaky? Well, in planning surprises for his loved ones, this goes up a notch.) And he certainly surprised everyone. He conspired with Fair Maiden’s father and asked if he could make her his bride. He chose a ring that sparkled even in the dark, and with shaking hands, knelt down to ask for her hand. Fair Maiden agreed, gleeful and happier than she ever knew she could be, and promptly started giggling and crying all at once…and then giggling some more. Champagne was popped, announcements were made, and congratulations were given all around. And they decided they would live happily ever after.