12 years ago we said “I do.” But before we made it down the aisle and vowed to spend our lives together, there were so many “I do not’s” between the two of us. Relationship issues not withstanding, on Sunday, Andrew and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary! In a way I can’t believe it, not because we are still living our lives together and working together as a team, but because it’s already been 12 years. I think about how we ended up where we are today and, given all that we’ve faced, it’s an accomplishment. I am so grateful for my Andrew.
We both believe fate played a HUGE role in our coming together in the end. Here’s our story.
July 1, 1988- We meet at a UCLA fraternity party. Yes, that’s where we met. The conversation went something like this- Andrew: “Hey there, wanna come to our party?” He is holding a beer, surrounded by fraternity brothers who are yelling at my friends and myself trying to lure us into their den of hard core testosterone. We giggle and just watch as they describe their “Pirate” party as one of the biggest and best on the row at UCLA. We decide to hang out, but only on the street as we’re a bit afraid of the “pirates” inside. When things settle down, we talk. Andrew tells me all about UCLA and what I can expect. I like him. He is sweet and attentive. From that day on, which happened to be my first weekend on campus and my first ever fraternity party, we are inseparable.
1988-1993- We are on and off, and on and off, and on and off. It’s fair to say that I was the cause of the on and off 99% of the time. I admit to being immature, insecure and just plain unable to be in an adult relationship. I always knew that I loved Andrew, I just wasn’t able to be in a healthy relationship. I guess it’s just part of growing up.
1994- We break up for the last time. This time, however, it’s different. He is headed to business school at USC and I am headed to Midland, Texas (a tiny, tiny tv market) to begin my career as a television journalist. He is in California and I am in Texas. Once I get to Midland, I am alone, literally I know no one. I start a completely new life. Andrew calls me there a few times and we both decide it is best to just move on. We don’t talk for years.
1999- After living in Texas and New York, being away from family for nearly five years, I decide I will head back home. Andrew apparently is still in Southern California and living in Brentwood. I am only in L.A. for two weeks and I see him in a crowded restaurant in Venice. I am with a friend from college (she knows Andrew well). Important note: She had never seen Andrew, anywhere in L.A., in the time that I was gone… and then like magic… he appears.
Andrew is up near the hostess desk in the restaurant. I am sitting at a table. My friend and I go back and forth: “Is that Andrew? Yes, that’s him!” (laughing very loudly). I wonder, should I go see him? Yes, why not I finally decide. But just as I begin to get up, he races out of the restaurant. I see him running around the corner. I figure I better get moving or he’ll be gone. I literally run through the restaurant, out the door and up the street to where I saw him last. Before he heads into a parking garage, I yell: “Andrew, Andrew!” He turns around. He looks at me as though he doesn’t know me. I say: “Andrew, it’s Donna, Donna.” He continues to look confused. I’m thinking, what is wrong with him? I say it again, waving my hands, laughing: “HELLO, Andrew.” Finally, his stunned, awkward self starts to come out of what seems to be a trance he is unable to break. He says: “Hi, what are you doing here?” I explain I just moved back to L.A. a few weeks ago. Andrew: “That’s great. You should call me,” as he hands me one of his fancy business cards. We part ways and I know in my mind I won’t be calling.
I head back into the restaurant and tell my friend of the bizarre encounter. A few minutes pass and I see Andrew, again, this time with a friend in tow, heading back into the restaurant. Oh, this is so very strange. What the heck is going on? Andrew comes up to our table and asks if he and his friend can join us. We say yes, of course. We spend the next few hours catching up on all we have done.
As the evening winds down, Andrew asks if I’d like to go out. I giggle and say: “I don’t think so.” He presses, just as he did all those years ago. I decline, again. Just as I did all those years ago. We part again.
It may have been the next day, or two days later, when he calls me at my parents’ house. He asks if I’d like to go out. This time I reluctantly agree.
We meet for dinner and he quickly offers some insight into his strange behavior at the restaurant. He begins to explain that just that day, the day that we bumped into each other in Venice, he had searched for me on this website called U.S. Search, new at the time. He went on to explain that the company he was working for was moving into another office building and the company that was moving in was U.S. Search. He decided to see what it was all about. He saw that it offered the ability to find people you might have lost contact with. He decided to search for me. Information began to pop up showing my address in Texas, but he knew I had moved on from there. There was nothing that showed anything more current. This was 1999 after all, obviously things on the web have changed. But for him, that was it. He didn’t know where I was and his day went on, as usual. Until…. THAT NIGHT.
And so there we were. Only six hours before, he had searched for this long lost girlfriend and now I was right, smack in front of him. He said he was genuinely in shock and from the looks of it, he really was. All of it was beginning to make sense.
And so just as when we first met in 1988, after our first date in 1999, we were again, inseparable. Time and maturity necessary ingredients for our relationship to succeed, but most importantly, fate, stepping in… one more time.
What’s you love story? Please share!