My husband and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary next month.
It still seems like yesterday that we were just kids in high school sitting under the street light outside of my house, talking about nothing and everything. He was my best friend, someone that I could be honest with who wouldn’t back down from my sass. He would challenge me when he disagreed, instead of letting me be right even if I was wrong. He would sit with me when I was sick, with no expectations, just a want for my company. He would be there during the quiet moments, when all that I needed was silence and to know someone was there. He was there to rein in my stubborn attitude and soften my hardened shell, to show me that not everyone was a demon waiting in the shadows. He was everything that I needed, but I didn’t know it yet. And I broke his heart. Not intentionally, I had goals and dreams, and significant others didn’t have a place on the journey I had planned in my head. But he didn’t waiver, he stayed.
After he graduated (he was a year ahead of me), he left for boot camp and my heart was hurting. But that was normal right? Your best friend moves away and you miss them terribly. That kind of ache that runs from your toes to the top of your head; that makes your heart feel heavy and your eyes burn because the feelings well up inside and have nowhere to go. We wrote letters back and forth, keeping one another up to date on life. He came home and had grown up. He’d leave again and visit when he came back to Arizona. But even though he’d come home, he was farther away each time.
Love is a weird thing, especially when you’re young and your heart is rebellious. After a year of him being gone, it hit me like a bag of bricks. I did love him. I had loved him all along and I didn’t know it. Apparently everyone else knew it, I was just the last one to find out. All that time, my heart was doing something behind the scenes while my head was screwed on backwards. By this time though, he had started his own life in California. I had a big decision to make. Do I keep quiet for the rest of our days? Do I see him when he comes home and catch up like old friends, only to say goodbye with a heart ripped open every time? Or do I apologize and put it all on the table, so that we don’t live the rest of our lives ever wondering what if? The latter was terrifying. And unfortunately, he had a girlfriend. My heart was torn. I was an ethical person, I liked to stay on the straight and narrow when it came to protecting hearts and keeping a moral compass. What do I do?
After a long drive and a difficult talk with a good friend who had lots of wisdom to share, I made a decision. I had decided that I couldn’t live my life without telling my best friend that I loved him. I would apologize, accept the consequences, and make a decision thereafter.
It took me about an hour to get the nerve to send that text message (because I had no courage to call, nor a voice because it was hoarse from hours of tears). I apologized for his heart break, I thanked him for his friendship, and I confessed the way I felt; then I apologized again. I waited. He text back, I text him again.. a few more back and forth, and then we went to bed. I in Arizona and he in California, and as friends. This was on Wednesday.
On Friday night, I was out with my girlfriend at the movies when I received a text message from him asking where I was. Now mind you, he had a habit of telling me he was in town when he wasn’t, just to be an asshole. I told him I was leaving the movies and he said he was outside my house, waiting for me to come home. I didn’t believe him, so I went to the store and took my time coming home. As my friend drove me up to my house, I looked around and didn’t see his truck. Bastard. I knew it. He was tricking me again. I go inside and get another message. He says he’s outside. So I go outside, despite my better judgement, and no Angel to be found. Bastard! Back in the house and I get one more message. I swear to all that is holy, if this man isn’t outside I’m going to lose it.
I walk out to the sidewalk and there he is, walking out of the darkness like a fucking weirdo.
That was almost 10 years and 7 months ago.
Later I found out that he was already breaking up with his girlfriend that same night I had sent him that text. I guess things have a way of falling together when they’re supposed to. Since that weekend, it has been a whirlwind of a life. We’ve raised two daughters, moved 5 times, battled sickness and health, survived the rolling tides of marriage and growing up together, and planned for a long future ahead of us. But no matter what, we’ve always chosen each other, without question. Because in the end, that’s all we have really needed to get through it all.
To my love, always and forever babe
❤ La Lady Valdez