When I first got to college in Boston, I was ready to panic. On move-in day, my parents and I got into my dorm and immediately opened all the windows to try and get some relief from the scorching city heat. But more than letting in a breeze, the open window let in the loud sirens of a passing police car and ambulance. It sounds funny, but just like that I was jolted into the reality of city-life, so unfamiliar to me and in stark contrast with my quiet suburban upbringing. My dorm was hot. It was stuffy. And it was loud. And if you have anxiety like me, that’s sort of a recipe for disaster. My mom and I looked at each other, and neither of us knew whether or not I was going to make it there.
Fast forward two or three days... a girl who lived in my dorm invited a few of us to go to a party being hosted at a neighboring college by a guy who she went to high school with. We all got ready together, took a few fun pictures, and headed out. Almost as soon as I walked in, a dreamy looking blue-eyed boy walked up to shake my hand and introduce himself to me. He opened his mouth, and the most ATTRACTIVE Irish accent came out.** His name was Les, and he offered me an open, half-empty can of beer. If I hadn’t of been so swept up in everything about him, that beer definitely wouldn’t have been enough to win me over... but I was an 18-year-old college freshman and I. Was. In. Love.
We spent a long time talking that night, and he teased me by rattling the fire escape we stood on outside. And, finally.... and I could tell he had been working on this line in his head for a while... he said, “So, I have a phone, and you have a phone, but I don’t have your number.” Cue the laughing and swooning all at once. I’m proud to say that I texted him first, that night, telling him how glad I was we had met. We spent the next few days before classes started for our first semester of college going out to lunch, hanging in nearby parks, and having late-night coffee in what would become our favorite cafes. A few weeks in, Les took me on a proper date— dinner in Harvard Square— and I can honestly say the rest is history, and that if I hadn't have met Les I'm not sure that I would have "made it" in Boston. I think I might have retreated back home to what was familiar. But since that day, Les has continued to push me out of my comfort zone, and make me a person that I'm proud to be.
At 18 years old and having just gotten to college, neither of us was looking for a relationship, let alone our forever person. But seven and a half years later, with four degrees between us, three apartments, one incredibly long dog, and some amazing memories, here we are: engaged and ready for the lifetime ahead of us.
**OMG! I hit publish on this post last night, and then I SAT UP in bed this morning because I realized that I neglected to finish this VERY IMPORTANT part of our story. Les isn't Irish. I mean technically, and ancestrally, he is, but the story he gave me the night we met (and for WEEKS afterwards) was that he was born in Ireland. He came clean about a month into us dating (I know, this doesn't reflect well on my naivete) that he was born in upstate New York. He had had just enough to drink that night, and needed a littttttle boost of confidence when he came to talk to me, so the fake Irish accent (and my favorite story to tell) were born. The end.