Fifteen years ago, I was a different person. I know almost all of us can say the same thing, but if I were to somehow time travel back to then and meet my past self, I don't think he would believe anything the future self said about the life I/we have now.
Thinking back, if you were to have called the old me shy or a loner, you would have won the Understatement of the Year Award. I had no friends, save for some close family members and coworkers. I spent most of my time alone, working at night and sleeping during the day.
I was in my early 20s and had just begun to join the online community that was new and growing. I cautiously stepped into what I had avoided in 'real life', a world of other people who, amazing as it was to me, were interested in what I had to say.
One day, a crash of AOL sent me to the then-popular CompuServe to ask, in a chat room, if anyone else was experiencing the same problem. One person responded, and we chatted for a little while, making note of our screen names to chat again.
That one time led to many, which led to phone calls and some long, wonderful conversations. Eventually, the talk led to the possibility of meeting. A plan was laid to spend New Year's Eve together.
Sound romantic? Couldn't have convinced me it was. I was clueless. To me, this wasn't anything other than two new friends wanting to spend the holiday together. Nothing else entered my mind as to where this night, or this friendship, would go.
Our time together was fun, and any concerns about being uncomfortable in person were lost almost immediately. I spent New Year's Eve with a beautiful, caring, funny woman. But I was sure she saw me only as a friend. Someone to pass the time with. No one could look at me in "that way".
Midnight came, and the New Year with it. And a kiss.
You could have hit me with a tank filled with pudding and had a line of dancing dwarfs parade by in tutus and tiaras and I wouldn't have been any less shocked than I was by that one kiss.
That kiss then led to this amazing woman informing me she was heading to bed. The look on my face must have spoken for me, because she followed with a line letting me know I could sleep wherever I chose to. I sat for a few minutes trying to wrap my mind around this world I was suddenly a part of.
We have been married for almost fifteen years now, so I think the decision I made then is obvious.
But I still don't think I could convince my past self that all this is true. Then again, maybe I needed him to be just that clueless, or else I wouldn't have ended up the lucky, happy, crazy in love man I am today.
He needed that one kiss, so I could have all the rest that followed.
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