Okay, so here it goes. The story of how Paul and I started dating. Please note that this isn’t a lovey-dovey story. It’s just a true account of how two people had to go through some bad times in order to find each other and get to the good ones. I’ve interspersed pictures of Paul and I throughout the years. I hope they kind of break up the text, since I kind of wrote a lot. It took a lot for me to write this stuff out, I think because I sometimes forget how things started and the chain of events that led to us beginning to date.
I hope you enjoy this, and I’m really hoping you don’t think poorly of me.
Paul and I went to high school together, but we didn’t have a class together until the second semester of senior year. However, he was already on my radar before then. During the winter of 2005/6, my then-boyfriend and I had broken up. We dated for over a year, and he actually cheated on me with my best friend. The months after that were horrible. I was beginning to spiral downward because I not only lost my boyfriend, I lost my best friend. I was depressed for months, and unsure of what to do.
I was ditching classes, going off-campus all the time and literally doing anything I could to not be in school. During one of those ditched periods, I was in the cafeteria with some of my girlfriends. I walked in mid-conversation, and quickly realized they were talking about Paul, who was sitting a couple tables away. Now I never really thought of Paul in “that kind of way,” mostly because he seemed like kind of jerk. He had sprouted up from 5’6 to 6’2 during senior year, and he always seemed like he walked around the school like he was amazing. (Later on, I realized that this was as far from the truth as possible. I always thought he was really confident and had a ton of swag and that’s why kind of kept to himself. Later I would realize that he was just really shy.). But as they talked about Paul, I started to realize that he was kind of cute.
Throughout the final semester of senior year, I’d try to talk to Paul more and more. Some of my friends were actually good friends with him, so a bunch of us would ditch class, and drive around. Sometimes Paul and I would be together. Paul wasn’t the kind of guy who talked to a bunch of girls though. He never had a girlfriend in high school, and I think that’s what made him even more attractive to me. I had a ton of baggage, and he didn’t have any.
Even though we’d hang out together in groups, it took a lot for me to get Paul to say much. But I kept trying. We started to hang out with more and more of the same people, and we began to realize that we had similar tastes in movies, music and television. However, we still just remained “kind-of” friends.
The more that I saw him, the more that I was intrigued by Paul and really started to like him. He was funny, he was himself at all times, he was cute and he loved the movie, Memento. But did I know much more than what was on the surface? Not then.
Speaking of Memento, Paul and I were in a film study class during that final semester. We were the only two kids in the class who had seen the movie, so I would try to talk to him about it in class. He sat right behind me, and I’d always try to coyly turn around and make jokes. But he was always slouched down on his desk. Later he would tell me that it was because he was always so nervous when I spoke to him. But I would always take it as he didn’t like me, and I annoyed him. Pretty soon, I’d just stop.
As the semester went on, the weekends were filled with partying and lots of it. Paul and I always seemed to be at the same social events, and I wanted to find a way to find out how he felt about me. But it just wasn’t working. One of our mutual friends told me that he didn’t think Paul saw me as anything more than a friend. I was crushed, but I couldn’t move on just yet. Paul just seemed so calm, cool and collected, and I wanted to get to know him more.
On the last day of senior year, there was a humongous party at my best friend’s house. There were over 50 kids in the backyard and it was crazy. Let’s just say that not everything we did there was completely legal. Later that night, a bunch of us headed over to Wendy’s. We were craving fast food.
Paul and I were standing in the hallway, leading to the bathroom waiting for one of our friends to show up. I knew this was my chance. I crept up on my tip-toes and I gave him a small kiss, which he actually returned. To this day, Paul still claims that he initiated this kiss, but I think we all know the truth. 🙂
But despite that kiss and one more that happened a couple weeks later at another party, nothing happened between Paul and myself. I was completely confused and still so vulnerable after my last relationship, so I tried to move on. I went to prom with another guy, and I spent the summer doing crazy things with friends, meeting guys and pretty much spiraling out of control.
I’d see Paul every once in a while, and we were still friends, but I didn’t feel like I should push something that just wasn’t going anywhere. I still had feelings for him, but I kept telling myself that I needed to deal with myself, and just live my life now that college was starting.
Despite the fact that I needed to take care of myself, I let myself get into a pseudo-relationship/rebound with a guy I’ll call A. I’d sleep over at A’s house all the time, and I just kept letting myself do things that I knew weren’t me. I was entering a bad place. Little did I know but Paul was also going through the same issues that I was, as were many of our friends.
During the winter of 2006/7, I slept at home only a couple times a week and I would stay up all night at other people’s houses. I was in a terrible place, and I didn’t know what to do, so it continued for months. Around that time, Paul got into a ton of trouble. So much so that his parents put him on lock-down. During that time, Paul and I would talk online via AIM. It was amazing that when we were online, he was much more open. He began to call me Sophs, and I just felt the initial feelings that I had begun to reignite.
I had been feeling bad about myself for months, but talking to Paul gave me something. It let me know that someone was out there who was going through tough stuff too.
Since Paul’s car was completely out of commission at this point, so I’d offer to give him rides to the college he was attending. He’s say yes, and sometimes we’d go out to lunch. Other times, we’d go to the fitness center and shoot hoops together (we both played basketball in high school). Instead of seeing Paul late night at parties and at friends houses at 5 a.m., we were doing things that were healthy and fun. Plus, we were spending time together.
Paul was starting to grow up, and he didn’t want any of the terrible things that had been in our lives to come back. So he walked away from it all. I was still pretty much living anywhere but my home, and mostly at A’s house. But now, I’d sit at A’s computer and chat with Paul, while everyone else would play drinking games in the other room. A got tired of this pretty quickly, and we called it quits.
Paul and I continued to get closer during this time. We’d hang out more, either at his house or mine, and I noticed that he wasn’t as shy with me as he had been during high school. Then, out of the blue one day, one of Paul’s friends mentioned to me that Paul had a crush on me during senior year. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe he wasn’t the overly-confident guy. Maybe he was just a little bit shy.
Now my feelings were stronger than ever, since I not only knew the real Paul more, but we were both going through tough times in our lives. We joked about being each other’s Valentines, and I remember going to Paul’s house a couple of days after Valentine’s Day, and us kissing again, the first time since the summer. It was different though. We weren’t two high schoolers who didn’t know each other, we were friends. It wasn’t just about us having the same taste in movies, it was about us being able to talk about nothing, and still feeling like the conversation was amazing.
A couple of days later (February 18, 2007), Paul came over to my house. We were just chatting like normal, when I blurted out: “If you want to ask me out, you can just do it.” He looked a little embarrassed, but he did end up asking me out that night.
Despite all the bad things that Paul and I went through during 2006 and early 2007, it all helped bring us together. If he hadn’t gotten into a ton of trouble, if I hadn’t gone through a horrible breakup, if we both hadn’t turned to other things, we wouldn’t have found each other. And we wouldn’t have been able to pick each other up out of the rubble that we were left in.
Paul is my best friend, and I can tell him anything without any judgment from him. He’s seen me at my worst, and it’s only been uphill since then. We’ve never been on any breaks, nor have we gotten into massive fights. Of course, we do argue, and some arguments have been pretty bad, but it’s all made us stronger as a couple.
It’s crazy to think that we’ve been together four years, and I know that if we hadn’t started dating, I’d be a very different person right now. And I don’t think I would have liked the way I would have turned out.
Now I’m confident, happy, passionate about the things I truly love and driven. I had those things during the beginning of high school, but I feel like that place just has a way of twisting people up, and confusing them beyond belief. Sometimes you need someone to help you out a bit. And I found that person.
That was super long, and I know some parts are kind of vague, but I’m pretty sure you guys catch my drift.
I hope that didn’t bore you too much. Have a very happy Valentine’s Day everyone!