I told you I was going to explain why I didn't want to make a massively long how we met post. I wrote the reason, but didn't draw your attention to it. So here it is: As a teenager and young adult, The Hubs used to write incredibly long e-mails. He blogged via e-mail, before blogging was a thing. When I say it might take several days to read his e-mail, I wasn't kidding: it literally took days. You couldn't read it all in one sitting, unless you had several hours of uninterrupted internet access. I did not. When he wrote about his first trip to France, it took me nearly a week to read the entire e-mail. I wish I could provide you with proof of this, but when Yahoo! switched to a new format a few years ago, I lost all of my old e-mails. They were so epic, I would save them to reread later.
I should also mention that The Hubs sent virtual flowers to all the girls he chatted with. He wasn't the only one, either: I don't know if that was an internet-chat-room-wide phenomenon, but all of the boys in RSJchat did that. Just talking about this is making me shake my head: we were SO COOL.
When I left you last, I told you how The Hubs didn't sound like Antonio Banderas. He still doesn't.
|He actually has a New Jersey accent, not a sexy Puerto Rican accent like Bernardo in West Side Story. Which was the only context I had for "Puerto Rico accents" when I was 18.|
The first time I met his mother, she told me that my Spanish accent is better than his. Let me say once again that I have the best in-laws in the world.
|I distinctly recall one conversation where I was trying to get him to help me with my college Spanish, and he mistook the word for flour ("harina") for the word for.. well... you can translate it for yourself. The verb is "orinar."|
Is it sad that our first real conversation was me expressing my surprise that he didn't have the expected accent? I mean, I should have known better: He was going to college in North Eastern Pennsylvania. According to The Hubs, it is referred to as "NEPA," pronounced KNEE-pah.
In the summer of 2002, I was busy working at a day care, and taking summer classes at a local community college. (Remind me to tell you someday about the adventure my friend Andie and I had with the girl who claimed I hit her car.) I may have, at this point, developed a small internet crush on him.
One day, just before my statistics class, I was in the school library checking my e-mail. I received one of The Hubs lengthy e-mails - we were actually e-mailing back and forth a lot that summer, and he had recently acquired an AIM screen name, so we chatted there, too.
|In earlier days, his verbosity would have been an expensive habit.|
"Well, I know this will surprise many of you, and I know some of you will be worried, but, well... when we met, we fell immediately and instantly in love. It was just this connection, well - sometimes you just know. I can't imagine living so far away from her, so this morning, we got up at dawn, watched the sun rise, and we got married."
He then went on to describe the many charms of his new bride, and listed all the reasons why this move made sense.
I was so upset. I just couldn't believe he had thrown his life, his ministry, everything aside for a girl. See, here's the thing: when you go to a small Christian college, the peer pressure to "find the one God has for you" is so strong. The ongoing joke is that girls go to these schools to get their "MRS degree." And, due to various circumstances, The Hubs was very susceptible to this line of thinking.
So when I heard that he had suddenly married someone he had only known via the internet, my heart broke for him. I thought, in his desperation to find a wife, he had thrown everything away. I was so upset, I went out after class and bought a pair of pants. Pants that I didn't need.
I know, I know. Retail therapy isn't therapy at all. I just needed to distract myself from the plight of my friend - my friend that I thought I knew so well, my childhood pen-pal.
The thing is... it was all a lie.