Sometimes I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.
Let’s take a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine. It’s sometime around March of 1997 and I was finishing my freshman year in college. I met a bunch of friends for lunch at the campus cafeteria. Also sitting at the table were a few new people and one in particular caught my attention.
He was gorgeous. I mean seriously gorgeous. The stuff dreams are made of gorgeous. Take every cliché ever used to describe gorgeous and this was this guy. He had brown wavy hair, blue eyes and dimples. There was no question about it. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I was hopelessly in love with him. Unfortunately for me, his equally gorgeous girlfriend was sitting next to him. Go frickin’ figure. And of course, he was head-over-heels (and a bunch of other clichés) in love with her. But because fate is just plain cruel, we became best friends. Because that’s where every girl wants to be – in the friend zone. Alas, the friend zone was where I sat…….for three miserable years.
Everyone knew I was in love with him. My friends. My mother. My sister. My cats. The trees in the backyard. Everyone. They all told me over and over again to tell him I loved him – especially since he and his girlfriend had long since broken up. So, one evening I told him, “I love you.” And he said, “I know.” To which I responded, “Okay then.” And that was it. That was the entire conversation. All these years later and I still shake my head when I think about that conversation.
Eventually, I gave up on him. I met someone else, graduated, moved away and even got married. But in the back of my mind, I always wondered about him. Was it true love or a sick obsession? Probably a little of both.
Fast forward to 2008. I was living in Missouri. My husband I divorced. I wish I could tell you the fatal flaw in our marriage was something really exciting or exotic. Truth is, we suffered from irreconcilable differences.
A few months later – in early 2009 – the strangest thing happened. HE sent me an email. Him, Ellen. That him. He was living in California. As fate would have it, his marriage had also recently ended. His first wife was much, much younger than him, so for some of his friends, it wasn’t a huge surprise that things didn’t work out.
This conversation was the first of many. The phone calls grew more and more frequent. We talked about everything from our broken marriages to our jobs. And then it happened. One day he decided to tell me about some younger girls he was checking out. They were all in their early twenties – a good ten years younger than him. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Was he seriously trying to put me in the friend zone….again?
No! Absolutely not, Ellen! There was no way in hell I was going to go quietly into that miserable night. So here’s what I told him while he was talking about the jailbait that caught is attention.
“No,” I said. “You don’t want a girl in her early twenties.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Here’s the thing about women. We’re like wine. We get better with age. What you want is an older woman. Someone who is 30 years old, has a Master’s degree, brown hair and is approximately 5’7″ tall.” Nothing too specific, Ellen.
He chuckled. “And where would I find a girl like that?’
“Not in California,” I said. “But I might know of someone like that in Missouri.”
April 1, 2009 was our first date. We ate dinner at an Olive Garden in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus was also the site of my sister’s wedding a few days later. My sister got engaged the same month my divorce was finalized. Rude! The only reason why I wasn’t a bitter maid of honor was because he agreed to be my date. Otherwise I might have gone Bridezilla on my sister.
Anyway, April 1, 2009 was the beginning of something incredible. I was officially out of the friend zone. But that’s not the really amazing thing. The really amazing thing is that this past Saturday, he and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We’ve been married for five fantastic years.