I’ll be honest; our meeting was not romantic. In it there was no foreign castle, no eyes being met across the room, no heart palpitations. Well, maybe there were palpitations. Yeah, there were definitely palpitations—but maybe just not the first time we met, as I was under, ahem, certain influences (give me a pass here, it was the first week of college). My first recollection of meeting Garrett came the next morning, when he showed up in a picture taken the night before. “Who’s this?” I asked Shannon (cousin/roommate) of the guy in the back of the photo covering his face. “I think his name is Garrett,” she said, and the picture was passed over.
Next night: Audrey Garrett kismet meeting take 2. Now this is the night that sticks out in my head. I, the perfect college student, was under no influence. I can’t say the game for Garrett. I can actually say quite the opposite. But I won’t. Anyway, I was in his dorm, sitting at his roommate’s desk. Garrett, all cute and sassy and full of liquid courage, said his first words to me then. “You’re a redhead. I dig redheads. [Insert wildly inappropriate comment here]”. Sorry, kids—what Garrett said to me on that fateful night will not be repeated. But I will tell you this; he made me blush and certainly arrested my attention. Because what he said was so inappropriate yet so amusing, I didn’t know how to respond. My mother would have laughed. My father would have been shocked. And with those words (that cannot be repeated), the fortress walls of my meet-your-soul-mate-in-a-castle fantasy were knocked down. And I sure am happy as all heavens that they were.
I really liked Garrett. Like, really, really liked Garrett. But we were so young, and he was a wild, charming college boy. So, as to not scare him off, I moved in on him slowly and coolly. So coolly, in fact, that when he told me he didn’t want a girlfriend, I shrugged and said “I didn’t even think of us that way” (and then went to my dorm room and cried). He asked me to be his girlfriend two weeks later. We were engaged in four years, married in six. Monday, July 22nd, will mark our 1 year wedding anniversary.
So, I didn’t get my castle. But this is what I did get: the love of my life. I got to marry my best friend. I get to laugh with him every single day. I get to wake up excited and happy every morning because of him. I have loved being in love with Garrett Ruhland for the past six years, and I know I will go on loving him every single day of every single year for the rest of my life. I’d say that’s a pretty good toss-up.