The other morning, I woke up and sleepily putted around the house in my usual morning routine: find coffee and get back in bed to enjoy a little morning reading. My husband, in his usual chipper morning routine, had been watching the news, “Hey,” he said to me first thing, “I saw on the news this morning that over fifty percent of men say ‘I love you’ by accident the first time--even though they mean it.”
This might sound strange to some people, but for me I knew it meant only one thing: he was thinking on and remembering the first time he ever told me he loved me--by accident no less! It’s a great memory, too; one I will never forget and was happy to remember after our 8+ years together. I thought it a worthy story to share with you all....
As you all know now from my Halloween Love Story, Daren and I started dating on Halloween of 2003. Shortly thereafter we became literally inseparable. He was a huge Phish fan (well, he still he a HUGE Phish fan) and I was a Dave Matthews Band fanatic. As fate had so cunningly arranged for us, Dave Matthews was just releasing a solo album and touring with Trey Anastasio, the lead singer/guitarist from Phish.
At this point in my young life, I had been to a couple of concerts, but Daren had made a practice of it. So when he mentioned getting tickets to see the show casually, I casually said it would be fun. When the tickets came in the mail, I realized he was serious and I was totally impressed. It would be our first concert together, December 15, 2003.
It was the perfect fusion of our respective musical histories, and the beginning of a mutual passion for live music. It was also, unbeknownst to me, the moment my future husband realized he had fallen in love with me. There we were, in the Wachovia Center, walking through what seemed like a giant tube of hallways. We were sauced, laughing, casually holding hands and looking into each others eyes on our way to our seats.
And there, with thousands of people wandering to catch their seats, in the midst of a conversation about who knows what, Daren put his arm around me, pulled me close, and said, “You know I love you!” And then he gasped, catching himself, cupped his hand around his mouth as if to try and stuff the words back in. And I looked at him, equally as surprised by his admission and we both burst into uncontrollable laughter.
We let it lie. I didn’t push the issue--didn’t make some awkward return of love in his direction. I just relished it. It was the very first time in my whole life when I had dated a guy--a man--and he had been the one to tell me he loved me first. Be it accidental or not, I was captured by the moment because up to that point, I had always been so infatuated with love itself, that I had never let it happen naturally. Now, for the first time, love happened completely organically.
Of course, I was completely and utterly head-over-heels in love with him. But I was trying to play it cool, at least a little bit. I made him sweat it out for ten more days and then I said it to him... and it was perfect. Just as love should be. Certainly we’ve had many more imperfect moments since that time, but I will always remember his accidental 'I love you' and I will always treasure it. Because that is how love happens, so often, when you aren’t looking, it’s snuck up on you, as if by accident.