I met Derek my junior year of college. I might have known it was inevitable that we should meet. Sure, because of destiny and the stars and all of that, but also because we had a mutual friend, and I had heard enough about him and his storybook relationship from Sarah that it should have been obvious. Sarah had quite a few guy friends, and I had hung out with some of them in the past.
Oddly enough, I had grown up with a Derek Taylor, so when I first saw his name on Sarah’s list of contacts, of course I was curious: “Wait, how do you know Derek Taylor?” I asked her.
“He’s a friend of Jay’s,” she said.
“Do you know if he’s from Nahant?”
“Uh, no, I think he’s from New Hampshire.”
“Are you sure?”
“Huh. Must be two of them.”
“He’s such a good guy. He just told his girlfriend he loves her. So romantic.”
Several months went by, and Sarah and I were making plans for Friday, which also happened to be Valentine’s Day. She had been invited to two parties: one at Emery Farms and the other was Derek’s Black Friday party.
“Black Friday? Wasn’t he the one with the girlfriend?” I asked.
“Yeah, they broke up.”
We chose the Emory Farms party, so as of Valentine’s Day, I had yet to meet this Derek Taylor.
When I did finally meet Derek a couple of weeks later, it was by accident. I was on my way to Sarah’s room, and he was talking to her in the hallway. Because he was wearing an orange campus security t-shirt, I immediately asked him: “Is she in trouble? I had nothing to do with it.”
She then introduced me, and I said, much too excitedly, “I know a Derek Taylor!” When I asked him where he was from, he told me Newport.
“Rhode Island?” I asked, much too excitedly.
“No, New Hampshire,” he said.
We chatted for a few minutes, then he continued his rounds (he was in fact a security guard). The moment he was out of earshot, I told Sarah, “He’s CUTE!”
“I’m going to go tell him you said that,” she said.
“No!” I said. “Well, okay.”
We went on our first official date the next night. He was smart, funny, and had interests similar to mine. We liked the same music, and he shared my love of Kevin Smith movies. Like me, he loved to write and wanted to be a writer. He was also kind and respectful, which, frankly, I wasn’t exactly used to, given my (short) history of men. Needless to say, we hit it off. I couldn’t believe my luck. On the other hand, it was about time!
This December we celebrate 20 years together. Although we’ve both grown and changed, and our family is bigger now, our feelings for each other remain the same.
We probably won’t renew our vows this year, like we had elaborately planned so long ago. But we’re sure to celebrate all the happy memories we’ve made together, and sure to start making 20 years more.