With my head resting on his chest, we laid together on a rocky beach.
Black waves rolled and crashed just feet away from me.
I was facing the sky; another endless sea where charcoal clouds dragged themselves across the stars.
In that moment, the oft spoken adage came to me; you find it when you least expect it.
Having endured literally a dozen fruitless first dates in the weeks preceding the day I met him, I had resigned myself to the idea of fun-for-now.
So, when I saw him at the rehearsal dinner for my best friend's wedding, I ignored the way something inside me fluttered when I looked at him.
Yeah. Whatever. Fine. He's hot. Enough.
As luck would have it, he and I were paired to walk together in the wedding.
After the rehearsal dinner, the wedding party met for drinks. Though he and I spent the better part of the evening talking to each other, I still thought little of it. At the end of the night, I excused myself for a cigarette outside.
"I'll come with you," he said.
He borrowed a cigarette from me and we kept talking. The groom came outside to take a phone call and seeing him said, "Matt, you don't even smoke." That small gesture was the first indication to me that anything was happening here.
The wedding happened. It was beautiful.
I spent the whole night with groomsman number 3 (as my brother's girlfriend called him later), dancing and stealing soft kisses when no one was watching.
And at the wedding after party, I wondered how long before, or if, I'd ever see him again.
"I'm leaving the country for ten days. My dad's getting married on Tuesday," I said.
It was a Saturday night in the small military town where I grew up. The wedding party and old friends of the newly weds were celebrating in a country western bar. Groomsman number 3 and I were sitting on stools and I was practically yelling into his ear over the noisiness and chaos around us.
"I could go on vacation," he said.
"I could. I've never been to Puerto Rico. And what's more, I've got a feeling about you and I need to get to know you."
And I playfully called his bluff right up until the moment that he booked tickets to meet me in Puerto Rico three days later.
"It's done. I can't take it back now," he said, showing me his email confirmation from the airline.
"Hold on," I stepped away from the barstools we were sitting on and walked over to the bride and groom. I pulled them, literally and by their arms, away from the conversations they were having.
"Is he crazy? I need to know right now. Is something wrong with him?"
"Matt? No. Why?"
I walked back to my barstool and he casually handed me a drink he'd ordered while I was away.
"This isn't real."
"Tell that to my fucking bank account," he leaned over and kissed my forehead.
And even though that night, I stayed up talking to him in his hotel lobby until 6 am;
even though he called me everyday and we talked for hours each time;
even though every moment it seemed we discovered more that we had in common and
even though we were getting along so great, I didn't believe he'd actually show up Puerto Rico.
I kept waiting for the moment he'd tell me something had come up and he couldn't make it. The moment he'd realize this was all crazy
and ill advised
and plain stupid.
But that moment never came.
And there I was, laying on a beach at midnight,
suddenly in the middle of something special
with no idea how it all came to be.
Enamored. In awe.