After the jump, this post is a PAGE EATER!)
i met brandon holbrook my sophomore year in college. at the time i was seriously dating this boy. his name was jason and he was my high school sweetheart. he was tall dark and handsome and not mormon; basically my MO at the time. he was filipino and had THE cushiest lips. like, a goooood kisser. i did my very best not to ever talk religion around him, because the last thing i wanted was to be that girl, but somehow he managed to want to be baptized in may of my freshman year of college. it's a long, sweet story. for another time, maybe.
when jason's family found out his plans, they kicked him out of the house immediately. he decided to quit school and move to provo to live near me. i found him a job, and an apartment near mine. i drove him to work every day after his car broke down and he couldn't afford to repair it. eventually, the romance ended, but it was complicated. i felt responsible for making sure he made it okay, and since he was dependent on me we were basically still together, all the time. it was messy, in that way where the ends of relationships are always messy.
enter brandon holbrook. one monday he just up and showed up on my couch with a new hair cut.
so there's brandon one night, sheepishly sitting on my green plaid couch, his hair freshly cut, and i'm like, who is this cute guy and why haven't i ever noticed him before?
after that night it was like brandon holbrook was everywhere.
i remember one day parking my white rodeo on my way into class and hearing my name shouted from across the concrete and looking up and seeing that brandon holbrook, smiling at me and waving at me with that big old smile on his face. why on earth was he talking to me? he remembers my name?
one afternoon i met up with a group of friends in a park across town for pizza, and there was that brandon holbrook again. he sat himself right across the table from me and sort of looked at me. i'll never forget the look on his face when over a dessert of cheap gas station candy i told him that i thought strawberry puffs were far superior to peach rings, like he was committing it to memory or something.
i think it took me so long to put two and two together because i had never been pursued before. i'd only had one boyfriend, my best friend from high school who only finally kissed me the night of graduation once my goody-two-shoe-ness couldn't hurt his reputation, and i was always the crush-er. never the crush-ee.
it took me even longer to realize i had any interest back, although i do remember realizing it, down to the exact moment that it happened. i had been asked out on a group date but had somehow gotten my wires crossed, and i basically stood this poor kid up without meaning to. i felt awful about it. i'd apologized but he didn't really speak english that well (long story) and i knew i hadn't made it any better. my friend marshall, who happened to be standing next to brandon as i walked out of the room, could tell i was worried and asked me if i was okay, and in my embarrassment at telling him what had happened i unexpectedly buried my head into brandon's shoulder. i can't really explain it, but it was like in that moment brandon had become a magnet. and i remember thinking as my face touched his neck, oh! it was like that spot was somehow already mine. it wasn't electricity i felt so much as gravity. like all this time we'd just been orbiting each other, waiting for collision.
by this time it was april, finals week, and a few of us decided to go out and rent a movie. study break. shakespeare in love. steve fink was there, and brandon holbrook was there, and so was brandon's roommate jason button, "gay jason" we called him to differentiate him from the other jason, and also because he was and at byu on a dance scholarship and it was his idea, gay jason's idea, so, we there's that story for you. anyway, nobody had a tv? or nobody's apartment was clean? so we decided to watch the movie in my bedroom on my computer.
those of you who know anything about byu student housing know that this was a MASSIVE BREACH OF THE HONOR CODE. but i think at the time we all figured, whatever. also i was (am?) super ornery and breaking the honor code was sort of what i lived for.
for all of us to fit on my bed to comfortably watch the movie, we had to spoon. sardine style. it was kind of hilarious. tall steve fink, over six-foot-seven, squeezed into the corner next to gay jason crammed in next to me, with brandon holbrook teetering on the edge of the bed on my other side. i had to hold on to brandon just to keep him from falling off. i was a gay jason/brandon holbrook sandwich that night. i had my head on brandon's chest, there was nowhere else to put it (which was also terribly exciting), and i was so distracted by his heart thudding just below my ear.
the movie was great but all i could think about was what would happen if i were to just glance up, even just for a peek. i knew i'd probably look up to see him looking at me, and i felt like if looked up and locked eyes with his, that everything would change really fast.
i don't actually remember anything from that movie apart from the sound of brandon's heartbeat.
that night, after everyone had left, i saw that brandon had left his jacket behind, crumpled up in the corner. such a classic move. i lifted it off the floor, slipped my hands slowly into the pockets (chapstick), then brought it to my face to smell the collar. i wondered what i'd do now. he'd have to come back for it, but when? should i bring it to him? it was well after 1AM and all the lights outside had gone off. i tiptoed into the dark living room window and peeked through the blinds at his door across the way. i waited there a good twenty minutes, thinking and wondering a little, before finally tiptoeing back to bed.
brandon told me later that he was sitting in his living room across the way at that exact moment, waiting in the dark too, hoping to see a light come on in my apartment. he said he'd decided that if the light went on, it would be a sign. he would come back for his coat right then, and he would have kissed me on the spot.
the next afternoon, taking matters into my own hands, i grabbed his coat and knocked on his door. after i handed him his coat we made small talk. brandon started turning a little red at this point and was going on about some party he was going to later that night, some friend from california bringing tamales. it was kind of confusing and i started to shift uncomfortably on the steps, and just as i realized he was trying to ask me out, all stammering and cute, there comes jason, my jason, rounding the corner. he'd heard everything, and brandon completely froze on the spot.
"uhhhh, jason! hi jason! uhh, you should come too?'
sooooo, that is the story of how my husband asked my ex boyfriend out on our first date. (my brandon is not known for thinking terribly clearly when under distress.)
(ater that night i called my jason to "let him know" that brandon "had to cancel." i mean, sometimes you gotta take care of things, obviously.)
the date that night was kind of silly actually. i met his old roommates and we ate tamales and then brandon drove me home. but i invited him in, and we sat on that green plaid couch in my living room and talked and talked and talked clear until 5AM. about everything. later that morning, brandon was going to drive to texas for a wedding, and by the time he'd be back for the summer term i'd have been long gone on my summer break in oregon, so this was it. that night he asked me where i'd like to live, if i could live anywhere in the world, and i immediately answered "new york city." he seemed to think it over and then somberly nodded that beautiful red head of his like he'd made some important life decision. then he looked at me and said, and this will be burned in my memory for as long as i live because it was THAT cheesy:
"i hate to think that if i kiss you now, i won't get to kiss you again for three more months."
are you swooning?
and then i thought:
"i am about to kiss a white boy!"
we wrote emails all that summer, and in july i drove to provo for a week to take my sister to a youth conference. brandon and i spent every waking minute together. it was that week, on a long drive back from a date in park city one night, that brandon impulsively pulled his jeep over into a parking lot in heber city to stammer through telling me he loved me for the first time.
in january of my junior year, brandon called my dad to ask his permission to marry me. (he likes to remind me how my dad answered. "are you sure? she's really difficult.") and then on a snowy february evening, he proposed. he got down on one knee inside of a heart made of rose petals in the snow. he cried, i sad yes.
we were married on a tuesday afternoon in august in the portland temple. we had a ring ceremony that evening in a garden tea house behind an old victorian home, and a reception after in the converted horse stable out back. we had a bluegrass band, mismatched antique silver, an italian soda cart, and lots and lots of hydrangeas. it was a really fun party.
here are some photos from the day. because i don't have a scanner these are literally photos of photos. and get this: our photographer told us he could shoot digital, but since nobody uses digital and it's never going to take off, he didn't recommend it. so... finding my wedding album in idaho was kiiiiiind of a big deal.
that was a terribly long blog post!
i surprised myself with how fun it was to write it all down, it's nice to finally have these memories somewhere concrete.
like... the internet. hah!