With the wedding less than two months away, I can’t help but feel giddy (with a moderate sprinkling of stress)! I get to marry my best friend in the whole world; a dude who is incredibly awesome and equally as sweet. And with the wedding coming up, I felt it necessary to share our story again, especially since this is a story that means the world to me.
I can remember standing out on the balcony, overlooking the Wildwood, New Jersey sunset; it was May of 2014 and the night before endeavoring to run my second half marathon. As I stood there beside my little sister, I decided to scroll through my Instagram feed. That evening you had posted a photo of the sunset over the farmland of Lancaster County and captioned it, “This and Arcade Fire.” Profound I know. But for some reason I felt inclined to comment back. I could hear my heart saying “THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!” To clarify, I knew one song by that band and liked it so… that was enough to spark up conversation right? Well I sure thought so. So I turned to my little sister and asked her advice, as I am hopeless when it comes to talking to boys or having any sort of game.
After 10 minutes of contemplation and building up the courage to hit send, I brilliantly commented, “That’s so cool! Where is Arcade Fire playing at?!”. Unfortunately I misinterpreted the entire situation. There was no concert that night. But you were very kind in your reply as to not let me feel like a complete idiot. You said, “Oh haha I must have made it sound better than it is, I was playing it in my car really loud haha, and singing along…unfortunately there is no concert haha”. And cue me feeling like I ruined any chance I ever had with you (I was a bit dramatic back then). I had saved my opportunity to make a move for the perfect moment. And to make matters even worse, I had been saving that opportunity for 2 years, since we shared the same lunch period at Warwick High School. But now I had wasted away any chance of us being together. Even with one year of college under my belt, I could not change my smoothness with the fellas.
Fortunately, I was completely wrong. In fact, I had not ruined my chances at all. Fast-forward a couple of weeks to June 6, 2014; the evening of the Fault in our Stars premiere. I posted a picture on Instagram of my favorite quote from the book with a caption stating how excited I am for the midnight showing (secretly hoping you would see). Never did I expect you to comment! And never did I think I’d be inviting you to join my mom, little sister, and friend Heather to go watch it at Penn Cinema. But life is beautifully unexpected and through Instagram messaging (thank goodness for social media) we had planned our first meeting.
I was so nervous when I saw you walk into the theater so I strategically placed Heather in-between you and I. However, that did not last long. As soon as we started talking I was hooked, we hit it off. I think we made Heather feel uncomfortable by having a conversation over top of her because she eventually broke down and asked if we wanted to switch seats.
The entire time I was watching the movie, I was scared to even move because you were beside me. And then when the movie ended and you invited Heather and I to hang out afterwards and grab ice cream I thought my heart was going to explode. We went to the always-classy McDonalds and grabbed some soft serve then took it to Lititz Springs Park, where we proceeded to eat it on the swings. As I sat there and listened to you joke around in your goofy way, I had this feeling something strong was there. Then as you drove me home and I jammed out to the song “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet, I knew for sure that there was something there. Never had I ever felt more comfortable to be myself then when I was with you, and I had only known you for a few hours at that point. As we pulled up to my driveway I so badly wanted to ask for your number, but remember, I have no game. So when you came out and boldly asked for my number as I exited the car, I felt on top of the world!
You texted me that night, after you arrived home, and I didn’t know it then, but it was the start of an incredible journey. The next morning you asked me on our first date and escorted me to Tomato Pie Café. I was still in complete awe that this was actually happening. I, Alexandra Marie Shelley, had a date with a boy I had been crushing hard on. I was sure at any moment I would wake up and find it had all been a dream. But I thank God everyday that it was not. Whenever I look back on the summer of 2014, I remember it as the happiest summer of my life. You brought me so much joy and love into my life…it was everything I ever wanted and everything I needed, though I didn’t know it at the time.
We made so many memories that summer. First of which began on a secluded park bench in Linear Park, where you sat me down and forced me to watch beat-boxing videos on YouTube. You introduced me to Twenty-One Pilots, Lord of the Rings, and Wiesser’s Market. When we weren’t together you made sure to text me every morning, every night, and all the hours in-between. Never had I ever felt happier or more loved. I can distinctly remember one day that summer, when I was having a conversation with my dad. We were sitting in his car about to go somewhere, but before leaving he turned to me and said “I am so happy to see you this happy.” I had never really heard my father say anything like that before. But now I understand why he did. You meant so much to me then, but I freaked out. I wasn’t ready to appreciate your love and I wasn’t ready to give you the love you deserved. So, after a summer of pure bliss, I panicked and ended it. I am still so sorry for that day and regretted it every day after.
We remained friends and stayed in touch for a while. A year later I found out that you had accepted a mission to Peru and I could not have been happier for you! I knew that this would be an amazing opportunity for you and I knew that you were going to touch the lives of so many people. So I messaged you to congratulate you and got very excited when you said you wanted to meet up before you left that May of 2015. I kept waiting for your text, waiting to see you for the first time since ending things a year ago, but the text never came. You got to busy and before I knew it you were gone.
I don’t know how or when I found your email, but I decided to take a shot and email you out in Peru. I was extremely nervous to send that first email, unsure of what your feelings would be upon receiving it or if you would even want to hear from me. I sent that email on July 17, 2015 and you responded on July 20, 2015. From that day we continued to email back and forth. Sometimes I took a while to respond and sometimes you took a while, but we kept in contact the entire 2 years you were in Peru. And before I knew it, 2 years was up.
My graduation from the University of Pittsburgh was Monday, May 1st, 2017 and you would arrive back in the States on May 2nd. I could not wait to see you! I could have stayed out in Pittsburgh for an extra week after graduation to hang with friends and work, but there was something telling me I needed to get home to see you. I was extremely antsy and excited to get home and see what could possibly become of us. My heart was full of hope.
I don’t think I need to explain the rest, our story is still being written. All I know now is that my heart has never felt more full of joy and I have never loved someone more. And with a wedding coming up, I extremely excited to see what our journey holds as husband and wife. So I guess this post is dedicated to a beautiful story still in progress J
This post is also dedicated to Zachary Riddick, the love of my life. Thank you for showing me endless love and support. You truly enhance me to be the best I can be. I love you with all my heart Papito. <3