About a decade ago, when my wife began her school counseling job in Charlottesville, we occasionally went out evenings with other young couples. This was pre-kids for all of us, most everyone engaged or newly married.
More times than not, the question “how did you two meet” would come up. As was often the case, when someone learns my wife and I went to high school together, they ask if we were high school sweethearts. To which I replied, “Oh, no, thank goodness. I would have totally ruined any semblance of a relationship if we had dated in high school.”
Which is true. Boy, is it ever.
It’s not that I had no desire to date my wife in high school, because I did at one point. It’s just a good thing the universe kept us apart for as long as it did.
The seed of love for my wife was planted in me in ninth grade. Without her even knowing it, she helped nurture and water this seed that year during science class when she sat beside me. Only my friend Kate Hall* knew of this infatuation I had for Allison.
When my wife and I married nearly fifteen years later, we left a memory box alongside the guest book, so that those attending the wedding could write down a memory on a card they had of us together or individually. I still have Kate’s note. This is what it said:
Kate left this note behind at our wedding
In contrast, my friend Andy wrote, “I remember when you made me bark for a piece of gum in Mrs. Clark’s class in seventh grade.
About every guy I was friends with had a thing for my wife at some point (sorry suckers, you lose!), so I decided to keep mine secret—only Kate wasn’t fooled because she witnessed my eyes light up every day in class when Allison walked in.
“There she is, Jeff,” Kate would say, and give a laugh.
The year went on and the most courageous move I ever made in science class that year was sharing not a kiss with my future wife, but a mechanical pencil. She may have borrowed a sheet of paper, too. I know, I know—risqué.
The summer came, the summer went.
The following year, in tenth grade, when I learned I would once again be paired side by side in Mrs. Agee’s class with Allison, I couldn’t have been happier—only Allison never came to class nor sat beside me that year.
Life had other plans.
Read: Do You Not Know How Beautiful You Are?
The year passed. Summer came.
I never got the gumption enough to tell her and she never learned of my feelings for her, which worked out for the better. Had she not been sick that year, and had I eventually mustered up enough courage to ask her out (
highly unlikely totally wasn’t happening), the feelings I had for her would have been too much for her to withstand.
Sometimes it’s best you test that out on someone else.
I was young and immature.
(One could argue that is still the case…)
The fact that I am almost a year younger than Allison as is wouldn’t have helped.
I had terrible anxiety and was unaware of it. I battled recurrent bouts of depression and didn’t know what this dark monster that I named “Every Third Friday” even was. And, I was soon to join the greatest cow pasture rock ‘n roll band of all-time in Anti-Lou, and everybody knows how we pulled in the ladies with our sweet melodies, so that would have obviously been a conflict.
So, chalk one up to the universe for keeping us apart for nearly a decade.
As my friend Ricky used to say when referring to the universe—the circles, man.
That summer in 1997, my attention shifted to another girl; and Allison, who always had a penchant for older guys, started dating my good friend (and next door neighbor) Jeremiah. In all honesty, I was really happy for Jeremiah and even happier Allison was getting better. I was smitten myself and knew the time for Allison had come and gone, and I was okay with that.
Nine years passed.
Then, one day in 2006 before I started school at the University of Virginia, the dormant seed was re-activated as Allison and I found ourselves sitting together on the patio steps at a mutual friend’s engagement party.
Without her even knowing it, she began watering the seed again, then out came the sun bringing its sunlight with it. The seed’s roots formed and stretched out; branches would later grow, flowers bloomed—and so did my courage.
“I’m going to marry your sister,” I texted Allison’s sister Emily the next morning. “Watch.”
Thanks for reading.
Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash
This post is filed under “Let Me Count the Ways,” a series of vignettes and journal entries about my love for my wife. I know, super cheesy, huh? Share in the comments below how you met the love of your life.
11 replies on “I fell in love with my wife in high school, but thank goodness we never dated”
This was taken from an earlier writing I had competed before the wedding. It was featured on our website and is still there until it closes itself out, I guess. I tried to script it in a format that was more cute entertainment rather than biography.
I hope you enjoy the story of your friend and my relationship.
Kevin and Amanda
“Many waters cannot quench love, Rivers cannot wash it away.” ~Song of Solomon 8:7
How We Met
They spent time in jail together!! Haha! No, they didn’t end up in jail; They worked there. Amanda started at the Lynchburg Adult Detention Center as an officer in December 2011. She remembers reporting for her first night on shift and seeing all of the officers standing outside. She said, “I was so nervous because I just knew all of them were judging my 5’2″, 120lb self and probably taking bets on how long I’d last before I quit.” As she walked past them, they were all standing together in a group, wearing serious faces and looking (in her opinion) mad at the world… except for one. As she went into the building, she caught glimpse of a “tall drink of water” leaning with his back against the wall and his foot propped up. He was wearing aviator sunglasses and playing on his phone… Enter Kevin Hancock.
Bachelor for life? This was the growing consensus about Kevin, and had been for some time, for just about everyone who knew him. The same guy that slept until at least “double digits” every non-work day. And the same guy that had come to the conclusion that he was going to stay single, hang out with friends, and adopt a child on his own at some point in time. So when he met Amanda at the jail, and the witty banter started becoming more and more serious, he began to think, “Is this girl really serious or is she just trying to pass the time at work?” At the same time, he wondered if this funny, beautiful and just a little/lot crazy new chick at the jail was just what he had been avoiding and yet just what he needed (and silently hoping for the whole time).
How We Started Dating
A Little Irish Luck (and Sprinkles) Goes a Long Way! Kevin and Amanda spent the next three and a half months as co-workers assigned to opposite ends of the building. They only really saw each other in pre-shift or if assistance was called for in any of the units. In an environment where every one goes by their last name, insight into a co-worker’s personality is reflected by crude remarks and inappropriate jokes. However, because she routinely brought in homemade cupcakes, Amanda soon coined the name “Sprinkles” by some of the officers (They teased her for putting sprinkles on the icing, saying it was a total girl thing to do, but they complained the next time she made them and left them off). In March 2012, Amanda was on her way back from a St. Patrick’s Day bachelorette weekend with friends, when she received a Facebook message on her phone from Kevin…
Kevin: “Having fun?”
Amanda: “Yep… How’s work?…lol”
Kevin: “Same… When you coming back?”
Amanda: “Why?… You miss me?”
Kevin: “Maybe… ;-)”
Uh oh… flirtatious banter… It just got interesting…
Our First Kiss
Celebrity couple comes to The Drugstore Grill! Over the course of the next month, Kevin put Amanda to a very important test… Meeting “the guys”… First, was at his best friend, Jared’s man cave (garage), where she also met longtime friends John and Blake. To prove she was “One of the Guys”, on a dare, she ate a 500 year-old pickled egg that was the size of a softball. The following week, she met Kevin and “the guys” at a local restaurant/bar where they spent the evening watching sports, cracking jokes, and talking about elbows (inside joke). It was obvious she could hang with “the guys” just fine. As they left, Amanda hugged and said goodbye to the others (she’s a hugger). After that, she walked over to the driver’s side door to say goodbye to Kevin. Not even thinking, she leaned in and kissed him… a few times… lol. Then she simply smiled, said, “Be safe” and got in her car to leave. Immediately, Kevin got out of his car, walked over to her car and kissed her again… YOTS!!
One day, in random conversation, they were discussing what they thought of each other when they first met and started dating…
Amanda: “With your facial hair, ball cap and never fail aviators, you reminded me of Eric Church.”
Kevin: “Haha!…I told my mom you looked like Katy Perry.”
Love Floats! One thing that was evident from the very beginning, was Kevin and Amanda’s shared passion for the river. Anytime they had a day off during the summer, they always figured out a way to get on the river. Even if they weren’t able to float… say spring, fall, or winter… they always found their way to the river at least. The Blackwater Creek Trail is right near their house, and part of it runs along the river. So, it’s commonplace for them to find their way there to enjoy a little bit of nature and the river view. In fact, part of the trail goes over the river, via an old train trestle, to Percival’s Island. Halfway across the river, there are steps that go up to a walkway that includes a historic marker about the trains that use to cross over. Also up there are hundreds of locks that people have placed on the fencing, following a long tradition of people locking away a particular memory and throwing away the key. The idea is that by tossing the key into the water, you and your partner are forever locked into that moment of time. Kevin knew that when he decided to propose to Amanda, that was exactly where he was going to do it.
July, 8, 2016, Amanda was at work. Kevin texted her to see if she wanted to meet him on her lunch to walk down at the river. Any other time, she would have jumped at the opportunity. But that particular day, she was wearing dress shoes, and she had did her make up and fixed her hair. So she said “Thanks, but no thanks”, that she just wasn’t feeling it. A few minutes later, Amanda’s co-worker came into her office, plopped down into a chair, and asked what she was doing for lunch. Amanda told her Kevin had tried to talk her into walking the trail to Percival’s Island, but it was too hot. She made a joke about how all she could think about was how the heat would cause her to sweat, making her straightened hair go crazy and her make up melt away. Her friend told her how sweet she thought it was that Kevin had asked. She told her she should go anyway, but maybe not walk as far. Amanda immediately felt guilty for turning down Kevin’s invite, so she called him and told him she would meet him down there. (Obviously, she learned later her friend was in on it!)
Kevin and Amanda met downtown and made the short walk to the walkway over the river. They always made it a habit to stop there and look at all the new locks that had been placed there since the last time they had visited. They would also take time to read the different inscriptions on them out loud so the other could hear. Amanda went left. Kevin went right. In the middle of the readings, Kevin said, “Hey, look! This one isn’t even locked!” Of course, Amanda immediately walked down to check out this odd occurrence, replying, “Hey, that’s crazy!” But as she leaned in to read the inscription, a breath caught in her throat.
The front inscription read, “Kevin loves Amanda 7/8/16”. On the back, “Mr. and Mrs. Hancock” had been etched.
In total confusion (and shock), Amanda turned around to find Kevin down on one knee and holding a GORGEOUS ring! They won’t go into detail as to what was said. But let’s just say Amanda was totally surprised and Kevin was amazingly sweet and romantic. Then, together they fastened the lock and tossed the key into the river where it will remain, forever resting below the currents. As for their lock… It holds the memory and love of that day securely within itself.
The rest is just the beginning of Our Story.
Well, that beats my story 🙂
I actually read this when we got our wedding invite.
This is beautiful
I love your love stories of you and Allison. One day your children will love to read everything you write!
That’s partly why I write them. Words are windows into souls. I want my kids to know our love story when one day I may be too old to tell it.
Jeff, I am thankful that the seed that was planted so many years ago is flourishing. It is evident in the love you two have for each another. I am also thankful that that love produced two precious children that I love with all my heart.
Same here. They are very happy seedlings of a good thing.
The part about Andy in 7th grade made me laugh…a lot! hahaha I can totally picture Kate saying, “here she comes!” Thanks for the story! Do you hear much from Andy? I had a three hour phone conversation with him shortly after your wedding, and then he disappeared! hahahaha
I remember it like yesterday. Teaberry gum too. Mrs. Clark turned around (she was facing the blackboard at the time) and said, “Did someone just bark like a dog—who was that?” And I started shaking with laughter and had to get up and leave, feigning I needed to use the bathroom. I gave Andy a piece of gum first.
And yes, I do hear from Andy from time to time. Want his #? We catch up occasionally whenever I’m home. We pretty much re-live ages 5-18 whenever we see each other. That, and geo-politics. I used to always try to make him spit out his milk at lunch in middle school. Every time he’d take a sip of milk, I’d try to make him laugh (P.S. pretending you captured a fart in a Zip-loc bag that you opened up at the lunch table worked every time. Not sure if you’ll ever need that bit of wisdom in your life, but if you ever do, you’re welcome)
You’re killing me! I was trying to read your response to my husband, and he couldn’t understand me because I couldn’t stop laughing!
I must have lost his number. I thought it was still in my phone, but I probably deleted it since he disappeared haha