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At first I was speechless reading this. I've known the basic story for years, of course, but you've never described the feelings in this much detail before. That would take writing, of course, so I shouldn't be surprised to read this. But I am.

When I joined that lab group I was the goody-two-shoes, bookworm, un-athletic, shy, and awkward guy from NY who had never had any luck with girls and had no self confidence to speak of. In NC no one knew this. For ten years of school before this everyone knew this. The freedom to reinvent myself was intoxicating. I'm not sure I have ever felt that free. I could be anyone. So I decided to ride high and feel the wind in my face. I took the roads that looked to be the most interesting, most different, most daring compared to my past. I was going to leave that timid guy as far behind as I possibly could. So a lab group of all girls - intelligent, interesting, intense girls - seemed by far the most out of my former character. I held my breath and jumped.

And besides, there was this particularly cute blond with a great figure. On the first day she had been wearing a short sleeved top that set her shape off nicely. I had never known what to say to girls, so when joining the group I just acted like I'd never had any doubt, and made it up as I went along. It was scary - it was amazing. Part of me watched agog while another part carried on like I had all the confidence in the world.

I hadn't banked on the blond's sarcastic wit, or how much fun she and her friends were to tease. It made it possible to sustain the act. If it had been the popular girls I would have run out of gas and confidence and dropped back into old habits. If it had been the dangerous girls, I'm not sure what would have happened. I met two of the dangerous girls later, and managed to skirt peril in both cases. No, these band girls were just the right girls to gain some real confidence - they were able to appreciate my weird style. I could not believe my luck. It was hard to focus on the physics experiments.

Because the blond was hard to read, though, I never detected any interest, so I never thought to ask her out. (From your post I now see how much you were trying to hide - you succeeded completely).

Months later, I had a hard time concentrating the rest of the day after that Valentin-o-gram. I had to chill and refocus on everything else. I had to think. I had to lay plans on how I would try to approach you again. That snow storm made me fey enough to just come knock on your door. A walk in the snow seemed in keeping with my off-beat methods, and maybe just a little romantic.

What really made me speechless tonight, when I read your post, was your use of Lucy Kaplanski's song. I always think of your love for me as very deep and constant. To me it has always felt stronger, more sure, than mine - like your heart is made for longer voyages than mine. Now I catch a glimpse of the intensity, too, and everything stops. You got me this time - even more than the Valentin-o-gram. I sat with my mouth in an o trying to figure out how to start this comment.

So here you are, again, passing love notes in front of everyone. Taking me by surprise in front of everyone. "Everyone is looking at you." Let 'em look. I'm the luckiest man alive - they oughtta look. They don't get to see this every day.

But I do. Oh you great glorious gift... I adore you. Let the whole world know how much I love this woman - who is still so much that sweet girl in that lab group, but also so much more.

M Light

I'm all teary again!


It is such a great blessing and inspiration to read your sloppy virtual PDAs.

Ever may you gush.

Justin Thibault

Thanks for submitting this article to Tarheel Tavern #108!

I look forward to another great one in next week's Tarheel Tavern.

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