Justin and I had both graduated from college in the Spring. He took his first job in Troy, Alabama, while I prepared to move four hours away from home to begin grad school at the University of Alabama.
We had known each other throughout college, but had not begun to date until just after graduation. We actually graduated on the exact same day although I am three years his junior. Perfect timing.
The summer after graduation I only lived one hour away from Justin. He kept the pavement hot between his work & my parents' house visiting as often as possible and winning my heart a little more each time.
It's as simple as this... I fell in love with him that summer.
However, Fall was fast approaching and while I was excited to move to a different city & begin grad school alongside my bff Sassy, I wondered how our brand new relationship would progress.
Moving day came. My parents, Justin & I made the journey to Tuscaloosa. My new home. We spent several days exploring the city, getting furniture in it's rightful place & stocking up on groceries before my folks returned home.
With my parents' blessing (& Sassy's too), Justin stayed over a couple more days to help us settle in & unpack. His schedule at that time was 8 days on/ 6 days off so he could afford a bit more time with his girlfriend.
He even bought us a grill as an apartment-warming gift. The perfect thing for us two 21-year-old sorority girls! It would prove to be an awesome gift especially when J would come into town & grill us up some steaks.
I remember the following sequence of events as if it happened yesterday.
Sassy and I had our sweet new apartment together. I think she had run an errand most likely to pick up that one last cord she needed to get her computer set up.
Meanwhile, I was most concerned with getting my new Pottery Barn bedding fixed just so (did I make the right choice on the window treatment? Is it the look I'm going for?). Priorities, I tell you. Hooking up computers was not on my list of Most Important Things To Do. What? We were only starting grad school. Computers could wait!
Justin was helping me unpack the myriad of boxes filled with all manner of essential items one needs like picture frames and lamps and throw pillows. I bent over to pick up one particularly heavy box when it happened...
There's no two ways about this so pardon me, I will just have to say it...
It was loud and unmistakable.
Bare in mind we were in that state of young love where one simply does not do such.things.as.that. Pass gas? Wake up with morning breath & unruly hair? I must be the only woman in the world that doesn't happen to, Justin! Aren't you a lucky, lucky man?!
Clutching my lower back as I jumped into the air, I exclaimed...
"Oh, my goodness! My back just popped!"
With that, I turned on my heels and ran into the bathroom Sassy and I shared. Locking the door & turning on the faucet so maybe the running water would drowned out my utter embarrassment, I placed my hands sternly on the vanity and looked at myself in the mirror.
I mouthed the words over again. My Back Popped.
Your back popped?!?! Who says that? You farted! And it was loud. So very, very loud. Horror of horrors, what if it smells?!
Knowing I couldn't live in the bathroom or die there, I knew I had to return. Willing my face to look as normal as possible & come off about ten different shades of scarlet red, I turned off the water, took a deep breath and opened the door.
The man I loved was busily working away as if my back hadn't popped at all. I took the cue from him and returned to the important task of organizing my closet.
The conversation picked right up. Is there a new place we could all go out to dinner? What sounds good? Maybe Sassy will be back soon & we can decide.
Hallelujah & Amen. I was in the clear. No sideways looks or potty humor came my way & we jumped back into our normal state of being happy & in love.
I not only had a handsome boyfriend who used his time off to help me move a thousand highly important boxes, but he was quite the gentleman, too!
He never once made a remark about my 'back.'
Fast forward a year and a half.
The date was set. The invitations sent. The menu decided. The band booked. We were getting married, my man and me! Life was golden.
One particular day just weeks before the wedding, Justin and I were in the car together returning from quite the romantic date... when the urge hit. You know the one.
I've passed gas in front of him before, right? I mean, surely he knows it happens to everybody. I don't think I can hold this in...
And just like that I let one slip out.
No big deal. It wasn't even that loud, but for good & proper measure I glanced at The Love of My Life and said, "Excuse me. Sorry."
To which he replied... with a sly grin on his face...
"Oh... did your back pop?"
He's a gentleman. He's a joker.
And 6 years later, he's still my valentine.
i love you, J.