We met on Tinder, and I don’t want to spend another day without her. I didn’t expect her whatsoever, and when we first met, I didn’t even realize at the time that I was in the presence of the girl I’d always hoped to meet.
The story begins where the last heartache ended. I had just deleted a long text message to a girl I had fallen for but who clearly showed no long-term future romantic interest in me. My heart was heavy. I was sitting at a diner when my phone buzzed with a new Tinder notification but I just clicked off the phone and slid it to the end of the table, taking one last sip of coffee before closing out my tab. That night, a friend helped remind me that I shouldn’t want to be with someone who wasn’t excited to be with me. She told me that the right person was going to cherish me the moment I walked into their life, and I wouldn’t have to doubt or question or wonder about it because I would know.
You see, it seemed impossible, what I had wanted, hoped and waited for. I began to think my standards were too out of this world, that my naïve childlike romanticism would know nothing but hurt and letdown forever, and that every time I came even remotely close to something materializing, it would shatter right before my eyes. That night I felt defeated (again) and sad that things hadn’t worked out the way I wanted. Little did I know at the time, I should have rejoiced with infinite thanks at the collapse of my own wants and plans.
When I got back to my apartment that night, with one last glimmer of hope, I decided to check the Tinder notification. My first thought when I saw her photo was simply: adorable. I wondered if I should even send a message, if it would even be worth it. But I had nothing to lose and had zero expectations from it, so I did. And then I went to bed. But that sent message changed everything.
When we finally met and she eventually came to the door of my apartment, my initial reaction to her was reiterated, simply adorable, but even more so in person. We attempted to watch a movie because it was getting close to Christmas time and I thought we should watch Gremlins because it’s a classic Christmas film, but she soon leaned in, grabbed my face and from there it was immediately, instinctively carnal. That evening when she left, I walked her to her car and said goodbye. She had driven an hour and a half just to see me, and she would continue doing so for weeks and months…
And now as I sit across from her when we go out to dinner on a weeknight in Princeton, I can’t help but stand up, walk over and hug her. I lose myself in her perfect laugh, chestnut bug eyes that squint, and the one spazzy eyebrow I love. I kiss her cheeks, the smoothest, softest cheeks I’ve ever known, stroke her silky hair and at long last, tell her I love her because with everything in me, I do.
It’s as if I hit the biggest jackpot in history and I suddenly became the luckiest man in the world. With a heart careful and guarded, I took things extremely slow with her, skeptical, doubting and not putting too much hope or trust in a relationship. I kept my distance even though we started to consistently see each other. And then, I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life… one minute I thought I had it all together, the rest of my life ahead of me, planned and timed to my own perfection and then a split-second later, my plans collapsed, she caught the light a certain way standing on the jetty with me at the Asbury Park beach and a in this matchless majesty, a veil was lifted, confirming what I had started to truly realize: I was in love.
My heart burned and ached with thrill and terror. This was it. Everyone had thought me crazy, naïve and silly for cherishing and believing in the possibility of fantasies like this, but here she was, real indeed. Deep down I always knew.
Later I’d find out that on the first day, when I walked her back to her car, she knew then and there in that instance that she could never let me go.
“The right girl is going to cherish you the moment you walk into their life.” I could hear the words from the heartbreaking night at the Somers Point Diner. That summer had ended and autumn began, brining with it, her. My internal and tormented “Tom moment” from watching 500 Days of Summer with the girl from summer came back to the forefront of my mind, only now it made sense, and I was no longer hurt and confused and let down by the summer because I was meant for what was to come that autumn.
All of those strange occurrences and my atrocious track record with women, all of the heartbreaks and scenarios that didn’t work out were instead saving me for her. I’m so thankful for my pain, my heartache, my letdowns, and my feelings of loss and sadness. I’m so grateful I didn’t get what I had wanted, for shattered plans and for the absolute unexpected.
There are so many things I still want to say to her. But when you know, you just know. And there’s no doubts or questions or wonderings. It’s just a fact. I never thought I’d experience anything quite as strong as my very first love. I was young but it was real. Yet this, it far exceeds anything like that by a long shot. Truly the best things were worth waiting for; those eight years of singleness were well worth it to be with her today, with someone I didn’t have to win over, but rather won over me. Finally, at long last: liberation.
You see, I always imagined I’d have all my ducks in a row in life and then suddenly, the girl I’d fall in love with would just walk right in, I’d know on day one, and we’d live happily ever after. Instead, my ducks scattered, my world was in turmoil, rapidly changing and uncertain when suddenly, she did enter onto the scene, only I didn’t know it at the time. She was yet to be revealed.
I like this story much better than my own plans and ideas. And this woman far surpasses anything I could’ve ever hoped and dreamed of. I love her for who she is, her humble demeanor, her quiet character, for her caring selfless qualities, her love of family, for her flaws and anxieties. And when I’m with her, walking hand in hand through the streets of Princeton, my heart just melts knowing I am hers and she’s mine. I can barely believe it. Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn’t be one of them.
A destined chance brought this mad, passionate and extraordinary scenario together. Despite the odds, I never stopped believing. Something in me just knew she was out there somewhere, and that she was thinking of me too.
And she was. A new life began with one message sent.