Remember that episode of Friends where Rachel crosses the room and passionately kisses Ross after seeing his heart break for her in their old getting-ready-for-the-prom home video? I really wanted to do that to Jason in our garage on Sunday but couldn't because Ainsley and her little friend were playing in there. It wasn't because of a found home video, but it was because of a similar nostalgic treasure we found in an old box of Jason's high-school belongings.
I have been bugging my husband about going through all of the boxes of old stuff he brought from his mom's a few years ago. Sunday he started sorting through 2 of them, and found all kinds of goodies: short stories and research papers he had written for high-school English classes, our yearbook from when we were in 9th grade, skits we had written and translated as a class in Spanish, and, of course, notes I had written him back when we were love-struck teenagers (the worst part of marrying your high-school sweetheart are the horrible love letters that you come across; I just know that people who fell in love later in life have to have more tasteful correspondence.) When he realized he had hit a gold mine, I went downstairs to join him in deciding what was trash and what we needed to keep.
By far the best find was his 8th-grade journal that he had to write in every Friday for the first five minutes of English class.
Most of you know that Jason and I became a couple after a long friendship (for high-school) our sophomore year. What you may not know is that we also were classified as "going together" the last months of 7th-grade, too. I broke up with him the summer after 7th-grade, partly because we couldn't see each other much over the summer (back then, a long-distance relationship meant it was over a 30-minute walk to the other person's house), but mostly because I was 13. And 13-year-olds aren't as a general rule ready for commitment.
Reading the first entry of his 8th-grade journal told me that I had hurt him pretty badly when I had DD call him and tell him it was over that summer (yes, I am a schmuck for having my best friend do my dirty work.) But he seemed to get over it, and though for good reason I was not mentioned favorably in his journal the rest of the entries, there weren't too many revelations in those teacher-graded pages.
But then in a side pocket, I found a hand-written essay, marked with a big, red "A", called "The Best Day Of My Life."
In this essay, which was perfectly written, Jason had detailed the day in the 7th grade when a girl in our class had asked Jason if he would dance with me at the spring dance that night. And how beautiful I looked when I came into the dance, and how we spent every slow dance together that night. And how even though things didn't turn out the way he had hoped, he was happy for that one day.
That, for an 8th-grade Jason, was the best day of his life.
I looked at him across our dusty, cobwebbed garage. The boy has grown into a man, but I still saw that boy I had loved and then hurt and then loved again inside the grown-up exterior. Don't get me wrong; I know my husband loves me. But I had no idea he had felt that way that young. My heart broke for him. In my head, I saw Rachel in that Friends episode, where the home video camera turns to Ross's crestfallen face after Rachel's date finally shows up and he realizes he's not going to get to rescue her by taking her to the prom after all, and knew what she was feeling. I, like her, wanted to show the man that he has my heart even if I was too blind to see the love in the boy.
At the end of that episode, Phoebe sums it all up by saying triumphantly, "See? He's her lobster!"
I guess Jason is mine.
Happy 11th anniversary, honey.