Friday, January 13, 2012

You've Got Mail

Part one: First Sight

I never checked my school email account. All I ever received at that address was junk from the career center. But before returning to school from Christmas break I logged in and emptied out the account. Amid the reminders about resume seminars and internships, I had one email not from my school. The subject line was "Your Texas Admirer" and the email address name was "Someone in Texas."

I hovered over the delete button. I was a half a second away from deleting an entire future life, but I didn't. I clicked "Open" and read.

It was an email from the man with the orange scarf at the Indianapolis airport. He wrote a few lines trying to explain that he's not crazy, he's "just a guy who saw [me] for a few minutes and still can't seem to get [my] beautiful face out of his mind." He described the NAU soccer shirt I was wearing and that he regretted not coming over to talk a little soccer. He said that if you can't tell someone how stunningly beautiful you find them during the holidays, then when can you? He signed off wishing me a good New Year. The name signed was Michael.

I read it again. And again. My face felt hot. Then I did what any girl would do. I printed off a copy and showed it to my mom.

"Do you think it's one of my soccer friends playing a trick on me?"
"No, how would they know what you were wearing on the plane?"
"He didn't ask me to write back or anything, but I sort of want to."
"How did he get your email address?"
"What do I say?"

We agreed that I'd write back but give no personal information, thank him for the compliment and ask him how he'd managed to contact me. I sent him the email on January 13, 2005.

I checked my email several times each day until I finally received a response.

The shirt I had been wearing read NAU Soccer, he said, and had the number 13 on the back. He went to the NAU soccer website and there I was. My name, a little About Me section. A picture. He looked me up in the NAU online directory and found my email address.

He was a little embarrassed about the whole thing and said that it was like something out of a Seinfeld episode. Then he said that his sister had made him watch the movie Love Actually the night before and he was feeling a little hopelessly romantic.

"I love that movie!" I replied.

And that's how it began. A little line sent every few days that quickly morphed into 3 page-long emails sent every other day.

We wrote about The Notebook and Napoleon Dynamite. We wrote about past loves and jazz music. His college football career, his life and job in Houston. My love of desserts and my dread of freezing cold soccer practices. College parties, McDonalds apple pies, scars, this new thing called Facebook. Sometimes I'd think about censoring my emails because I'd come across nerdy or young (he was 6 years older than me), but then I thought: I don't even know this person. I will never see him again. Just this once, I'll be who I really am, not caring what he thinks about me or how I might seem. If he's a jerk, this will just...end.

I read his emails aloud to my three best friends until it started feeling real and then I kept them to myself. It was around this time that I told my mom about the emails with "that one guy, remember? Just want to tell you in case it becomes...something." Word got out around the soccer team and my coach wanted to change the security setup of our entire college website. "The Stalker," Michael was called in jest or not in jest, but half the girls were concinved I'd marry this guy eventually.

Every day, multiple times a day, I would check my email. I'd slip into the library between classes for internet access (Ah, life before smartphones!) By then we had switched over to our regular email accounts. I scanned my list of new mail feverishly, looking for his name. My emotions were always at the surface...the thrill of seeing a new email from him, the joy of communicating with a kindred spirit, the disappointment of a day without word from him.

And that's how it was for a month. Things changed on Valentine's Day.


  1. Your blogs sure have me teary-eyed lately. Such a beautiful love story.

  2. I just love reading your love story. Seriously... I'm sitting here at work with chills. Yeah, I shouldn't be reading blogs at work, but how could I pass this one up!? So sweet!

  3. And to think that some consider the number 13 UNlucky! It was certainly a lucky number for the Shockleys'
    Love you, Jules!