They were just friends, she said. Justttt not into her, he said.
OH THE LIESSSS.
And the pretense? Friends with solid flirt-perks. Just soccer team c0-captains. Just alma-mater sharers. Just study partners. Just someone to clank glasses with (oh, every) Friday night. She’d host elaborate dinner parties serving handmade pumpkin ravioli because she’s real fancy like that, and he not only gladly joined her hey look at the marriage material I am showcasing, but he somehow ended up joining the conversations Elizabeth was a part of… even when she was seated at the other end of the table. Tyler’s eyes always scanning for hers, his ears always listening in for her thoughts. Somehow, he always found his way next to her. She was radiant and complex and confident, and… he was drawn. Despite all of their time spent together, he couldn’t figure her out, she made him feel… different than any girl ever had… and that was bizarre, so he’d do his best to keep an emotional distance, until he’d actually see her, and then all plans were shot south, and he was back to making her laugh, and all that other flirty business that makes us throw our head back and giggle. It took a minute, but after a real hot self-realization, and a ARE YOU KIDDING BETH HE SO LIKES YOU from a friend, she realized, heyyy you know what… this doesn’t feel like just friends.
But she should have known her own feelings long before then. Like, way long before, like, how about on the first day they interacted, maybe?
It should have been obvious back at the college kick off pool party, when he dropped a massive plate on his foot, his toe all nasty covered in blood, he (pre-med) convinced it was broken, when that litttttleee devilish part in her so selfishly didn’t want him to seek medical treatment in the ER, because, well, he was sooooo cute, and… well, she wasn’t done talking to him yet. Aw don’t leave the party, cute one! Remain in your pain, cute one!
She should have known that, in so many ways, that type of desire makes for a really terrible friend.
But, neither were looking for anything serious (BAH, always the case in these types of stories). And so friends they hid behind, grew within, and eventually graduated out of. They were pals. Pals that just so happened to both be ridiculously good looking, single, and… attracted to each other. No big deal. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Just kidding. Don’t move along. Real big deal. Lots to see here. Because one excellent night, they were out together in a group, and Tyler courageously shared with a mutual friend that he had come to terms with the fact that there were some real-deal feelings stirring… that, he, liked… Elizabeth. Now, this my friends, is a lesson as to why you tell the person instead of the friend.
Her friend “saved” Elizabeth, and let Tyler know that Beth thought of him… as… more like a… brother. A BROTHER. When her friend later ranted to Elizabeth about the heroic save, Elizabeth winced a bit. Because. “Giiiirl, I think I like him back.” …is how she said it. Verbatim.
Weeks later, it was St. Patricks day, and I don’t need to tell you that a drink may have had something to do with it, but… I’ll tell you anyway, a drink had something to do with it. And he had to get to her. Had to make her stomach spin a little. So he kissed her. ON THE LIPS. …and Dear LORD she was waiting for that, and gladly returned the smooch, even though she maintains she had bronchitis. So… remember when I told you he’s pre-med? I have something else to tell you, in my interview with Tyler, he told me that one of the cutest parts about Elizabeth (besides the fact that she would eat candy for every meal if no one judged her,) is that she always thinks she is terribly sick and might die. He cannot recount to you how many times she’s made him check her ears, nose, and throat. And when she is utterly convinced that she has things like Bacterial Tonsillitis, he calmly reminds her that she had spicy food for dinner and that she in fact, will not die, not even a little bit. It’s like they were meant for each other, or something. Now, back to the bronchitis first kiss episode, she warned me that in his account of the story he will try and convince us that she didn’t have bronchitis, but that she was seen by A REAL PHYSICIAN EVERYONE, and that it was AN ACTUAL MEDICAL MIRACLE that he did not catch what she had. The signs of why they should be together were inescapable!
But truly, being around them, I couldn’t imagine their lives before each other. They have this incredible friendship that was always there, but there is this heightened sense of togetherness that only a romantic love gives way to. They flirt, they encourage, they sass at each other, they look out for one another. The way they play off each other’s humor, the way when he kisses her, her eyelashes flutter because she’s closing her eyes so tight like she’s dreaming, the way he shyly diffuses the praises she sings of him, and also the way he outwardly marvels over her gregarious spirit. You can just feel what he sees in her. You can just rest in what she believes about him.
That’s the kind of love that makes you feel awake. You know what I mean? It stirs something personal, because it invites you in, and tells a story of something larger than yourself. It’s the kind that leaves no guessing about the altitude of their joy together. The kind of love that unabashedly tells all in a single interaction, and doesn’t allow you to wonder how deep or how far, but begs you the sensation of what’s next. For a story of splendor like this, what next?
They put it like this,
“The world is so bright and open and shiny right now. I just can’t reiterate enough that all of this, this life we’ve built together has always been a team effort. I think when people hear we’re engaged, they think we met and it’s just this just…happened. None of this just happened. We’ve built this life, together, brick by brick, side by side, as a team.”
To that I will not put a cap on. The answer to what’s next for some may be simple, charted, predictable… but for them… the answer is anything. Anything could be next. Limits and joy and purpose, incalculable. For minds as brilliant as these, for friendship as rooted as this, for hearts as wild as theirs, the thrilling exhale of
Raves & Thanks
Florist (crown, puppy garland, bouquet): The Bloomin’ Gypsy
Hair & Make Up: Robyn Renee Zekaria
Venue: The Villa, San Juan Capistrano