US: Chapter 1

Before delving into the next two chapters, I would like to say something:

This is the story of Tyler & me.

It's our love story,
but unfortunately-
I can't talk about it
without mentioning other people.

Their names are dropped...
but people who "knew" me
at this point of my life
will be able to fill the gaps.

To the rest of you,
your reactions remind me how much I love blogging.

Consider this portion of our story the "adolescent stage."
There are going to be some awkward features appearing,
and it's not easy to see how they will all settle...
but they somehow do.

You'll just have to trust me.


Lauren goes to West Africa for the summer.

Spending nights in huts,
endless hours of driving through the desert,
wearing long skirts in the relentless heat,
and not speaking French fluently
combine to make this a really challenging summer.

At night, she lays in bed and dreams of Italy.

The occasional emails she receives over Togolese dial-up
from her newly-titled "boyfriend" back in Italy
brings her back to her happy place.

But after returning home in August and spending a week rafting with friends,
Lauren decides one night to end this, in her opinion, stale relationship
and move on with college life as it existed before...

The next morning she checks her email to learn that a plane ticket has been purchased
and in a few weeks, her boyfriend would be coming to visit her.

Lauren quickly logs off her email,
stares out the window into the early morning sunshine 
and passively resolves to play this one by ear.

FALL 2004

Tyler is back for his second semester.

He knows his way around,
and he is now living in his own house
with several of his new friends.

He also has, what I like to call, his band of hoes.

Editors note: Who, in reality, are all nice, functional females of society...
but, as his wife, I feel entitled to lump this stage of his life under such terms.

Lauren is back to dorm-life with her friends...
all of whom are in relationships,
including Lauren.

All of them except for one...
but, fear not, this girl has scoped out her soul mate
and she can't stop talking about him.

His name is Tyler Knight, 
he transferred in while I was in Italy,
and she's taking him to a party at a Pumpkin Patch...

But after a few weeks,
her roommate regretfully starts to suspect 
that he may not feel the same.

And so she introduces our suite into a revolutionary book that just been on Oprah.

It's telling girls how it really is when it comes to men,
and it's abruptly titled:

He's Just Not That Into You.

We reference this book when Tyler doesn't call her
to see, what in fact, this could possibly mean.

When we see Tyler out with another girl at dinner
we scan through its pages and look for guidance.

We flip through the chapters when Tyler gives her a side-hug
to diagnose the real status of their "relationship."

But all it seems to say is
that there isn't really a relationship...
and he doesn't really like her back.

In the meantime,
Lauren's Italian Stallion comes to the US for two weeks,
he passionately loves on her and says how much he misses her,
they spend the weekends with each other's families...

The night before he returns to Italy,
he looks into her eyes and tells her that he loves her,
that this relationship will work because he cares so much for her.

Lauren feels her heart swell that someone cares for her so much.

She assumes that this is what love must be...
and happily returns the sentiment.

As Lauren drives back to school that night, 
her giddiness begins to turn into a unsettling feeling in her stomach
and realizes that she may have just gotten in over her head.

The following week her roommate convinces her to go to a concert with her.

It's a band called the Drive by Truckers 
and, regardless of what kind of music it is,
 Tyler is going to be there.

It's the perfect place for Lauren to meet him and tell her friend what she observes.

The concert is at a classy place called Juanita's,
and that night, Lauren endures a brutal assault to her ears.

She hates this music and finds "the scene" to be far too cool for her.

As she stands against the back wall playing snake on her phone,
a friend introduces Lauren to a guy named Tyler.


She quickly assumes the role of "laid-back roommate" 
to help validate the eligibility of her friend.

As she talks over the loud music,
she's excited to learn that Tyler grew up knowing her cousins.

As it turns out, they have more in common than she could have guessed.

After the concert is over,
they say goodbye and return to their respective groups.

Lauren feels quite satisfied with her interaction,
she had never expected to make a new friend that night.

Tyler is ready to leave this awful concert
and wonders what that random girl was saying for the past hour.

All he knows is it he couldn't hear a thing, she wouldn't stop talking,
and the lighting was so weird he has no idea who she is.

Lauren & Tyler pass each other on campus the next week.

She excitedly waves hello to her new friend,
stops along the sidewalk,
and adjusts her Quicksilver messenger bag to a conversational position.

Tyler looks at the giddy stranger standing in his path,
 politely smiles and nods,
and walks straight past her.

If you were expecting a story involving love at first sight...
you might have come to the wrong place.

*I wish I had more pictures of this stage of our life, but facebook wouldn't open up to our college until Fall 05...
so I'm a bit limited to what I can scrounge up.