In honor of our 6th wedding anniversary, I've decided to blog about what led up to the wedding in the first place.
Late November 1998, two years after I graduated from Alta High, I did not meet Zach.
I did, however, see this...
My little sister's highschool musical, Lil' Abner. Zach was Abner. I was really impressed with his singing voice, and thought he was cute for a little highschool kid. Then I forgot all about him.
7 tumultuous months later, I broke up with my best/boy friend of four years and found myself quite distanced from any other people I could hang out with. I decided to make new friends doing a Sandy City musical, "The Best of Broadway with Robert Peterson," and was just lonely enough to condescend to speak to a guy a whole year younger than me. He sat next to me on a bench while we were waiting to go into another room, and said something about his boss killing him for missing work. I recognized him from Lil' Abner and thought I had seen the play two years before, and that he had already been on his mission.
We got a little more familiar with each other during rehearsals. There was one "Hello Dolly" number involving all of the guys marching around, and as I sat watching and laughing at the song, I noticed him watching me smiling. Okay, so really, at first I was flirting with the guy next to him. But that dude didn't notice me, and Zach did. So I switched guys, (yes, I was horrible) and ended up just smiling at Zach every night, while he smiled back.
One night at the end of rehearsal he was talking about how he had freaked himself out by watching "Sixth Sense" alone while his family was out of town. He mentioned not wanting to go home yet, and so I said I didn't either. So we got a bright idea and I followed his car to Golden Swirl on State and 106th, where we sat on the lawn out front. We chatted while I weaved grass into his leg hair. (Something I did back then, I guess.)
I had been trying to figure out how old he was since the day we first talked, and asked his birthday.
I inhaled in surprise. He was a whole year younger!
"You're birthday is in May, too?"
I did it again- did we have the same birthday?
"Ohhh," I said disappointed. "Mine's the 25th." Why I thought we needed to have the same birthday, I don't know.
But then we got around to the year, and I wasn't thinking the day seemed quite so important anymore. "Wait, so how old are you?" I was kind of nervous.
"18. How old are you?"
Three years younger?!!! He wasn't a return missionary! He had just barely graduated!! I wanted to rewind the evening and let the poor little 18-year-old go home alone.
But, in a fraction of a second, I made up my mind that he was way too nice to be embarrassed about. At least we'd be good friends during the play.
"I'm 21." I wonder if I said it like I think I said it. Like a disappointed door closing.
Every night as we ran off the stage, he'd find me and tickle/grab my waist. Every night I shrieked in surprise. When the cast was called into the green room before our first performance, he came in late and I waved him over to the only chair in the jam-packed room, thinking we'd share it. We didn't fit, and I ended up on his lap. But we were just friends. Got that??? Juuuust frieeeends.
We joined an audition choir at SLCC when the play was over. Because we both had this hankering to wake up, drive 20 minutes and sing (as friends) at 6:00 every morning.
The year before, I had been planning to go to New York with my ex-boyfriend, and decided I was still going without him. Zach got permission to go with me and my cousin; permission granted because we were "just friends." And honestly, we still had ourselves fooled.
Before the trip, Zach invited me to stay with his family in their Fairview cabin during General Conference. We drove up alone. Together. As friends. Zach mentioned that his hands were cold, and I bragged about having ice hands. Being the competitive people we are, we felt each other's hands to see who's were coldest. As we sat "feeling" each other's hands I talked about how awkward it had always been for me to hold hands, and how it was totally comfortable for some people, blah blah. We even commented that now we were holding hands and had a conversation about it. As friends.
Between sessions we went upstairs with his guitar and he played a song he had been writing for weeks. I admiringly asked him how one goes about writing a song. He got really uncomfortable and said "Well, for this one, I just thought of a story I wanted to tell."
I asked him why it was taking so long to write it.
"Because I don't know the end of the story... yet."
The lyrics started, "Maybe in a diff'rent life, You'd see me in a diff'rent light. We'd walk hand by hand, 'stead of side by side. Maybe in a diff'rent life," and just got more obvious from there.
I asked if the song was about us.
So that was when it turned into a "thing." But we didn't do anything about it because we had a vacation to New York planned and the only reason he had permission to go was because we were "just friends." Well, we held out as long as we could, and our first kiss was barefoot under the stars on the beach of the Atlantic. Romantic. Usually we leave out the part that we both really had to pee, and we were actually on the way to a restroom.
We came back to Utah as a couple. After choir practice, one of the girls noticed us holding hands on our way back to our cars. "Did you guys hook up while you were gone?! That's so sweet!" She then said something weird: "And we were all here to witness it," like she knew this hook-up was going to be blogged about someday.
Both our of parents weren't as convinced. I can't blame them- we were about to spend two years apart. We found out that I had been discreetly left out of Zach's scrapbooks because, well- "we weren't sure if you were always going to be around!" And my mom once interjected while I gushed about my new boyfriend and wondered if I was just rebounding; "Well, he'll make a nice in-betweener."
Sometimes it even seemed to us like a long shot. Zach wasn't too pleased when I was assigned to solo the Saturday's Warrior's "Dear John" song in choir.
May of 2000, 10 months after we met, Zach left for his mission to Monterrey, Mexico. A few weeks later I left for Catania, Italy. But not before spending 4 days in the MTC together (as "friends" again- plphhh.)
Writing letters for two years was good for us, I'm sure. Italians who found out about it went on and on about how romantic it was. But it was hard. We got permission to talk on the phone at Christmas. That conversation was also hard. We were ready to marry each other, and just had a little life to cover first. We didn't want to feel that way while serving, but we did.
I came home December 2001. Zach wasn't resigned to receiving the dreaded "Dear John," but he still worried.
By the time Zach got home in May, I had plans for a wedding dress.
There was a surprise public proposal at the Tuachan planned that didn't go through, because I'm not the kind of person that can jump into something without overanalysing it to death. Then it was Zach's turn to wonder what kind of crazy woman he was thinking of spending eternity with.
Finally, we went to "The Garden" in SLC. He drove us back to the Sandy amphitheater where we had performed the musical that introduced us, had me read his patriarchal blessing, and then we walked down the path we used to walk when we first met. He knelt and popped the question. It was kind of anticlimactic after all we'd been through to get to that point. But just as effective...
September 6, 2002 we were married in the Salt Lake Temple, or- as my grandma says, the "only true temple." ;)