I’m going to need everyone who has posted a Facebook status along the lines of, “Happy Anniversary to my best friend and the love of my life!” to form a line, so that in an orderly fashion, I can walk down said line and thump each of you right in the middle of your foreheads.
It was the summer of 1997, I was 19 years old and spending the break working in the office of a church my mother had started attending.
My parents had just gone through a shocking divorce, and by shocking, let me just say that to this very day, almost 20 years after their divorce, I’ve never heard my parents argue. Ever. They woke us up one fine Saturday morning and told us they had gotten a divorce a few weeks earlier and my dad was moving out. There was no warning shot fired, no attempt at counseling or reconciliation, just that one sucker punch when we weren’t paying attention. A year later, I broke up with my boyfriend of four years and my heart was still tender from both events.
Before I headed back for the next semester, my older brother Matt and I decided to go to Texas for a motorcycle rally with a friend’s family.
We borrowed a tent, loaded Matt’s car and joined a caravan of cars following the O’Bryant family to Texas. One of their sons, Zeb, was a year younger than me. Even if I was looking (which I wasn’t) I wouldn’t have looked at him twice.
Zeb wasn’t my type. My type was clean-cut, the kind who wore lots of Polo shirts and khaki pants, possibly played golf. Zeb rode a metallic blue 1976 Harley-Davidson everywhere he went, had a goatee that was a little longer than I thought sanitary and his naturally brown hair was bleached blonde and spiked in a manner not unlike Edward Cullen’s — or Edward Scissorhands’, for that matter.
Regardless, meeting Zeb began a weekend-long love affair with his vintage Harley-Davidson and winding back roads. Every time Zeb jumped on his bike, he’d give me a nod, I’d hop on and we’d take off. The rumble of the Harley and the twisting roads through the Hill Country almost hypnotized me. The wind blasted my face and ratted my hair as the sun warmed my jeans.
We were sitting in a church meeting when I had a crazy thought:
“My husband is here somewhere…”
My eyes scanned the crowd and as they did, they fell on Zeb, who was sitting to my right, ripped jeans and motorcycle boots propped on the chair in front of him. Now I’m not saying I heard an audible voice, but something deep inside of me clearly shouted, “It’s him.”