I had a tiny crush on A.J. the first second he walked into our student newspaper’s orientation session. He had a beard, tattoos and was always wearing band T-shirts. He was a baddie TM. Being in a relationship at the time, I never really indulged the idea of he and I being together. Plus I couldn’t get him to talk to me.
He came in when he needed to be in every Thursday and left immediately when he was done. I flitted desk to desk in search of entertainment those days, and most of the staff was happy to indulge me, or at least they pretended to be interested in my babbling. A.J. never spoke to me unless spoken to, and when he would, he’d say something so insightful that I’d be floored and have to retreat to my desk to find the next cool thing I could say to him in a week’s time.
We connected accidentally at our university president’s house. Being irreverent and bored, I started throwing gang signs at everyone at our table during her Christmas party, and when I met A.J’s eyes, he was throwing them back wordlessly.
We became friends shortly after, and went to the bar one time with our friends Amber and of course, Shelby. Without warning, I buried both hands into his beard and almost cried because I was afraid I’d never see him again after graduation
Fate would have it that I’d see him in that very bar a year later in May, he was celebrating his sister’s 21st birthday. After that, we’d Snapchat every now and again, and I’d get excited any time he’d send me one about anything at all.
We hadn’t spoken in months when I’d begin having doubts in my years long relationship. Crying to my little sister in the car about how things were good, but didn’t seem right with my then-boyfriend, the words left my mouth quicker than I could understand them:
“I don’t know why, but I feel like I should be with A.J.” I said.
“Then go be with A.J.” She said.
Shortly after, we were snap chatting again. I’d wait daily for them, and they’d come in every day. What struck me about A.J. was that he didn’t play any games, he immediately told me he wanted to be with me, and when I asked that we wait until I could be sure I was over my breakup, he obliged without a second thought. We were all in from the very beginning.
Our first date was a disaster. I accidentally got drunk anticipating it. My brother told me I was going to ruin everything, and determined to fulfill that promise, I later I got into a fight with my sister on the street, we never laughed so hard. Two weeks later, we said “I love you.”
When he met me, my employment was shaky at best. I didn’t have a car. One of the most important people in my life was dying and I couldn’t understand or process it. Everything was falling apart. A.J. never let me lose faith in myself, and held me safe during the storm. I couldn’t have done it without him.
A.J. is the kindest human being I’ve ever met, he never makes anyone feel small. He is so genuine and earnest, completely unpretentious, but still wildly intelligent. He laughs with all his heart, he loves Bailey without abandon. He wears work boots and band tees, now from concerts we go to together. He has made me laugh harder than I ever have when I felt like I was drowning. He is my everything.
I love you bad, Andrew Joseph. And I always will 💛
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