Seven years

February 13, 2004

Seven years ago this weekend, Valentine's Day 1997, I traveled from my home in Springfield Illinois to Michele's then home in Colorado Springs. We had been talking on the phone for over a year after meeting, in of all places, an AOL chat room. During that year we had meet four times, once in Colorado Springs, twice in Salinas Kansas, and most recently in Springfield.

We had talked seriously about her moving to Springfield so we could be together, and this trip was to be the start of that process. When I arrived in Denver she met me at the gate with a heart shaped balloon and a teddy bear. We spent Saturday sight seeing and having dinner out. That evening I played for her what was to become our song, "True Companion" by Marc Cohen. It was how I asked her to marry me. Much to my continuing delight, she said "yes."

Sunday morning we were both somewhat depressed as I had to return to Springfield and she wasn't going to move for at least another week. Out of the blue she asked why she could leave her belongings, packed, behind, and come home with me that day. "Home" sounded so good that I said let's do it.

We spent the rest of the day packing her small apartment into boxes and coordinating with her best friend regarding the movers. After a quick dinner at McDonald's we packed her office, and she left behind a revised resignation letter saying she wasn't going to work the last week.

About 9 PM that Sunday evening we started driving east with her car fully loaded, and Abby, her (now our) cat, hunkered down on the floor of the back seat in indignation at the whole proceeding. That night we made it as far as Burlington Colorado before collapsing in exhaustion. On Monday morning I called my office to take the day off and we started the long haul across Kansas and Missouri. In St. Louis we stopped at the airport to collect my car. In the dark that Monday evening we arrived at what would become our first home together.

The seven years that have followed have been fantastic. Once we were together we never looked back. Every day has been a new adventure and with every day I love her more. I've discovered so much about myself and grown tremendously as a result of my relationship with this incredible woman.

Tonight we celebrated with a quiet dinner of Arroz con Pollo (our favorite) at home. I am so very happy to have the privilege to share my live with Michele. I love her more today than ever before. If our history together is any indication of our future then the next seven years, and beyond, are only going to get better and better.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.