The other day I was asked what the deal is with Paul and why he does not appear in my older scrapbook albums. So for those of you that do not know the story of Elise and Paul (and/or you are just really bored) this is the post for you.
I met Paul in 5th grade, when I went to spend the night at my new friend Kristen's house. Paul was Kristen's older brother - a seventh grader who was a bit of a nerd. I can call him that because he was...and because he would call me an annoying, giggly girl. Kristen and I did art projects as he darted around the house - in a cute way.
Kristen and I grew to become close friends and our tight knit circle of girls met at her house nearly every week throughout junior high and then high school. Our freshman year and sophomore year before we got our drivers' licenses, Kristen and I rode home from school with Paul. We listened to scary shouting rock music and I tried to make them both laugh.
In the spring of 2001, Paul graduated and I wrote in his yearbook that someday he would be a fantastic doctor and I would come to him and pay him with jokes for medical treatment. I also wrote that we should go on Jeopardy together. He wrote something along the lines of "Have a great summer. KIT." Paul went to Cal Berkeley - I of course stayed in high school.
We both had boyfriends and girlfriends for the next couple years. In the spring of 2003, I got accepted to USC and denied acceptance to Cal which I think deep down really annoyed him. And by think, I mean I know.
While at school, we saw each other occasionally on summer and winter breaks. Spring of my junior year, he emailed to tell me that he had found my blog and was impressed with it. I was very flattered and called him to tell him. I am really awkward on the phone so that was not a good idea. (Please note Paul no longer reads this blog unless prompted: turns out real life Elise is more than enough.)
In May of 2006, we were both back in Sacramento and both single. We were both "interested" but I was on a boy-strike and not too excited about starting something. We went to Starbucks one afternoon and Paul put his heart on the table. Like an annoying girl, I said, "thank you, but no thank you" and tossed out that I was not looking for a relationship until I was at least 32. Paul seemed to take this very well. A day later, Paul, Kristen and fam went to Hawaii and I realized that not only was I an idiot but that I did indeed like this boy. We text-messaged nonstop for six days and (over text) decided to go on a real date. We planned to go out to dinner to PF Chang's (Paul made the reservation from Kauai).
When Paul returned home from vacation, he walked the mile from his house to mine. We sat outside on my sidewalk until 2 in the morning and talked about this new and exciting thing we could be. He had already committed to moving to Maryland and attending medical school with the US Navy. I asked a lot of questions about what his life would look like for the next 12 years. He did not know too many answers, but did his best.
We went out to dinner the next night. This was my first date with a boy who I was not with already in a relationship. The car ride was filled with nervous laughter and self-deprecating humor (my go-to in awkward situations.) We arrived at the restaurant and I proceeded to get drunk after ONE SIP of my Mai Tai. (Nerves and alcohol are not a good mix for me.) He laughed when I spooned rice all over the table and I laughed at the whole situation. I probably said, "Isn't this weird that we are going out?" at least 8 times.
We had a quick little romance that summer. In late July, at a bar in Berkeley, he told me that he loved me, and true to form I got mad that the declaration had come so quickly. (Being dramatic and a light weight are the burdens I have to bear.) But at the end of the day, no matter because I loved him right back.
I went back to USC for my senior year in August. That year was hard for us. I hate the phone and the time difference made everything complicated. I did not handle the situation well - mostly because I was scared of something so real. I was also looking for a job and trying to spend time with my girls while Paul was settling in to a completely new and very structured routine. I wanted to live my last year in college and I did. Fortunately, our relationship lived through it. In the spring, I decided I was going to move to Maryland. Paul said he would believe it when I got off the plane with a full suitcase.
I spent much of summer 2007 dealing with mouth surgeries to fix my teeth. Paul, back in Sacramento during his summer break, was my rock throughout the whole process - even when my front tooth fell out of my mouth while we were at a bar. (I know. I would have been lucky to find a stone boulder who was willing to look at me during that mess.)
Fast-forward to August 6, 2007. Bags packed and car already shipped halfway across the country, my parents dropped me off at the airport and everybody cried. I was going to live with a boy. A boy with whom I had spent 45 days in the same city during our short relationship. It was sort of like performing a big show without a dress rehearsal. Or a back up plan. Our families held their breath that first week.
One year and some months later - we are still living in our apartment with the hope that we will build a life together. We battle occasionally because I am still dramatic, but overall we are so very good. Moving to Maryland to see if this relationship was the real deal was the best decision I have made. When asked, Paul says the best decision he has made
ever in this relationship was , "Convincing you to give it a shot." I love him. I do. I do.