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I fail at summarizing things, so prepare for the long explanation. Alright, so apparently we were in the same Spanish class when I was in eighth grade and he was in ninth. We sat on opposite sides of the room, though, and never talked. I just remember thinking it was weird that Ms. Wade would call him “Mr. Wood.”

Then when we were both at Central High, we ended up re-meeting in photography class when we sat at the same table. It wasn’t an immediate “love at first sight” kind of thing, but I did begin to like him pretty quickly. He seemed really nice, and I was glad when he would talk to me. I would wave to him when he arrived, since I usually got there first. Once when we had a sub, he made an origami frog that hopped across the table. When he wasn’t looking at the end of class, I snatched it and stuffed it in my bag. At Christmas, I gave him a little bag of Lindt dark chocolate as a “thank-you” present for noticing me, a Shy Guy Girl. Thanks for talking to me, and being nice, even though you barely know me.

When class reached its end, we hugged for the first time. Throughout the rest of that semester, we saw each other occasionally, had brief greetings before moving on. I remember him liking my penguin gloves, and taking a photo of them with his phone. I figured he was going to be one of those friends - the ones that aren’t really friends per se, but you see them around and have awkward hellos and small conversations. But I was okay with this. At least he remembered me, and that was enough.

Then he somehow became friends with Katie. I always forget how they met, but he eventually asked her if she knew me, and she said I was her best friend. What luck! On the last day of classes, a big group of us got together to get bubble tea. After getting our drinks, he and I hugged on the floor of Little Nest, since we figured we wouldn’t see each other again during the summer. (Side note: Little Nest was a bubble tea place. It unfortunately closed. Had the best bubble tea ever.) It must’ve lasted at least a minute, as compared to the average couple-second long hugs I normally give out. Oddly enough, we ended up hanging out again during finals week. He, Katie, some of their friends, and I went to Green Acres Mall. When everyone but the three of us dispersed, we went to Shaw Avenue, the elementary school Katie and I attended. There, we fooled around on the playground, going on the slide, and getting bits of green and black stuck to us.

That was just the start. We got together a bunch of times after until he had to go to his dad’s house for two weeks. While there, he and I talked on AIM every night until late. Katie got me to talk on the phone with him once, while we were waiting for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was even worse with phones then, so I was nervous as hell, but excited to hear him. When he finally returned, we had our first “date.” While talking, we planned on watching the Hellsing anime together. We did, plus one. One of friends was there with us, and I ended up feeling sick, so I left early. Another big moment was when we sort of chose our song. I don’t exactly remember all the details, but we ended up snuggling up next to each other on the sidewalk, and listening to "Holland, 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel on his PSP. Katie took a photo, while Chris made a hand-heart around us. Even before we confessed, that song ended up being special to us, and I felt that warm feeling I couldn’t quite place yet.

July 27, 2007. Not really a special day at first. Katie called me up, saying either John or I “had to grow a pair” and tell each other how we felt. I knew he liked me. We were already acting like a couple, sans kissing and all that, but I was scared. What if I was just delusional? Only one other guy had expressed interest in me, and I found out he was a total jerk when I got my head out of the clouds. What if I told him I liked him and that ruined everything? While at Katie’s, we talked to him on AIM. He told us he had an “epic tale” to tell us, and we went to meet him at 7-11. At one point later on, we were left alone, and I asked about the “tale,” but we ended up joking around the subject. It finally came out on the way back to Katie’s house. Schimmy was driving, with John and I in the front seat, and Katie and Chris in the back. I was sitting on John’s lap, as we heard Katie and Chris mention “epic tales” over and over. Then it happened. And apparently, I took forever to reply. I guess I was shocked. The phrase was mentioned again, to which he replied, “I said it, alright!” As we pulled up to the house, I got out, and leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. I failed, and got his lips instead. Our first kiss because I couldn’t get my head to turn the right way. Nevertheless, we were excited as hell. Katie and I jumped around and squeed because holy crap, this was real.

If you’re wondering about the other part of the title, one day, he mentioned how someone said he looked like a koala. I told him how I could see that. Koalas are adorable, and so is he. And so started my collection of stuffed koalas. Haha.


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John M and Jenn C

December 2010

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