The Irish Boy Moves Back

I met Zac in Mrs. McNeely's English class eighth grade year. He had straw-blonde hair that curled around his ears and flipped down his forehead; you know, Zac Efron style in High School Musical. His skin was slightly tanned and there was not a single fat cell on his body, so his legs only consisted of bone and some calves. As I gingerly sat in the front seat of the classroom like the nerd I am, Zac bounded in with his energy and jovial self. He talked to everyone and anyone--even cracking up the teachers. But, I was surprised he didn't have an Irish accent.

Zac was the talk of the town that summer. I remember a classmate down the street from me proudly sharing the news, "You know the Irish boy that is coming back? Yeah, he is friends with my friend." I wasn't sure how to respond, but he had more information: "I have a picture of them. Do you want to see?" This was getting weird, but my neighbor holds out his phone in front of me anyway and to this day I still remember staring into the green eyes of this so-called Irish boy.

As you can imagine, people were excited to hear the accent. But just like any American who grew up in the U.S. and lived overseas for a few years, like myself, he could shed the accent pretty quickly. The gossip died down, but Zac stayed on my radar. He gave me high-fives and asked about my dog a lot. Before I knew it, he was whisked away with other girls.

This is my favorite story though: the eighth grade student body met in the auditorium to watch The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Heartbreaking movie. Somehow, I randomly ended up sitting next to Zac and his girlfriend. And then in the throws of the tragedy, sobs wracked my body. A kleenex box was even thrown at me, which caught Zac's attention. He glanced over at the tears splashing on my lap; he glanced over at his girlfriend. And yep, stuck his arm around me and gave me a squeeze. If I remember correctly, I think his kindness made me cry harder. I actually ended up going home that day because I literally couldn't handle the Holocaust. But never ever will that day leave me when Zac hugged his future wife for the first time. Little did we know, we were going to face tragedy head on in the years coming, together.

High School Sweethearts

You know the drill. We end up as Homecoming Queen and King. He was the football jock and I was the AP nerd. I wish it wasn't that cliché, but I truly think we were lucky. We just so happened to be two mature people that were willing to learn and love and grow. So much of high school was about the ebb and flow of social dynamics, but still choosing to come back to each other. There are a lot of distractions in life, but both of us were family-oriented people whose parents were still intact--we saw the beauty of long-term love.

There are tons of stories I could go into about Zac and I's developing relationship, which I actually do in the book I am writing (stay tuned). I hope to publish that one day and share about the many times Zac showed up for me like he did on that tragic movie day--and the tragic days moving forward. He is a solid human who cares about people's emotions, wants to be successful and happy in his life, and values friendships like none other. Sometimes, I get pangs of jealous from his admirable commitment to friends, but I realize that the reason we have lasted ten years is because he does know how to be a good friend. Love is founded in that.

I hope to continue sharing stories of love, tragedy, and growth in this blog. Please feel free to reach out anytime to add your personal testimony to this creative community. Your everyday moments are important and worthy of sharing. Thank you for reading a little bit about me and the love of my life.