How We Met

Tom and Ellie selfie on a hike.

KED: So. how did we meet? We worked together for a while, sort of.

TLM: Sort of. I mean, I knew who you were, but not necessarily by name. I started noticing you walking through the library to work carrying your cycling helmet. I guess that was when you started working for IU.

KED: That would have been in spring 2007. You said once you used to see me at the front desk of the TLTC, but I don’t remember that 🙂

TLM: We were doing a lot more teaching with the TLTC back then. I think I even used one of your meeting rooms for a WCMS meeting that was immediately following a workshop, or something. I recall asking whoever was at the desk where the room was. Might have been you, but I can’t remember. That was a long time ago!

KED: Well, then I took a WCMS workshop from you. It was the inaugural WCMS workshop that ITTE ran. I noticed all the climbing stickers on your Nalgene and figured you were probably an OK guy. That must have been January 2009.

TLM: Ha, that poor water bottle. May it rest in pieces. I know I kept seeing you on and off in the library when I was there for an early morning workshop, but let’s flash-forward a little bit. I remember being introduced to you at the climbing gym at one point. I can’t quite pinpoint the year, but it was a few years ago.

KED: The guy i was dating at the time introduced us! I don’t remember when it was, either.

TLM: I don’t even remember who I was climbing with that day. Probably Sam, maybe someone else, I don’t know.

KED: Me, either! I’d forgotten meeting you at the gym until you mentioned it this past summer. That would have happened after I’d moved out of Wells, so I wouldn’t have seen you for a few years. Actually, probably not at all between that day at the gym and when we went hiking this summer!

TLM: Yep. I got that email from you asking if I wanted to go get beers or go on a hike or something. I recognized your photo in Outlook when the message came in.

KED: I was so nervous about sending that email! I didn’t want you to think I was hitting on you, especially since you were sort of a coworker. Really I was just feeling lonely in Bloomington and wanted to hang out with someone my own age.

TLM: I know that feeling. I was living with roommates at the time, but during the summer, between work and summer jobs, I never saw either of them except maybe once a week. Bloomington can be pretty lonely when you’re in your 30s and don’t have children.

KED: Yeah, most of my friends my age had moved away. I wanted to hang out with someone closer to my age.

TLM: I was just as nervous replying. In fact, I think I rewrote the reply I sent several times. I, too, didn’t want you to feel like I was hitting on you. There were a couple of false starts before we actually got together, but it culminated in a hike at Yellowwood, not too far from where the ceremony is going to be held. In fact, we stopped just short of the shelter on the hike so I could use a tree.

KED: Use a tree for what?

TLM: That’s between me and the tree!

KED: LOL. But you’re right, we met for a hike on a Wednesday afternoon, the 25th of June. We were supposed to meet at 6 but I was running a few minutes late. And I brought Mona.

TLM: So we hiked, we talked, we added mileage, and we got back to the car after dark.

KED: You talked about trolls!

TLM: Ah yes. Trolls. To be fair, I had just watched Troll Hunter on Netflix. (Which was a pretty great movie, by the way.) About halfway through the hike we stopped to read some poetry by the lake.

KED: At sunset! While flocks of birds flew overhead. It was beautiful. We watched the stars come out. And then the rest of the hike the forest was lit up with lightening bugs. I’d never seen anything like it.

TLM: That was pretty awesome!

KED: After we’d walked 4.5 miles I asked if you’d like to do another 5ish. I was impressed when you said yes without hesitation.

TLM: Yep! I enjoy hiking. I even kept up! 😛 We even got a little lost on the way back to the car. Luckily we had a map and are both pretty good at reading one. Although, I will admit, you are better than I am when it comes to land navigation.

KED: I’d also hiked there a lot, and you hadn’t been there since you were a kid.

TLM: Right.

KED: We got back to the car and drove back into town, where you’d left your truck, but instead of getting out of Dora you stayed and we kept talking. I don’t remember what we talked about; maybe climbing?

TLM: I don’t know. I remember at one point getting on to the subject of cycling because the lead rider in Ride Across America (RAAM) rode in front of us on Third Street on his way out of Bloomington.

KED: Which was AWESOME! We drove down to the aid station in front of O’Malia’s but didn’t see much action there. That night we saw the top 3 RAAM riders.

TLM: That was sweet! I had never seen anything like it before! Shortly after seeing the third cyclist go by, we decided it was time to go home. After all, it was a Wednesday, and we both had to work the next day.

KED: It was pretty late. Close to midnight, maybe? I really enjoyed talking with you. It surprised me!

TLM: It was refreshing. Someone my age who was into the same things that I enjoyed doing. It was nice!

KED: Right, and who was smart and friendly and not weird or creepy. Then we didn’t see each other again until the next Tuesday.

TLM: That’s when we went on a bike ride together. I don’t even remember how far we went, but I remember that I was so exhausted afterward.

KED: It was about 18 miles. I kicked your butt!

TLM: That you did.

KED: You had a monster bike that was heavy and slow. Plus, you were recovering from a back injury.

TLM: Yea, my commuter bike is really slow, and I was recovering from carrying Sam out of a canyon with Carney over spring break. She’d severely sprained her ankle climbing

KED: But the whole time, you never complained. Even though it was sweltering and your back hurt and I left you in the dust.

TLM: Haha. I enjoyed riding with you, though. I had time to think about you while trying to catch up. We also did some chatting when we were riding next to each other. It was fun! It had been a very long time since I had ridden up and down hills like the ones we ride regularly now.

KED: I was so happy to have a riding buddy! You’ve said before that something about that ride made you decide you wanted to date me.

TLM: Yea, at some point during that ride, I did decide I wanted to date you.

KED: I wasn’t really sure how i felt. I knew I liked being with you, but I had just sworn off dating a few weeks before we met.

TLM: I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was all the catching up I had to do. Maybe it was how kind and genuine you were. Something made me realize that I wanted to be more than just friends with you. I wasn’t looking to date anyone either.

KED: Well, then back at my house, you took a shower, and I made us dinner, and we watched The IT Crowd.

TLM: And while watching The IT Crowd (Season 3, Episode 2, where Moss kisses Roy) I put my arm around you and snuggled up closer, and then we kissed!

KED: What?! No! That’s not how it happened! We went outside to watch a storm roll in first. THEN we went back inside, and you kissed me.

TLM: “Are We Not Men?” is the name of the episode.

KED: LOL, you remember The IT Crowd better than you remember our first kiss 🙂

TLM: Oh, right! I forgot about sitting in the bed of my truck, watching a thunderstorm roll in. We sat out there until the rain picked up to a point where we didn’t want to sit out there anymore.

KED: Yup! That was nice. There were lightening bugs out then, too, but not as many as there were on the night of the hike. After that night we were pretty much inseparable. At least, we spent all our free time together.

TLM: That’s pretty much how we became a couple. I didn’t want to spend time away from you because I missed you so much.

KED: Which was horrible three weeks later when you went to the Red and I went to California!

TLM: I know! It was a good thing we had notebooks to write letters in to each other! And the occasional phone call.

KED: Then when I got back we *sort of* started talking about marriage… In very abstract terms.

TLM: But it didn’t stay abstract for too long. Before I knew it, we were ring shopping and basically talking about getting married like it was a certainty and not a hypothetical situation anymore.

KED: Which was crazy!! Completely not what I’d expected. And certainly not what I was looking for when I emailed you earlier in the summer.

TLM: I know, right? I wasn’t expecting anything except a new friend to do outdoorsy things with. I decided a few years ago that I didn’t really want to get married. That all changed when I met you!

KED: 😀 Right, and I’d quit dating that spring and signed up for a marathon instead. It turned out you proposed to me on the day i was *supposed* to run my I’m-not-dating-anymore marathon.

TLM: 🙂 Yes I did. And you said yes!

KED: I’d say yes again, too, I think.

TLM: You think?

KED: Pretty sure.

TLM: Well then, will you [still] marry me?

KED: Of course! I can’t wait 🙂 Will you marry me?

TLM: Absolutely!

KED: OK, then. What are you up to on June 21?

TLM: Oh, I don’t know. Want to get married on that day?

KED: Sure, why not?

TLM: It’s a date!