Once upon a time..in a far away land…a little girl was born. Michelle Leigh was her name. She was born in the greatest state in the union, Massachusetts and grew up loving snow, fall and all things wondrous.
2, 663 miles away in a town that no New Englander had heard of, a boy was born. David Ryan was his name. He grew up a desert rat, lover of BMX bikes and smart as a whip. Little did these two realize that they’d meet one day in the most unlikely of ways.
I grew up in a little Massachusetts town called Abington. With a population of around 14,000 is was the ideal place to live. I graduated in the spring of 1999 and was more than thrilled to go to a nice college close to where I lived. At this time, I had been dating, whom I had thought, was the love of my life (enter hysterical laughter here). This “boy”, whom we can just call A, had decided that he wanted to attend a school that seemed as far away as the moon: Arizona State University. Who the heck goes there?? I thought. But it did seem “exotic” and “tropical”. Anywho….A moves to Arizona to attend ASU and I head off to Bridgewater State College to begin my journey to becoming a teacher. We stayed together (which was a big mistake), and in that fall of 1999, all seemed right in the world.
Mr. Pea grew up in Tucson, where it’s as hot as the sun everyday. He attended Salpointe Catholic High School and ironically also had dreams of becoming a teacher, but high school history. In the fall of 1999, Mr. Pea was beginning his senior year in high school. His girlfriend, whom also can be called A, had just graduated and decided that she would attend school at the University of Portland to study a subject Mr. Pea cannot remember (haha). Off she went and those two, as well, had decided to stay together (probably also a mistake).
As 1999 went on, I was enjoying college and having a blast. Mr. Pea was also enjoying his senior year and we were none the wiser that soon our paths would cross.
I had decided during fall break, that I would fly to Arizona and visit my boyfriend at school. I was excited to go, having never been there before. During my visit, I get the chance to meet A’s roommate. This spiky haired skinny boy was named Travis and he was from a city I had never heard of. He also had a brother a year younger than him. Since IM (instant messenger) on AOL was the twitter and facebook of 1999 and I, of course, being the social media queen even back then, had to ask A’s roommate for him IM name, just incase we’d have the occasion to chat. He gave it to me: Tommyrot25. Weird, I know.
A month passes and I don’t see Travis online at all, but one day in November of 1999, I’m online and who should pop up? Tommyrot25! I was excited! “Hi Travis! It’s Michelle, A’s girlfriend, remember me??” “This isn’t Travis, it’s his brother David” Hmmm…I think, lame! We chat for awhile, but I am uninterested in this high school boy but he is nice and we talk about him booking tickets to go see his girlfriend in Oregon soon. We chat once or twice between then and Christmas break and then I head home for the holidays. This Christmas would suck for me though because I get broken up with, over the phone, a few days before. What an ass, right? Well at the time I was devastated, of course and have a crappy Christmas break and head back to school in January of 2000 as a single girl. After a few weeks of school, this boy starts messaging me again and we begin talking all the time. It turns out, that his girlfriend broke up with him as well! Oh the irony! We talk online and eventually he gets me to call him “just so he can hear my accent.” We talk often over the next few months and have lots of long phone conversations. I was sort of starting to fall for this kid, who I had never met! What on Earth??
Fast forward to April of 2000. I don’t know what came over me and why on earth my mother allowed this, but I decided to use the money I had saved and book a flight to go to this place I had never heard of and meet this boy I had never met. Insane, I know. I thought it was pronounced Tuck-son, but it turns out I was wrong. I book my flight and go. Mr. Pea was quite convincing. He never even told his grandma (who he had been living with) that I existed OR that I was coming out to visit! I’m not sure that she even knew this, but I guess she does now!
So I fly into Phoenix and have to take the shuttle to Tucson. Oh lord. That was the craziest thing ever. As I wait at the shuttle place in Tucson, I’m not sure what to expect. Then there he is, driving in his white jeep coming straight from high school, and picks me up. Probably the weirdest and most exciting day ever. My first impression was that he was skinner than his pictures. His first impression of me was he liked my shoes. It was a match made in heaven.
our very first picture
Fast forward to the summer of 2000. Mr. Pea was a server at Canyon Ranch in Tucson and there was a Canyon Ranch in western MA so he transfers there for the summer with his friend and works. I travel back and forth on the Pike every few days between my house and Lenox, MA. We spend all summer together and travel to Boston and NYC. It was so fun.
Mr. Pea and I in Time Square…please disregard the ghost
At the end of the summer, Mr. Pea heads back to Tucson to begin his freshman year at the University of Arizona. He wants me to come with him. So I decide I will. I start my sophomore year of college, apply to the UA and get accepted. I transfer all my credits and am ready to go at the end of the semester. He comes out at Thanksgiving and meets my family and the again over Christmas break.. I get a U-Haul trailer, attach it to my Blazer and say my good-byes. I leave my great state and head to the desert (I am STILL wishing I was the one that made HIM go to MA!)
Half way to Tucson, we get hit by a semi-truck and total my car.
Yikes! It was January 2nd, 2001. We had to leave it behind in Backlick, Virginia and get a U-Haul truck and head to Tucson, again.
Two days later we get to Tucson and thus begins the second part of our story: college.
To be continued….