Maybe that girl and I were different. Maybe we truly did have the "love at first sight" thing. I never tried to date her. It just happened. We talked over the phone a few times, and we decided to watch a movie together as our first "date". It was in her mom's basement, on December 10th, 2002. I can still remember every single detail about our first night together, from her little brother eating popcorn at the top of the basement stairs, trying to spy on us, to her mom coming down to "do laundry" and peeking around the corner from the laundry room to check on this strange guy that was in her house. We watched Van Wilder, then made out in her front yard while her creepy brother watched through the window and gave play-by-play to her mom. We drank little hugs and ate snack packs. It was the most romantic fucking date any girl has ever been on, and don't you tell me otherwise.
The next day, she was admitted to the hospital for her run-of-the-mill (for us, at least we would find out) Cystic Fibrosis treatment. Guess who came to visit her that night? That's right, her knight in dress blues, me.
I didn't bat an eye about seeing someone who was hospitalized the next day. In fact, I didn't even think about it in that sense. I just wanted to see her, and I didn't care how difficult it was going to be to arrange the logistics of my Marine Corps drill weekend and a trip to University Hospitals in Cleveland.
I spent that night on December 11th, 2002, in a hospital room, with a girl I had just met yesterday on the worlds most romantic date.
I spent the night on July 24th, 2003, in a hospital room, and celebrated that girl's 22nd birthday.
I spent the night on December 11th, 2004, in a hospital room, and proposed to that girl.
I spent the night on August 2nd, 2005, in a hospital room, and watched that girl's brother die while holding her hand.
That was four days before I married that girl, and six days before we buried her brother.
I spent the night on March 14th, 2006, just after being told that I was not a carrier for the CF gene, and that girl's eggs were fertile and that she must have a child now, or she likely would never be able to...she was 24 years old.
I spent the night on August 6th, 2006, on that girl's first wedding anniversary, while she was pregnant.
I spent the night on February 16th, 2007, when that girl went into labor.
I spent the night on February 17th, 2007, when that girl became a mother, and I became a father.
I spent the night on March 2nd, 2007, when that girl's daughter went home, while she had to stay at the hospital for another 2 weeks.
That stopped me spending the night. We had a newborn at home, and it was better for me to be with her than that girl, until...
I spent the night on January 2nd, 2011, when that girl's lung collapsed, and she was rushed to the ER.
I spent the night on January 3rd, 2011, when they needed to ventilate that girl to keep her alive. It was the first time I cried over losing her.
I spent the night on January 4th, 2011, when they told me that that girl may be joining her brother.
I spent the night on January 5th, 2011, when they told me they found a donor for that girl.
I spent the night on January 6th, 2011, when that girl had 18 IV pumps, 6 chest drains, a catheter, a central line, and a giant zipper scar running down her chest. It was her new birthday.
I spent every night from January 2nd to January 21st at that girl's side.
Until the last 6 months of that girl's life, starting on June 6th, 2014, I never again had to spend the night, because she wasn't admitted again until that date.
I had watched her slowly die for 8 years, and we finally had strength. I had spent hundreds of nights in the hospital with her. Now it was like a reset button had been pressed, and we got to start all over again like the healthy kids we were. For three years after her transplant, we were able to do everything we wanted to do, and then some. We feverishly tried to complete her bucket list, and we were constantly adding more. Not because we knew that there wasn't much time, but because she never even got to start it before.
I'm thankful that I found love at first sight; it maximized our time together, because on November 19th, 2014, that girl's bucket list was closed out.