How We Met Part 2: The golden days, a missed first kiss, and heart break.

July 10, 2017

(themed parties, rugby games, and first notes)

In case you missed, read part one here.

So that was that. Gabe and I had just met at that corner between our two houses, and mutually agreed we wanted to get to know each other better. What was next? I had no idea. I just knew I had tossed the ball in his court, and it was his turn to make a move. I knew by now that if Gabe wanted something, he would go after it full force.

Extremely lucky for me he did…the very next day in fact. I was relaying the story out in my front yard to my friend Rose, who listened intently with her jaw to the floor about how I had just spilled it all to Gabe the night before. As we were talking, I saw a figure walk towards us in the corner of my eye. My stomach flopped….it was Gabe. So, in my most stealth mode possible I whispered to Rose, “Don’t turn around! Gabe is walking up as we speak.” Rose did a convincing job acting like we were just casually hanging out, and then excused herself suddenly. An awkward silence ensued, but that would be a recurring theme in the beginning of our relationship. 

The first date

Gabe: “I was wondering if you would be up for coming over for dinner tomorrow night?” Gabe asked with his serious furrowed brow. “Ok yeah that should probably work.” I tried to respond as chill as possible. The following night, I showed up to his front porch, and he came out with two plates of hot food that he had cooked up. I mean, did he really just cook me a meal? A well marinated one at that? Am I really on a date with Gabe Liesemeyer? What on earth is happening to me.

(first formal, and more funny notes…)

(that opera date )

Dating days

Every day, from that point on, Gabe called me on his landline phone to my clunky cell phone and asked if we could hang out with me. Usually it was after school and Rugby practice and before studying. We would hang out at the campus coffee shop or in the library or on my back patio just getting to know each other. Asking questions, and wanting to know each other’s history. An example of this – he found out I liked to play tennis and having never really picked up a racket, he suggested we play that weekend. He made every effort to get to know WHO I was before ever even trying to hold my hand. I loved this about him, because it proved to me he cared for me beyond a physical attraction. It started to crack the walls surrounding my carefully guarded heart. After a month of hanging out, people started to ask if we were boyfriend/girlfriend yet. I didn’t know how to answer, so I played it off like, we don’t need terms to define our relationship. We were just Gabe and Anna. In no rush, enjoying every step of whatever it was we had between us. One afternoon while I was out, Gabe left a note and flowers in my room. It was a funny drawing of him and I asking if I would do the honor of being his girl. I guess we were officially defined by the term boyfriend/girlfriend;)

We were pretty smitten with each other despite the fact that I would still practically ignore him whenever we were in public. What can I say? I was still working on that miss independent problem, and learning how to handle all of these overwhelming foreign feelings. Poor Gabe. His patience with me and loyal friendship only grew my admiration and love for him. Those months dating were what I think of as the golden days. I went to his Rugby games (and watch through my hands as he would get stitched up on the sidelines) and he came to my intramural flag football games. He joined me for late study nights at local pancake houses or bookstores successfully getting me my melancholic self to laugh every time, and helping me forget the stress of looming test deadlines. We went to formals and socials with our good group of friends, and scraped a few dollars together for a few nicer dates. One night, he told me to be ready by 6pm, and to wear something a little fancy. I had no idea what this meant because our small college town was sorely lacking in options for cultural experiences. Gabe showed up with a bouquet of flowers, dressed up mighty fine, with two tickets to the opera in the closest city. A German opera at that. His explanation was that he knew I loved music, and thought I would appreciate it. I knew I was a goner.

The first kiss

I have to include the first kiss in this part of the story because it follow suit with the wonderfully awkward theme of our dating days. We had just had a fun night together hanging out with friends, and Gabe walked me to my car out front of his house. I drove a small Nissan Sentra named ‘Ben’ (after Ben Folds of course), and I got in my car after saying goodbye, and before shutting the door, 6’3” Gabe decided to lean down into the car for the first kiss. It was dark out so instead of planting one on the lips, he planted it smack in the middle of my eyes on the bridge of my nose. He was too embarrassed to say anything, so he tapped the hood of my car as if to say, no way to save that one, see you tomorrow. I am so secondary that I was trying to process the fact that he just tried to kiss me and missed terribly. It still makes me laugh out loud to even type it out as I remember the scene so vividly in my mind. Wish I could go back to that night and turn my car around to give him a big smooch. It’s okay because he definitely didn’t miss the next time he tried when he saw me off at the airport for a visit home;)

Gabe had met my family one weekend when he came back to Atlanta with me over fall break. Being from such a large family, I wasn’t sure how he would react to the amount of brothers and sisters he would meet. (I am the second oldest of 11, so they were all still young at this point.) Gabe made every effort to get to know each and every one. He pretty much had secret handshakes down with them all by the time he left. My family is so important to me, and seeing the way he interacted with them was what really opened my eyes to the caliber of man he was, and a deep rooted love started to form.

The break up

Since tuition was too high for me to continue school in Ohio, I transferred down to Atlanta to finish my last two years of college. Gabe was the one who actually encouraged me to switch my major to art studio/graphic design, putting wings on a dream I thought was too impractical to ever pursue. As you know, this would lead to many more open doors in the future, including this little old blog. We started a long distance relationship which was really difficult for us, but we made plans to visit each other when we could.

One of these weekends I flew up to OH to visit, and have the weekend together. During this visit I could tell there was something off with Gabe. We were both needing the time together, but I could tell he was battling something he wouldn’t voice. I tried to uncover what this was by asking him some questions that next day. By the end of the conversation he had tears in his eyes as he said “I don’t know what’s going on, but there are some internal things I am battling, and I am so terrified of hurting you because I love you so much. I think I need to take a step back right now.” He continued with how he wanted to keep in touch and write letters, but he needed the time to tackle some deeper things he had never confronted. I could see the pain in his eyes, and although I felt like I was breaking in two, I told him I thought it was best that we break up completely.

We both knew it would be too painful to stay in touch as just friends. I left that weekend feeling like I was suffocating. I had no idea if when we hugged goodbye through tear streaked cheeks, if it was the last time I would ever see him or not. It was hard to comprehend this unexpected turn. I thought this was the guy I was supposed to be with forever. Despite my confusion, I knew I needed to willingly let go. I knew it was the right thing to do, but we were both about to face the hardest months of our life.

Part 3, the finale here.

Leave a Comment

  • Ahhhh, SO excited about the finale. You guys are a match made in heaven!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Anna! I still remember you sharing your story with my class on retreat when I was in high school. Loooong before you were married 😉 You were so vulnerable and kind to share it with us, and I’ll always remember it! Can’t wait to read part three!

    • Oh wow yes! ha! I remember that. Writing and sharing it was like re-living it all over since it is still so fresh in my mind. I held out on posting it here for so long, but now I am happy to have it officially written for our kids to read one day and for me to remember when the details fade;)

  • I loved reading these, Anna! LOVE those old FUS pics too- can’t wait for part 3!

  • Kris Chatfield

    Love this! Maybe some flag football in Part 3?! 🙂

  • I love a good love story!! Exciting!! ☺️❤️

  • Oh my gosh! Such a stressful cliffhanger and yet I know this has a happy ending!

  • So fun getting to see a deeper look into your’s and Gabe’s relationship! I can’t imagine you two breaking up because you seem like you just fit so well (and I’m sure you did then), I can’t imagine how hard that must have been at the time!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this story. I relate a lot to what you went through as far as feelings and being guarded and it gives me hope that maybe someday someone will break down those walls for me 🙂 Can’t wait for part 3 and the finale! xoxoxo

  • Heidi Ferguson

    Holding my breath till the next post!! LOL! I do know it all turns out Okay though! Ha! Such a sweet love story!

  • […] Part one here and part two here. […]

  • This would have been sooo difficult to read if I didn’t know you guys ended up married!

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