My roommate sat there while we waited at a red light and stared at his phone.
I tapped the steering wheel to Johnny Cash’s “I walk the line”, then looked back over at my college roommate, “Hey guy, what’s the good word?”
We’d just finished grocery shopping and we’re headed back to campus.
“It’s Ashley,” he said, still not looking up from his phone.
By this time, I’d been aware of Ashley for about three weeks. She was the prettiest girl at DSC. She was incredibly fun, had a great sense of humor, and loved to help people. She was the whole package.
Which is why I stopped rapping away on the wheel and stared at my roommate. I couldn’t help but think, why is she texting this guy? (I know, rude— I actually had a great roommate. Try to not judge me too hard on my reaction; girls like Ashley just don’t come around every day, so I hadn’t yet gotten up the courage to ask her on a one-on-one date. Hoped I hadn’t missed my chance).
I heard the guy behind me honk. Green light. I turned back to the road and shrugged like it was just another name, “Ashley, huh? So… what’s she saying?”
My roommate clicked away, texting back but looking more irked than interested.
“Just,” he mumbled, “…talking.”
“About what?” I said, now turning down the street towards our campus housing. I added with my usual snark, “Don’t hold out on me, fella. It’s rude to text and ignore your favorite roommate, you know.”
He snapped his phone shut (yes, very early 2000’s) and said, “About YOU! Ashley’s asking questions about you!”
To this day I remember that feeling, how excited I got when he said that. I mean, any guy who’s never been a football captain or Tony Bennett knows what it’s like to be a wingman. I could hear in his voice he wasn’t thrilled, but I felt rockstar level that Ashley was asking about ME.
I’ll always be grateful to my roomie because he told Ashley I was pretty okay. I felt strong, like— I had a chance with the hottest girl in Washington County now.
Babe, I still feel that way about you every day. You’ve been my dream girl since I can remember. But I was wrong when I thought that, and it’s a good thing because I would’ve never asked you had I known. You weren’t the hottest girl in Washington County. That’s not giving you nearly enough credit.
You’re the hottest, funniest, most amazing woman I’ve ever met or will ever meet
Yes, even in the off chance I meet Scarlett Johansson, she’s a long way behind you… though I will want her autograph (yes, I’ll get you one, too).
I had no idea even then what an incredible wife, mother, and best friend you would be. I struck gold with you, and you make me a better man every day.
I love your laugh when we share an inside joke. I love how you can never take a bath shorter than a Gilmore Girls episode. I love the way you look at me your when we slow dance in the kitchen or as I get piled and buried by our kids in the living room (and thanks for being my backup diversion when they’re too powerful for me— you’re cookies save lives).
You are easily the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Whether it’s whisking ourselves off to an adventure in England or sitting on the couch rewatching Friends (that reminds me, we need to grab some chips and salsa and watch “The One Where Ross Got High” again soon), I love just being with you.
You’re the girl of my dreams and my best friend.
-Love, that guy who will try to do better at sharing a Geisha roll in the future
Photos taken by Megan Poulton
Edited by Justin Harmon