This is a story ahead of it's time where a man meets and marries a woman he met on myspace.
I arrived in Japan August 19, 2004, exactly one year after entering the Air Force. I had no idea the many trials and triumphs that awaited me. One thing was for sure though, I had a very strong unfamiliar feeling when I first arrived.
That first winter was the coldest, harshest winter I've ever experienced. And not just because of the weather, but because of a recent break-up. I had fallen for a girl, bad, and she tore my heart in two. I felt more alone and hopeless than ever before with no one that could help me. It was my darkest hour. Then to make matters worse I had to travel 4 hours south to Yokota, alone, to have an operation done on my ear. This was December 2004.
Being alone those 2 weeks for my operation just about drove me crazy. My mind was on a dangerous emotional roller coaster. I called and called (and called) my ex-girlfriend and even at one point became so enamored with jealousy that I called one of her friends asking "why hasn't she called me, is she with another guy?" I know, I was unstable at best. Even today, almost three years later, I look back at those feelings and wonder how I ever got to that point.
Yet, there was a silver lining to the dark clouds surrounding me. In the hotel I was staying in they had a small internet cafe. I made myself right at home checking my email and curiously navigating around this new site called MySpace. It was great, I had never seen anything like it. I could search millions of people all over the world who had the same interest as me. And then it happened, as I was filtering search results based on the college I had attended before the military I found her, Amanda Lindsey. I didn't know her, had never seen her before, but her profile picture jumped out at me and I felt something familiar. The first contact was made.
Jan 2, 2005 5:47 AM
"I spend too much time on the internet, not enough time with God, and entirely too much time doing things I shouldn't be doing."
Hello, you don't know me, but I like looking for people I might have known before I moved away. Sorry if this sounds weird, or creeps you out, I'm not like that, but I saw what you had to say and totally could relate, especially to the forementioned quote. I hope you find some time in your day today to spend a little more time with God, I know I need to. But in whatever you're doing, may God bless it.
With my ear still in tact and a new spark of hope I returned north to Misawa, my home in Japan. Even with a huge hole in my heart I had found a new friend that understood my pain. Amanda had also just come out of a long-term relationship and was able to relate to my situation. It was nice to be able to express my inner pain to her and have her respond with understanding and care. (Unlike like my ex, who deemed my emotions as weakness.) I poured myself, writing paragraph after paragraph, in to emails about my life and faith and likes and dislikes to Amanda. I kept waiting for her to block me or tell me to get lost, but she just came right back putting her heart out there. Even from the very beginning she respected me.
From that point forward our relationship only grew stronger. Even with a 14 hour time difference between us, we learned to adapt and overcome. We eventually transitioned from strictly email-based communication to talking on instant messenger. And there was the occasional late night drunk chat. (Those were fun.) We didn't know it yet, but there was more than just a solid friendship being built. Every week that went by we became closer. My old wounds were slowly closing and my heart was beginning to warm next to hers. Then her letters came.
Seeing her words written by hand instead of glowing from the monitor in front of me really brought new life to our relationship. I would sometimes hold the paper to my nose in search of her scent. (I guess that's one of those animal instincts.) The letters were a special treat for both of us because we still spent most of our time talking online. But when we would get a letter it was like finding a hidden present under the tree at Christmas. My face would light up whenever I saw one of her envelopes in my mail box. There is something special about a handwritten letter. Maybe it's the sentimental value they hold. Or maybe it's the feel of the paper between your fingertips as you sit down to read what the other person wrote. The only way to feel any closer was to talk on the phone.
May 13, 2005 8:24 PM
I had butterfly's going on BIG TIME dialing your number. but I'm glad I did though.
It's still crazy that I actually spoke to you, like you were so close but still impossible to see.
That first time I called Amanda she was asleep in the backseat of her friends car on the way to the beach for an all-girls weekend. But she had posted a bulletin to myspace before heading out that weekend with her phone number and a note that read "if you need to talk, call me on my cell." Now I don't know if she meant that for me or not, but I took it as the perfect excuse to call her. You see, I had been planning this call for a month or two and I thought I was going to wait until her birthday in August. I'm so glad I didn't. With each day that passed talking on the phone and writing letters our hearts were being knit together from 9,288 miles away.
There was no "magic" moment where I realized Amanda was who I was going to marry. It was more of a collage of all the events that had led up to that night on the phone where I asked her to marry me. The phone? Yep. Now I had never heard of, or imagined myself, asking the woman I loved to marry me over the phone either. But when you're separated by the entire Pacific Ocean and half the United States there isn't much you can do about it. And we knew the distance was only a temporary measure. Plus, God had brought us together so we knew we would make it. However, that still didn't change all the scrutiny we got from friends and family alike.
Of course I expected some people not to understand, i.e. - the guys I worked with in the military. They would always tell me that Amanda was going to be some fatty with 2 kids and a wooden leg. (Or something crazy like that.) I just ignored it. But when my Dad told me "how do you know she's not a con-artist that just wants to take your money" I couldn't help but laugh. And what money? I was in the military. But you have to understand that my Dad can be a bit extreme with his paranoia at times, he calls it being cautious, but I think he just needs to relax. He finally came around though after he and my step-mom met Amanda and her family for dinner one night. (I can't imagine how nerve racking that must have been meeting my family before she met me. What a Rock Star!) Even if they thought we were crazy, our families still supported us.
I flew home December 09, 2005 and we were married five days later at the County Courthouse. I don't think words can explain the relief we both felt when we first saw each other. All that weight of waiting for each other fell off the instant our eyes met. I still love to see peoples reactions when I tell them that we only spent time together, in person, for five days before we got married. Next month we will celebrate our three-year anniversary and it's been an amazing journey so far. My only hope is the next thirty years will be as great as these past three.