Unlike many love stories, ours has a very definitive beginning. There was no friends first, no knowing each other for a while before realizing this guy I already knew was really awesome, no bumping into an old friend years later. Once we met, that was it. Our fall was fast and as close to love at first sight as I believe can happen in real life.
In June 2009, I decided to take an impromptu trip home for Father's Day to surprise my dad. (He was super surprised by the way, and it was awesome.) I took this trip completely on a whim and didn't even buy a plane ticket until two days before I left. I spent the whole weekend relaxing with my family and it was wonderful. It was the first time in my adult life that I can remember being completely unattached and perfectly content with my life.
Also in June 2009, Manny was at home for a pre-deployment visit with his family. He had spent 10 days in New Orleans visiting with family and reconnecting with old friends before his first deployment.
We both happened to book 7am, Monday flights out of New Orleans (really? who does that?). Apparently someone noticed me first in the TSA line (as it turns out, I have "nice legs" ;) ) and again when we were waiting at the gate for our plane (I swear he's not a stalker). I got on the plane first and got settled into my seat. As the rest of the passengers were boarding the plane, I kept my eye out for my potential seat mate. I always tend to get stuck with rather large, oftentimes smelly, people. So when this cute guy starts walking down the aisle, I notice him but am sure that there's no way he's sitting next to me. Life could not be that fair. As he gets closer, I notice that he's fumbling with his things a little bit and almost dropped his computer. I think to myself "poor guy, he looks a little frazzled." Before I know it, he's telling me he's in the seat next to me and I stand up to let him get to the window seat. He sits down and says "Hi, how are you this morning." I said "Hello" and that I was "fine, thank you."
I found out (much) later that the reason he was fumbling with his stuff and almost dropped his computer was because he freaked out a little when he realized the girl whose legs he'd been tracking through the airport was, in fact, sitting next to him on the plane.
We made more small talk as everyone got settled and the plane taxied down the runway. We quickly found out that we were both from New Orelans and had graduated high school in the same year (but from different schools, of course). We had a shared interest in Apple and he asked me if the giant book sticking out of the seat pocket in front of me was the latest Harry Potter. (Of course it was, duh.) We talked about everything from our careers to our families and I remember thinking, as the plane made it's way far too quickly towards Atlanta, of how I could give him my phone number or email address without looking like a complete loser. We literally talked for the entire flight. It's not that long of a ride, but seriously, who talks on a 7am flight? As the flight was descending into Atlanta, I distinctly remember wracking my brain for ideas on how to give him my information. I didn't even know his name! How would I ever talk to him again!? This guy was so cute and so nice and....oh well, I guess I'll never see him again....