It was fall of my junior year and my roommates and I had made a conscious decision to take Halloween really seriously. We talked about our costumes and made plans and spent hours at the gym because it was college and the plans and costumes involved crop tops and short skirts.
2008 was the year of Lady Gaga, and we must have listened to "Just Dance" eight times while we got ready. Raquel was a baseball player, I was a sailor, and Michele was, well, Lady Gaga. We headed to a high school friend's dorm suite at Hampden-Sydney, where there was a good mix of friends old and new; and one of those coolers with a spout, full of something we all still refer to fondly as "Black Drank."
He was friendly, but quiet, and at first I didn't realize that he was tall because he was already seated when we arrived. I took the empty seat next to him and barely even remember our first words to one another. I'm sure I forgot his name immediately, because I'm horrible with names, but I do remember proudly (and oddly) boasting that I knew exactly what cologne he was wearing. Aqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani remains one of my favorite scents to this day.
We began a natural but cautious friendship before realizing a few months later that we were dating. Life with Rob felt magical because I never knew him and then, suddenly, I met him and in the very best way, it felt as though he had always been there.
Amid the Halloween chaos of Black Drank and endless games of Quarters, someone snapped a photo of me and my husband from across the table.