Everybody is so curious where I found such a man. One who washes dishes without being asked, who believes taking out the trash is the man’s job, who loves his wife’s short, short hair, who eats what I cook, who secretly pads the stats on the I Love Derek post so it will stay in the top posts list, who likes to snuggle with his kids, reads to them every night, sings to them (that part is a tiny bit amusing), and is the handsomest man on the planet to boot. Yes he is. Yes he is. Yes he is. Kathryn, stop it, mine is cuter. YES HE IS!!!

I thought I would never get married. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I really did want to, but I never thought anyone would fall in love with me. I never dated much, and most of my dates were ones I had asked. I’m pretty sure they all thought I was stalking them. Which I was. Needless to say, I didn’t manage to even ever have a boyfriend.

When I was 25, I was about to graduate from college (don’t laugh, but it really did take me 8 years to get my BA, not because I’m dumb, but because the school I went to had so many, many foreign language classes that by the time I graduated I had over 40 hours of language credits that I didn’t need, and because I couldn’t decide whether to major in music or microbiology, two fields that are not very related…) anyway, graduation nearing, I was living in my apartment alone, and very lonely. I had sort of dated a guy for a couple of months who turned out to be dating someone else, and I decided it was time to get out a little more.

So I started organizing hikes and parties. I had noticed Derek one day at church, when he made an announcement to the women’s group, calling us the “Sisters’ Quorum,” and I thought he was the cutest little dimpled, blue-eyed 19 year old I’d ever seen. I knew his roommate, Dan (now husband of the famous Kathryn), so I went about inviting them both to these events of my creation. Inevitably, Derek had plans with his family. He really, really liked his family.

After about a month, a girl in the neighborhood was getting some people together to go country dancing, so I used it as an excuse to call Dan and Derek. Luckily, Dan wasn’t home, and I got to talk to Derek with a pretense all lined up. We talked for an hour, agreed to go dancing (without Dan), and I warned him not to wear sneakers, which he did anyway, for fear of looking like a geek. When he dropped me off, we stayed in the car talking for 5 hours. I knew he was different when, at 3:00 am, he asked me why my parents had split up. Only someone who wants to keep the conversation going would do that, right?

Two days later, I left on a trip to Europe for 5 weeks with my cousin, Liz, my best friend, Sheila, and my brother, Isaac. When Derek asked me if I would send him a postcard, I said, “Of course.” He asked, “From every city?” I tried. We also emailed while I was gone, which made me desperate to find internet cafes wherever we went. I drove Liz and Sheila crazy.

This story is turning out to be exceedingly long. I think I will serialize it. Plus, Calvin is about to put me over the edge, begging me to read The Hero and The Crown. Come back tomorrow and find out how old Derek really was, what color his eyes really are, and whether or not it’s possible for him to look geeky. And how long it took for us to be madly in love and decide we should hook up for good.  Find out the answer to these questions and more, in Chapter 2.