I’ve been trying to write about Stephen since before April 9th. I wanted to write him a birthday post, but writing about him gets overwhelming. As I said way back in the post of our wedding video, trying to put our love story or my feelings for him into words is a bit like trying to recreate the Mona Lisa with a 12-pack of Crayolas. I never feel like I’m doing him or our love story justice.
There’s that aspect of it, and then sometimes it also just starts sounding cheesier than a Gouda dancing with a Brie to an old school Taylor Swift ballad. I can’t help it. I’m kinda obsessed with the man! 😉
Today, on our two year wedding anniversary, I’m just going to go for it. Because, as you’ll discover later in the post, that’s one of the things Stephen taught me to do.
This is the story of our last first kiss.
I arrived at a house party as the Fabulous Single Girl– at least I like to think so. Bottle of wine and two friends in tow, ready for a carefree night of laughs, clinks (okay, okay, plastic solo cups don’t actually “clink”) and starlit cigarettes.
I was talking to two guys when Stephen arrived, actually. They were engrossed in a long story about their crazy previous night involving almost getting arrested and mechanical bull rides and other things that college boys find impressive.
I saw Stephen out of my peripheral vision the instant he and his brother walked in the door.
OH MY GOD STEPHEN TREVATHAN IS HERE.
(He had advanced from “Ryan Trevathan’s Hot Older Brother” to “Stephen Trevathan” by that point in time, but was not yet just “Stephen.” And no one knew that in seven or eight weeks he’d be “baby”.)
Shoot, how am I going to get out of this conversation? I thought with urgency. The guys were in the thick of their story.
Stephen and Ryan walked further into the room, greeting people, laughing those carrying Trevathan Laughs, and of course immediately scoping out the beer pong situation. Knowing I couldn’t desperately bound off the couch to say hello, I focused on my conversation partners.
A minute later, I snuck another glance to locate Stephen. It’s probably good I’m talking to two other guys, I reasoned. It prevented me from greeting him immediately and looking over-eager. It made me seem cool. Or did it make me seem skanky? …is this story over yet?!
The story seemed like it was almost at its cinematic finale.
I looked around for Stephen again and OH NO YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, HE’S TALKING TO [NAME REDACTED], LITERALLY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRLS IN ST PETERSBURG.
I was hit by a wave of disappointment and insecurity as I observed Ryan give his brother a subtle, approving nod.
The perfect blonde bird gets the worm. I can’t even hate her because she’s also genuinely kindhearted and wonderful. Better keep drinking pinot noir to fill the pit in my stomach.
But eventually I walked by Stephen… and as fate would have it, things were the dream they always were.
There had been nights like this before. Whenever we were both in the same social situation, we gravitated to one another and didn’t leave each other’s side for the rest of the night. We always talked and talked and talked and, as much as I hate to resort to cliches, it really did feel like we were the only two people in the room.
Proof of this is that my competitive, (formerly) cripplingly insecure self doesn’t even remember whether Stephen’s and my conversation overlapped with the beautiful girl he was talking to before, or whether they’d already parted ways. Trust me when I say that’s saying something. It was just me and him.
And to be honest, just the right amount of wine.
You see, I had made a promise to myself not to ever make out with Stephen Trevathan. Sure, we’d kissed once before, and yes, it was after a party, but it was the soft, brief kiss of a married couple greeting one another in public. Nothing had ever happened beyond that, which was part of the reason the air between us always felt like an electrical current.
Even though Stephen and I didn’t officially know each other that well and were only flirty acquaintances (perhaps friends?), I knew I liked him enough that a rejection would completely devastate me. I’d gone through a tough breakup only half a year prior, and to add insult to injury, I was even dumped by my rebound boy.
I wasn’t going to subject myself to the whole heartbreak thing again, especially not from a guy I’d been obsessed with since I first laid my enthralled sixteen-year-old eyes on him. My pattering, yearning, and smitten (but also controlling, jaded, and fearful) little heart just couldn’t handle the possibility of heartbreak at Stephen’s long-admired hands.
I wanted Stephen to be my boyfriend or nothing at all, but not a late-night party kiss.
I knew that with the ferocity of a thousand suns. The sun, which rose and set on a predictable schedule. The sun, whom people feared and respected and depended on. The sun who was blindsighted by no one, ever. The sun, who ran the freaking world.
But as luck would have it, I wasn’t the sun.
On that humid moonlit night, I was just a starstruck [age redacted]-year-old girl who’d had a little too much cheap red wine.
Stephen and I were sitting outside our mutual friend’s house, deep in conversation, when the two friends with whom I’d arrived walked past us.
“Grace and I are leaving, are you staying here?” said my gay guy friend with a devious glance at Stephen.
“Yeah, we live near each other, so he’s going to give me a ride home,” I said in what was probably a decent attempt at keeping things casual. Until…
“AGH SOUNDS LIKE FUN, GIRL!” came the enthusiastic reply, accompanied by an massive wink.
People were constantly outing my crush on Stephen. Part of me liked it.
Later that night, I had an eyelash stuck in my eye. One might say it was jabbing me with the sword of blind destiny.
“Can you see it in there?” I asked Stephen, hoping I could locate the culprit and ease it over to my tear duct area for swift removal.
“No, let me take a closer look,” he replied… and then his hands were along my jawbone and in my hair. The promise not to kiss Stephen Trevathan was broken.
That night that was not only the beginning of life with Stephen, but a prelude for what that life would entail. A life wherein being a slave to the past is replaced by diving headlong into the moment, and fear gives way to kissing… and occasionally a firm plan is replaced by a night of red wine.
Life before Stephen was never just the pure joy of kissing and wine and warm summer nights.
It was skepticism and pride and insecurity and IS THIS WINE GOING TO STAIN MY TEETH?! My teeth, which I hated for being smallish and European rather than large and Julia Roberts-y.
I always wanted something or anotherthing that I didn’t have. Life was always out of my grasp. Until, somehow, I ended up with the exact thing–the exact man– I’d been dreaming of.
This may sound dramatic, but I can say with confidence that I didn’t know the highest heights of happiness until I got together with Stephen. I never experienced joy at its purest and most profound. Sure, I’d been happy before, but it was always tainted by my own complications, diluted by my lack of self-love. Experiencing Stephen’s immeasurable love for me enabled me to truly love myself. His unquestioning devotion taught me to question myself less. His healthy confidence became a blueprint for building my own.
Stephen is not only the man of my dreams, but he introduced me to dreaming. Dreaming instead of calculating, running instead of tiptoeing, waltzing into a party without worrying whether that robust Trevathan Laugh is too loud.
Stephen has one of those larger-than-life personalities. He works hard and he loves hard. He says complimentary, uplifting things, both to people’s faces and in their absence.
My husband is the most positive person I know. To Stephen, even a completely empty glass is just an opportunity waiting for a post-workout draught of water, a wifey-crafted iced coffee, or a crisp IPA. Our family even jokes about the “try to make Stephen say something negative” game. It’s not one you’re likely to win.
Being with Stephen has taught me that life is for living with gratitude, enthusiasm, and courage. It’s taught me that maybe you’ve just gotta kiss your crush without fixating on whether or not they’re equally as obsessed with you.
But, of course, I didn’t know that then…
I awoke somewhat giddy the morning after that party, but also solidly irritated with myself.
Good job, Maya. This is exactly what you DIDN’T want: to be some girl Stephen Trevathan kissed at a party. Why did you need to drink three or four glasses of wine?
Well, in my defense, he and Ryan did show up to that party extremely late.
Still though! You were so adamant about not kissing him. You made me a promise!
About a mile away, Stephen was also waking up, deciding he’d ask me on a date.
Needless to say, the date was amazing. The summer was a dream, and unlike all of those summer love songs, our relationship withstood the transition back to college. The transition into real life, the transitions between jobs and cities, and the ultimate transformation from Two to One on August 29, 2015.
And now it’s been two whole years since that day. Stephen has brought so much love, knowledge, and joy into my world. He is my world. And he’s still the man of my dreams.
With lots of love,
Mrs. Maya Trevathan 😉