As someone who grew up with all her male relationships ending with hurt, my faith in men was dwindling.
I remember when I first saw you at work. In all honesty, with your blonde hair, blue eyes, and t-shirt with the logo from the SoCal private university you attended, I pegged you as a jerk. Even though I was definitely judging based on stereotypes, in my defense, your friends that got you the job had already revealed themselves as jerks, and therefore it was perfectly plausible that you were one by association.
When I found out we were going to be teaching P.E. together, I was a huge bundle of nerves. I was intimidated and figured you wouldn’t give me the time of day.
In the beginning, it was typical small talk, but it wasn’t long before we broke the ice. You were definitely more introverted, and I hijacked a lot of the conversation, but you always listened. Even though I talked more, you opened up to me about a lot as well. It turns out I had completely misjudged you, and ironically you ended up not having a jerk bone in your body. We were both quick and witty and engaged in plenty of playful banter, which soon became the highlight of my days.
We would spend our lunch breaks picking up things for one another — I’d get the coffee and you’d get the food. Of course I fell for you, just like any girl would, especially a girl who had never been treated well by a man. I remember the day I found out you had a girlfriend because we were sharing French fries and you told me she liked to eat them with mustard. Of course I was disappointed, but now I realize that it just proved to me that good men exist, since it eliminated all ulterior motives.
You having a girlfriend and now being married didn’t stop you from being kind to me, it didn’t stop you from being the best guy friend that I have had. You restored my faith in men. You proved to me that good men existed, and that your kindness was unconditional.
You are the kind of guy who would go out of your way to get me coffee or food, with or without me asking you to. You are the kind of guy who would lead P.E. so I could use the time to study my notes during finals. You are the kind of guy who would listen to me rant for hours and when I apologized, told me, “You don’t need to apologize. If you need someone to talk to, I’m happy to be that person.” You are the kind of guy who listened to me when I was depressed and told me, “You’re normal. A lot of people feel this way, they just hide it.” You always listened and validated my feelings, but offered me the bright side of every situation. You reminded me of my successes when I needed motivation. You remembered key intricate details of stories that I told you, proving that you paid attention.
When it comes to your wife, you do even more. You are the kind of guy who works three exhausting jobs in order to pay for your wedding. You are the kind of guy who is dependable, respectful, and caring. You have set the bar for me.
There was a moment when I told you how much I appreciated you and everything you had done for me, and you had said, “It’s mutual.” Which is true, because I have and would do all the same things for you. That’s what a friendship is, and that is what a relationship should be too.
That is the kind of friendship and relationship that every person deserves. We deserve someone who listens, validates, and motivates us. We deserve someone who makes us laugh and cry tears of absolute gratitude for their existence. We deserve someone who makes us believe that the world is good. We deserve to be treated the way we treat others.
There were moments I spent agonizing over the fact that you were taken. I was cynical and quick to say, “All the good ones are taken.” Now I realize how lucky I am to have you in my life at all. You showed me what I truly deserve, and that was the best gift of all.