“So, do you have a boyfriend?” my friend Rob asked.
It was our first year of law school and we were studying together in the library. It was an innocuous question, the breezy chit-chat of new acquaintances.
My eyes darted quickly to another classmate sitting alone on a nearby couch, book across his lap. David was a foot taller than me, with dark hair and several days’ worth of stubble. I’d noticed him the week before as he passed me in the hallway. We had every class together but had never spoken.
Yet for some reason, I didn’t want him to hear my response.
“I do,” I said quietly. “We’ve been together almost four years.”
A few minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw David get up and leave.
We spoke sporadically over the next two years. In one class, he sat at the end of my row. He’d occasionally linger after class, blocking my way out. I’d wait quietly until his friends told him to move so I could leave.
In our final year, we had a seminar together, which included off-campus externships. Mine and David’s were both on Fridays. When he asked me for a ride, I agreed—knowing it would double my commute time.
The first day of our externships, we later grabbed dinner at a diner and had our first real conversation. I told him about my boyfriend. I learned that my undergrad school had been his top choice, but he hadn’t gotten in. Our law school was his first choice and my last. I grew up in San Francisco’s Bay Area and am Catholic. He was from outside Chicago and was Jewish. He had cousins who lived near our school.
I was puzzled. I knew what night it was. “You’re not celebrating Rosh Hashanah with your cousins?” I asked. He said no.
At school on Monday, he told me he’d gotten home Friday night to a message from his cousin.
“Apparently, I had said I’d go to their house, but I completely forgot.”
Every Friday, I’d pick him up for work and then we’d have dinner. Two months into it, I told him the story of my friend Rob’s parents.
“His mom was engaged,” I explained. “But his dad said, ‘She’s not married yet!’ and pursued her anyway. She left her fiancé for him.”
Then it came out: David had had a crush on me since our first class, when he zeroed in on “the cutest girl I’ve ever seen.” He’d left the library, devastated, when he heard me say I had a boyfriend. He moved seats in classes so he could see me and blocked my exit row hoping I’d talk to him. He’d planned to drop the seminar until I walked in.
I broke up with my boyfriend a few weeks later.
If he’d gotten into my college, if we’d spoken earlier in law school… I don’t think of the lost time we could have had; the events that finally did bring us together are what made us beshert.
David and I have been together 22 years and will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary in 2022.
And I still have to remind him when it’s Rosh Hashanah.
Amy and David Newman graduated from Pepperdine Law School in 2000 and lived briefly in Chicago before moving to Alaska. They currently live in Anchorage with their daughters Julia and Gabrielle, both 13, cat Quincy, and golden retriever, Rocket. Amy is a freelance writer who also does contract legal research and writing for local attorneys. David is the state’s ADA Coordinator.
Top photo: Amy and David in Juneau, Alaska early in their relationship.