I remember seeing him across the crowded room, noting his handsome face, and hoping we would get a chance to meet. I was 22 and had just begun a fellowship program in Colorado. Zac was 18, a student at the US Air Force Academy, and also my professor's son.
Zac eventually made his way over to me. We talked, flirted, and had an instant connection. Whatever spark we both felt in those brief moments somehow lingered and we found casual ways to stay in touch that fall semester—but, for me, our instant chemistry wasn’t enough.
I had certain long-held expectations and, as far as I was concerned, the age gap between me and Zac did not sync up. At the end of the semester, we both moved on—geographically and emotionally.
Fast forward 2 years to my first semester in law school when, out of the blue, I got a Facebook message from Zac. He was applying to law school himself and wanted to chat about my experience.
I hadn’t thought about Zac in years, but our brief messages back and forth to schedule a phone interview was all it took to reawaken that spark I had felt two years prior.
Not surprisingly, the subject of law school applications was long forgotten when we finally connected on the phone. A handful of emails, dozens of phone calls, hundreds of text messages, and 10 weeks later, Zac arrived to visit me one weekend.
Reuniting after 2 years didn’t seem strange at all. All weekend I kept looking for red flags, but none appeared. Things just seemed to click. He proposed exactly six months later. Less than five months after that, we walked down the aisle.
Perhaps we had to meet twice for it to stick. The time between our first and second meeting was not wasted. Zac and I needed those years to grow and figure out what we wanted out of life. What I wanted at 22 was not what I needed at 25. By the time we met again, I could admit to myself that what I wanted most of all was a life with this particular man—not even my most stubborn expectations could get in the way of that.
Some say lightning never hits the same place twice. While that may be true in nature, I remain unconvinced that it's necessarily true in love.
(Photography by Shannon Lee Miller)