Weeks before that first basketball game I was home alone when the phone rang. I remember answering and hearing a boy say: My brother is in love with you! Then there was some commotion and the call was disconnected. I never thought much about it or who the caller might be. I always assumed it was a prank call, but I would find out I had assumed wrong.
Josh was back at school the Tuesday after our date and our regular routine resumed. We casually flirted at school and talked on the phone after dark. I think we almost always started out on a three way call with Chris, but he would bow out at some point each night. So much of our early relationship was wrapped up in our friendship with Chris — the three of us were always together and he knew as much about our relationship as I did.
Valentine’s Day was on a Friday, two weeks after our first date. Josh had his wisdom teeth pulled that morning and hadn’t been at school. We weren’t really together at this point and because of his surgery, we had no plans for the evening. I’m sure I was disappointed, but he surprised me in true Josh fashion. He called that night to see if he could come by and wound up on my front porch with balloons, roses, and a stuffed bear — swollen chipmunk cheeks and all. I remember several days later, my dad asking if he had kissed me yet. Can we discuss how awkward that conversation was?! Especially when I said no and my dad asked if he needed a pep talk. My dad clearly thought Josh was moving too slow. On February 22nd, we were standing in the front yard talking about school. He had been in a pageant earlier that day where the boys dressed up as beauty queens. I was in the middle of a sentence when he stole a kiss. Then, he left me standing in the front yard dumbfounded.
Miss Firecracker Pageant | February 22, 1997
In early March, my theater group performed Godspell for three nights in a row. He came to watch me perform on Saturday night and we watched a movie with friends afterwards. Chris took this picture of us in the backseat of his date’s car on our way to the video store. It was our first photograph together and is still one of my favorites. In fact, it is still in its original frame and will return to our bedroom if we ever actually move in.
Our first photograph together | March 6, 1997
One thing I love about when we grew up, is that there was no text messaging. I didn’t get a cell phone until well after graduation and even then, I don’t remember texting each other until after Sophie was born. Any communications we had were by telephone or through lengthy handwritten notes passed back and forth during class. We had friends who would pass notes for us and sometimes we would compete for who could write the longest letter. We numbered them from the very beginning (to keep them in order) and YES, they are in a binder out of little girls’ reach. It is always so fun to read back through them and see what we were thinking then. He wrote me a letter the last week of March and asked me to be his girlfriend. I wrote him back on March the 30th. It was Easter Sunday and he told me later how he pulled over on the side of the road to read my response because he didn’t want to wait until he got home.
Josh’s Senior Prom | April 11, 1997
Several months after we started dating, we were out on a Friday night with Chris. We were walking through the parking lot towards the bookstore when Chris said: Remember that time Bull called Kristin and you almost killed him? It was the moment I realized that what I thought had been a prank call all those months ago, had actually been Josh’s younger brother. They had all been playing pool and trying to convince Josh to call me on the phone. When he refused, his brother took matters into his own hands. I was told it didn’t take long for Josh to catch him and the evening ended with a bruised brother and a broken door. He later told me he loved me with no help from his brother or his best friend, in early April at a stop sign in town. Twenty years later I think about that almost every time I drive through that neighborhood.