Crystal Renner
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The Greatest Love I've Ever Known

Everybody somewhere in the world has their better half out there, waiting to be complete. Some have already found their soulmate. Well, I've found mine, and I have never been happier.

So what with all the drama circulating the 'Net these days about "this person is a cheater and a liar" and "that person has six kids with ten different people", it's nice to be able to tell a story that basically encompasses your general American family dream: a loving stable marriage or relationship and 2.3 kids (in my case, three.) So today, I'd like to share with you my relationship and how everything came to be.

My husband and I met when I was eighteen and he was twenty-eight through a mutual friend who is gone now these past four or five years (RIP, Marek). Anyway, I was supposed to hook up with his friend, and he was supposed to hook up with my best friend at the time. Didn't happen that way. He ended up preferring me over her. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The first time I ever met him, our mutual friend Marek ended up taking me over to this house in Allentown. I didn't know my husband was there right away, so I assumed it would just be a visit with whoever lived there. Well, mind you, that day I was dressed to the nines in my best Goth gear. I'm talking black lipstick, boots, chains...the whole nine yards. So I walked into this house, not knowing what to expect, and was right away introduced to his mother and her boyfriend. Then the weird part happened.

His sixteen year old sister came downstairs from her room, took one look at me, and told me in that semi-shotty way teenage girls have, "You, like, really need a makeover." So I let her take me up to her room, where she proceeded to completely wipe clean every trace of black from my visible person. She put me in this tight short pink dress with these absolutely girly white wedge heels, brushed out my hair, and redid my makeup in sparkly pink. Then when she was done, she stepped back and said something that, eight years later, I still haven't figured out why she said it. "Now go upstairs and show my brother."

I had no idea what to expect, but I went anyway, wondering what kind of person I would see at the top of those stairs. I stepped onto the attic floor where his room was, and sitting at a table there was one of the biggest and handsomest men I'd ever physically met in my life. At the time, I was in a year and a half long relationship with somebody else, but we'd been fighting a lot and whatnot. But the minute this man's eyes wandered over my body, I felt an invisible fire light me up from head to foot. He gave just one small nod of approval and then invited me to sit down and drink with him.

After I'd changed into jeans and a tshirt, I started to drink with him. There were a few other people there as well, people he knew that I didn't. We had this gigantic crystal punch bowl sitting in the middle of this table, and into this bowl, we poured all the liquor available in one big mixture. I'm talking everything from Jack Daniels to Captain Morgan to Kahlua, etc. Then we mixed the whole batch up with orange Koolaid. It was, without a doubt, the single nastiest thing I've ever drank in my life. One shot was pretty much guaranteed to knock you on your ass. Anyway, about four shots in, I knew I wasn't making it back down the stairs to his sister's room where I was set up to sleep. He knew it too, because as the night wound down and everybody left, he took my hand and asked me if I wanted to sleep with him. I didn't even hesitate to say yes. Needless to say, we didn't really get a whole lot of sleeping in (wink, wink). But we finally ended up passing out at around seven in the morning.

When I finally woke up, it was roughly noon or so and the sun was blazing brightly and right on my face. I say bolt upright in his bed, realized I wasn't dressed, and panicked, so to calm down, I lit up a cigarette while I tried to recount the events of the previous night. I felt the bed move a bit, and when I looked back at him, his head was propped up on his elbow and he was giving me the single wickedest smile I'd ever seen in my life. Then he said, "So was it as good for you as it was for me?" I quickly grabbed up my clothes and excused myself, using the nineteen-block walk back to my grandmother's house where I was staying to try and eek some of the shame out of my pores. I expected it to be nothing more than a one-night stand, but at around two o'clock that same afternoon, his sister called me back. "Yo, we're all here drinking. Come over." I practically ran the nineteen blocks back to his house, and really, since that second day, I never left. We ended up picking up my things from my gram'a house, and I wound up living with him.

That was eight years ago, going on nine, and we have been happily married for seven of those eight years. We also have three handsome boys together who, frankly, are cut right out of their daddy's ass, body and all. We also have a big Rottweiler together and are in the process of buying our first house. And you know something? We still love each other as much as we did the first time our eyes locked. They say love at first sight doesn't exist, but I'll be the first to call bunk, because I got to experience it for myself. I could never want anyone else in my life the way I want him. He's been my rock, my shoulder to cry on, my walk to bounce ideas and feelings off of, and everything in between. I truly believe I've found my other half, and I wouldn't trade him for any other. So ladies, don't assume that a drunken one night stand will always end in shame, because you might just find the one who completes you like I did.

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