“Today I am safe, today I am stable, today I am happy. Today, I am in love, and happily married. Together we are ‘the luvbuns’, our pet name for each other, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I almost did not meet him, the man of my dreams (as cliche as that sounds, it’s true). The story of how we met begins before we even set eyes upon one other.
Before We Met
At the start of the new year in 2019, I was working at a dream job as an IT Support Analyst for a satellite corporate office of a retail store–I loved the work I did, I loved the people with whom I worked, and I genuinely looked forward to going to work every day. This is the job that elevated me out of a lifetime of poverty (my mother supported a family of 4 solely upon her disability check in Southern California, you see), so, this job was my world.
But sadly, for me, it was not meant to last. I received notification of an impending layoff in March of that year because my company had restructured my department. I was devastated, to say the least. It felt like discovering my whole world was made of glass and that it had just shattered into a million pieces. I could barely breathe, it seemed; I could barely bring myself out of bed.
In an attempt to salvage my job, I reapplied for it. The company still needed the job, they simply needed it elsewhere. I interviewed and landed the position–under the stipulation that I take a $4/hr pay cut, relocate to Missouri, and thus move out of Washington state, the state I had called home for the past 9 years. But I loved this job more than anything in the world, and I was desperate to save it. So I sold nearly all of my possessions, gave most of the rest of it away, and packed what I couldn’t bear parting with into my tiny sedan. And I drove. I drove all that way on my own to new territory.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
To provide context for this next portion of my story, I feel it necessary to disclose that I live with a serious mental illness. Diagnosed at just 14 years old, this condition has shaped my life, in sometimes rather unfortunate ways. Shortly after my move to Missouri, shortly after starting the job in the new location, I became very ill. I was so ill, in fact, that I wound up in the mental hospital for inpatient treatment. I remember thinking to myself, over and over, ‘What have I done? What have I done? What have I done?’
The series of unfortunate events continued: I lost the job, then later the place I lived in. Almost as quickly as I had moved there, I found myself homeless and nearly utterly alone in a state where I knew next to nobody. However, through the kindness of a new acquaintance, who later became a good friend, I was thankfully not homeless on the streets. Even so, I knew that my situation was precarious at best, and while I had a place to sleep on her recliner, it was not a permanent housing solution.
My best friend in the whole world saved me. She flew to Missouri from Washington in order to rescue me from my condition. The original plan was to return to Washington and either live with my sister or a friend until I could find my way back on my feet. Of course, there was a change. My mother, in her 60’s, had a fall. A very bad one too. She broke her hip in two places and required immediate surgery; she fell shortly before my friend flew in. I knew then that my father, also in ill health, would need assistance caring for my mother in her time of need. I decided, at the last moment, to move instead to my childhood home state of California. The new plan: I would help my father care for my mother post-surgery while looking for a job. If I had chosen differently, I would not have met my special someone.
Back to School
I signed up to take a networking class to hone my IT-related job skills. I was excited to be back in class. Shortly before class started, the instructor fell ill and could no longer offer the class. I was once again faced with another choice: switch to a different class or drop out. I really wanted to enhance my skills for work, as I kept doing poorly on the technical interview questions any time I did land a job interview (which was few and far between), so I swapped at the last possible moment to PC Repair.
During the week leading up to the start of PC Repair, another choice was made: I was soon to run out of unemployment, with no job in sight, and deep homesickness for Washington state, I made plans to instead move back to the place where I felt most at home: the state of Washington. By September, my mother’s condition had improved enough that she and my father no longer needed my help.
However, the day I began packing my sedan to make the move, I got a phone call inviting me to the second round of interviews at a prestigious architectural firm in Los Angeles. It was such a great opportunity that I pushed my move date out a little further. I went, instead, to PC repair class to help me prepare at least a little bit for the interview, where I would eventually meet him–my luvbun. The fateful event of our meeting happened a little something like this.
‘MOM! I’m going to be late!!’ I said to my mother, as I realized that class was about to start. ‘I can’t be late, it’s the first day of class! What will the teacher even think of me if I’m late?!’
‘Lord bless and help you along the way,’ she said to me, her prayer that she would always tell me growing up whenever I went to school. I thanked her, then I dashed off to class, hoping against hope to not be late. Alas, time was not in my favor.
‘You’re late,” the instructor said matter-of-factly. ‘Find a seat.’ I sat in an available seat near the front, and when class was over, I went straight to my car to go home.
Our First Meeting
On the second day of class, I vowed to get there early. I’m rarely, if ever late. The days in between the first and second day go by rather unremarkably. The second day arrives, and I’m there 20 minutes early! But, even earlier than me, waiting in the hallway of the building outside the classroom was a bright-eyed, curly-haired man. I struck up a conversation.
‘Hello! I’m Lillia. What’s your name?’
‘Hi, Cadin!’ I remember saying. ‘So, is this your first tech class?’ I asked.
‘Well, I’m studying electronics at the community college, but this is my first class on computers, yeah. What about you?’
‘I have a couple years of experience in IT Support,” I said, “But this is actually my first formal education in the topic. I learned most of what I know through on-the-job training.” I proceeded to tell him about the interview I had coming up. ‘And if I land the job, I’ll drop this class because I won’t have time to do both.’
Just then the teacher arrived, and we ambled into the classroom. I sat near the front, as I usually do. The man I just spoke to sat somewhere in the back. The teacher began his lecture, and I was busy writing notes. I looked up, and the guy (I had completely spaced his name by this point) had moved to sit next to me. I thought nothing of it at the time. Perhaps he needed to see the board more clearly.
Class ends, and I again dash out to my car. But I’m stopped by him. ‘Wait!’ he says. I turn around, and he has his phone out with the add contact screen on his phone. I gave him my number and then went home. Once again, I thought nothing of it at the time, perhaps he wanted to study with someone who had experience in the field.
When I arrived home, I checked my text messages. One of them was from him, it read, ‘Hey! It’s Cadin.’ I responded, ‘Hey :)’ He then lays it on real thick, saying, ‘I’m ordinarily shy around girls I find attractive, but you have beautiful eyes.’ I. was. flattered. So much so that I looked up this Cadin on Facebook, and saw his tagline read, ‘ManKind Cannot Live Without Doughnuts!’
‘Reallllly? <3’ I replied to him.
‘Would you like to get donuts? I hope it’s not weird, but I saw on Facebook you like them.’
‘What about tonight?’
Happily Ever After
And that is the story of how we met and went on our first date. The first date was a huge success! He told me that because there was a chance I could drop the class, he asked me for my number. He said he ‘had to act quickly.’ After the first date, we went on several more dates, in fact, we spent nearly every waking moment of free time we could together.
We soon started calling each other ‘luvbun’ (it’s a variation of lovebird, but with bunnies). We eventually moved in together, became engaged, and then got married. We moved out of state, returning to the place that felt so much like home to me: Pullman, WA. I truly feel that I’m lucky enough to get a chance to live my life in a ‘happily ever after’ way. The events leading up to our meeting had to happen in a specific way, things had to happen that did not make sense to me at the time. I can say with confidence that I believe in love and have hope for the future.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lillia Skye from Pullman, WA. You can follow her journey on Instagram and TikTok. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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