How Do You Know?

I was 19. Bryon and I had been dating for 2 weeks. He was a senior in college struggling through a physical chemistry lab. I was in the middle of my easy freshman classes.

Each morning we would meet each other in the dormitory cafeteria for breakfast. Our usual custom was then to watch television for half an hour on the tiny black and white set in his dorm room before heading out for the day. I thought the date was sacred. We were watching Inspector Gadget, for crying out loud! This particular morning I was told that Bryon had to meet his lab partner Dave for homework.

I liked Dave. Bryon had been seeing Dave a lot. Physical chemistry lab is a tough gig, and there had been a lot of obscure references to look up in the library stacks. Dave and Bryon would often take me for pizza with them after lab sessions.

That morning, I felt neglected. I’d watched our time erode as more demanding homework took hold. I wanted to hang out with my new boyfriend. I was outraged that he didn’t seem to feel the same. The frustration came to a head, and I decided we were finished. I yelled at him. He yelled at me. I stormed back to my room.

When I got back, I sat down to have a self-indulgent cry. The emotional backlash of having broken up with Bryon slapped me. I had overreacted, but it was too late.

There was a soft knock on the door of my dorm room. Bryon stood there. I shrank to two inches tall, my selfishness and vanity suddenly laid out in front of me.

“I thought you had to meet Dave.”

“I called him. I’m sorry.”

“Why?” I looked him over. In the world I came from, you never admitted weakness or blame. “It wasn’t your fault,” I said.

“Someone always has to say sorry, whether it’s their fault or not,” he said.

It was that moment that I knew I would marry him. Because here was a way of looking at the world that was so different and so wonderful. And here was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

We began our lives together on February 17th, 1984. We married on July 18th, 1987. We are still married, and happily so. You know you’ve found the right person when each day is better than the last.

Happy anniversary, Sweetie Pea. I love you so much.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

7 thoughts on “How Do You Know?”

  1. Congratulations!

    It took me longer to know, but that’s a lovely story. Your relationship is an inspiration and I hope I can achieve what you two have!

  2. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww ^_________________^

    So very sweet! Congratulations, you two! You deserve to have each day be better than the last! 🙂 May you both have a very long and happy life together! 🙂

  3. The realistic and successful counterpoint to the most bullshit famous movie line ever, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

    Happy anniversary! I was also lucky enough to meet the right person when I was only 19, and each does indeed get better than the one before!

  4. That is such a sweet story, Cath.

    I remember a period (must have been sometime in late 1983) when I was terrified you weren’t going to marry Bryon. He was so obviously crazy about you, but you still seemed on the fence. I’m so glad that when you finally fell off it, it was in the right direction!

  5. Oh Catherine…that was such a sweet story! You two are so perfect together.

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