For our Night We Met series, we're asking engaged or married couples to tell us their version of the day or night they first met. Have a good story to share? You can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each partner should send us one paragraph telling the story from his/her perspective. Meet our latest couple below!
AlShan and Mina Barnett, ages 30 and 31 respectively, go way back -- way way back. The now-married couple first got together in December 1994 when they were both sixth graders at Washington Academy of Music in New Jersey. Four months later, the pair broke up (Mina says she was "devastated") and ended up losing touch at the end of the school year. After more than a decade apart, they rekindled their friendship via social media. More on their adorable, albeit complicated, history later.
In 2012, after years of on-again-off-again communication, the grade-school sweethearts finally made their love official. AlShan popped the question to Mina at their favorite sushi restaurant and the pair tied the knot that same month. Curious how they finally got together for good after so many years apart? Read on!
While getting a tour of the school’s music rooms, I'm not lying, the cutest boy I had ever seen in my life walks into the classroom to grab his instrument -- an alto saxophone. I could either stick with the clarinet, which I had played before, or try a new instrument. At that moment the choice was obvious. Saxophone all the way!
We began an amazing four-month relationship. I taught him to play chess, we learned music together, he would make me Sonic and Knuckles drawings and he even gave me my first kiss. But all that came crashing down one fateful day when I got the chicken pox. Sixth grade relationships are solely based on seeing each other at school every day. I couldn’t come to school because I was sick. So he dumped me.
I'm still mad about it to this day. I was devastated -- I mean like, heartbroken to the 100th power. We ended up having private saxophone lessons together at his house the summer after we broke up. This killed me because my 11-year-old self was still completely in love with him.
Years and years later in 2006, I sent him a message on MySpace, trying to jog his memory as to who I was. Turns out, he remembered me down to the smallest detail -- how I wore my hair and the songs I played in jazz band. At that time, he was living in California and I was still in New Jersey so we exchanged numbers and starting talking on the phone every day. Both of us were dating other people at the time, though, so we ended up losing touch again. The timing wasn't right.
Fast-forward to May 2009 when I received a Facebook message from him out of the blue. He apologized for how things ended the last time around. When we got on the phone again, we talked for seven straight hours. We had so much catching up to do.
He visited one month later. When he pulled up to my apartment and started walking toward me, it was very...strange. He was beautiful in pictures, but seeing him in-person was so different. To be very honest, I wasn't really sexually attracted to him! I mean, I loved him and was in love with him, but I wasn't sexually attracted to him. Yeah, I know that's weird. Maybe it was because he looked like the little boy I remembered from sixth grade, but with a beard. He walked up to me and hugged me lightly. We came into the house and sat on the bed as far apart as we could, just looking at each other, smiling from ear to ear. We were just sitting there talking, when I reached down to the foot of the bed to grab something off the floor. I don’t know what he thought I was doing, but he kissed me. And when he kissed me, that was pretty much it! Everything I had been feeling made so much more sense. Two days later, when we came up for air, he told me he loved me and that he was going to move me to California and make me his wife. This sounded like crazy talk to me, but he was serious. I figured we'd just see where things went, but I honestly didn't think anything would come out of it. I was so wrong.
While at Washington Academy of Music, my teacher Mr. Johnston started an after-school jazz band practice, and that’s where I met Mina. She was pretty with long hair and she was very good at playing the saxophone -- better than I was, actually, but I never told her that. She wasn't like any other girl that I had come in contact with during my 11 years on this earth. She taught me how to play chess and beat someone with only four moves. We decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend and we sealed it with a kiss in the school auditorium. I was very happy because I had landed the coolest girl in the whole school.
Now let's address the dreaded breakup that I just can't seem to escape. She got the chicken pox and was out of school for close to a month. When you're in sixth grade, a month is like an eternity. We couldn't even talk on the phone that much. So I made the decision to end the relationship. I didn’t know that this would go on to haunt me throughout every conversation that we have ever had about how we got together. We were still friends and we continued to take lessons from Mr. Johnston at my parents’ house. This was a way for me to spend more time with her, which made me happy again. After sixth grade, we lost touch when we went off to different middle schools.
That is, until 2006 when I received a MySpace message from Mina asking me if I remembered her. My eyes lit up when I saw her name, and I proceeded to write a university-level essay about how well I remembered her and missed her. I couldn't believe that she found me. I even mentioned to her about how I tell everyone that she was the best girlfriend I ever had.
We began talking -- a lot. We didn’t really discuss our love lives, though. I was just so happy to have Mina back in my life, being her friend was all that I was concerned with. But we ended up losing touch once again.
In May 2009, I searched Mina's name on Facebook and sent her a message, asking if it was okay for me to call her. She gave me her number and we talked all night long, like nothing ever happened between us.
Then, in June 2009, I finally came to see her in New Jersey after all that time. My initial reaction when I finally saw her was just to give her a huge hug. I was so happy and a little nervous at the same time. She looked as pretty as I remembered and even better in person. She was no longer a cute little girl, but a beautiful woman. I went inside and we sat on the bed and just kind of looked at each other in awe of the fact that we were finally together. Mina then asked me why I was sitting so far away from her, and when I moved closer, we kissed for the first time in many, many years. The chemistry between the two of us seemed like something out of a movie or a story from a book. We spent the next few days in bed and barely left the room.
As a surprise, I took her back to the Washington School where we first met, and we took pictures outside the school and on the playground. The trip was amazing. I didn't want it to end, but I did have to go back to California.
I never expected things to go the way that they did. What would happen from there, I wasn’t sure. But I didn't want to leave New Jersey without her knowing how I felt. There hasn't been a day gone by that I have stopped loving her, no matter what.