Once upon 8 years ago, a handsome college freshman found my phone number, called himself a “woo” and became my best friend. Just a couple weeks later, we went on our first date.

Sunday, September 20, 2009
Eric ‘picked me up’ at 6:00 sharp and we walked the short way to Olive Garden. I wore my favorite green shirt and jeans. He wore a grey Henley, ripped jeans and very clean Pumas. I was nervous, but trying desperately not to show it. He had the confidence of a tiger and a smile that made the butterflies in my stomach flutter like crazy.

We talked freely, as best friends do, about anything and everything. He ordered seafood alfredo and I ordered spaghetti. My noodles were tricky and I was afraid to make a mess of myself, so I picked up my spoon and began using it to help the pasta twirl around my fork.
“What are you doing!?” Eric said with a chuckle.
“This is what they do in Europe. It’s easier and more polite this way.”
“Wow, it’s really cool that you know that.”
(He actually believed me!!!)

When the check came, Eric fumbled with and dropped his pen.
“Are you nervous?” I said.
“No!……yes. You’re so pretty and smart. Please stop looking at me so I can sign this check.”

On the walk back to our dorms, he stopped me and asked me to sit with him on a short brick wall.
“Lizzie, I know this is only our first date, but I want to take you on more. Can I please be your boyfriend?”
“Yes” I said, blushing and smiling uncontrollably.

September 20, 2010
Eric was never one to hold back on spoiling me if he could find a way to afford it. After an extravagant evening of fine dining and fancy outfits, we sat closely together on the curb by my dorm building. He handed me a small box, and I opened it to find a charm bracelet. “I’ll give you a charm for every year we’re together, until you have dozens of bracelets,” he said.

September 20, 2017
Eric was generous with his love and free with his romancing of me. Although he is no longer here to charm me on a date, I am thankful for this bracelet to remind me that he did. Today it only holds 5 dangling items from him, but they are more precious to me than 5 thousand diamonds.

1. Cross: “We will wait on the Lord” – the year we had postponed our wedding.
2. Heart:
 “He who holds the key can unlock my heart,” and the key that fits in it’s hole was given from my Dad to Eric on our wedding day.
3. Graduation Cap: We graduated from college
4. Pearl: Eric’s wedding gift to me.
5. Pink birthstone bead: Bingham’s October birth charm (a gift from a good friend)
6. Emerald birthstone bead: William’s May birth charm (a gift from a good friend)
7. Heart crystal with topaz bead: Eric’s November birth charm (a gift from a good friend)

“The treasure of a lifetime lies in the sacredness of the heart” – Leilah Gifty Akita

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