“Oh my god, you’re like, the sweetest, chillest person ever. You’re such a hippie, I love you!” was the typical exclamation that I received from almost everyone for the first couple weeks after I moved into college for my freshman year. They’d enter my room for the first time to find me listening to music and choreographing dance moves in the mirror, with a tie-dye sheet above my bed, motivational quotes on my cork board, peace tea cans on my desk, song lyrics taped to my wall, and a “coexist” poster hanging on my closet door. I never saw myself as a hippie, so I figured that maybe I just valued simpler things more than the average person, and that’s why they referred to me as one. Maybe peace, love, understanding, and appreciation of the non-material things that life offers were things that I valued a lot more than I realized.
Little did I know that by the end of the semester, my new roommates, friends, neighbors, and even strangers would be telling me how glad they were that they met me, and how thankful that they were that I helped them achieve a happier perspective on life simply by being myself and being a part of their lives.
“I never knew that one person could have so much love inside them.”
“You literally just like, make me so happy. I’ve never met anyone who could do that like you can.”
“I’m so much happier just by being around you and it’s only been a few months.”
“I can’t imagine not having met you.”
“You do everything with your whole heart. I wanna live my life like that too.”
“I love learning from you. You just have so much wisdom.”
“I came here and found the greatest, most loyal friend I’ve ever had in my life.”
“My friend said that you make me a better person… and I agree.”
These words, I will never forget. How could I even if I wanted to? And how could I even want to? I had all these people telling me how much of a positive impact I was on them. It fed my motivation to keep going when I feel like giving up most. It was a reminder to me that even when my life feels like it’s caught in an endless cycle of curveballs – when I feel like there’s no way to stop it, or change it, or cope with it – that’s when I need to keep going, because I wouldn’t just be letting myself down. I’d be letting down all the lives that I touch. And the past few years of my life have taught me that I touch a lot more lives than I realize.
Then there are the lives that are merged with yours in ways you can’t explain. The ones that help you understand how you could mean so much to someone, because you feel the same about them. It’s the people you would do absolutely anything for. The one’s you’d give up anything for in a heartbeat if it meant saving them in any way. The close friends, the role models, the family members… and the Unexpected.
Unexpected. He’s an interesting one. He’s the one that you stumble upon out of nowhere, really. You go about your life, day by day, and then you make a choice to do something you would have done normally. But this time, your normal turns into extraordinary.
You find Unexpected in a realm where you share the same passion. And at first glance, you can’t figure out why this person shakes you – your everything. Your soul, your mind, your heart – for goodness sake – your heart. Your heart goes numb and lights on fire at the same time. See, this Unexpected is special because he makes you care about him more than other Unexpecteds have. A lot more.
As you and the Unexpected begin a connection, you can’t figure out what it is about the Unexpected that makes you tick. You’d do anything to see him smile and you’d do anything to make sure that this smile stays on his face. Suddenly you’re falling asleep thinking about the Unexpected and waking up hoping that he’s off to a good start with his day. But why do you care so much? Why does it matter if the Unexpected is having a good day or not? Everyone has bad days, but it doesn’t bother you that much because you know that them spilling coffee on their clothes or forgetting their assignment at home is just part of life. It’s so minor in the grand scheme of life. But for some reason, you’re bothered if this happens to the Unexpected because don’t want anything less than amazing to happen to the Unexpected. You know it’s unrealistic for someone to have incredibility and happiness fill their day 24/7, but you don’t care. The Unexpected is an exception to you. You care about his health, his safety, his dreams, his well-being, and every part of his soul so much to the point where the thought of anything bad happening to him makes you sick to your stomach. At first, you shudder. Then you physically feel a knot in your throat that leads to tiny beads of water forming in the corner of your eyes. Tears fall. How can tears fall from a thought? You don’t understand it. But you know that the Unexpected must mean a lot more than you think if he can do that to you. Picturing him going to bed upset or worried about anything, no matter how small, is what keeps you up at night. And then it’s the little things that he says and does when you’re together that pop into your head when you’re apart, making you smile even on your toughest days.
Soon you realize that the Unexpected has captivated you in ways you can’t explain. It even makes you mad sometimes, and anxious too. You promised yourself you wouldn’t let this happen. You weren’t looking for the Unexpected because your heart is too fragile, but he was woven into your life and you found him without looking, so what can you do? He makes you feel like you could do anything and he makes you want to be a better person than you were yesterday. Your connection with the Unexpected is really just, unexpected. You look at him and that’s when everything is ok. You look at him and see millions of pieces of gold – in his heart, in his beautiful brown eyes, in his little quirks, in the way he does the simplest things. He eats his food so fast and it bothers you, but for some reason you love it. He snores and you hate when people snore, but it doesn’t bug you a bit coming from him. In fact, it comforts you and you can’t fall asleep unless you hear him snoring because it means he is sound asleep and at peace – now you can sleep knowing that he feels comfortable and safe – just like you feel whenever he puts his arm around you and stops to catch your eyes in his eyes. You grow to look at him and see that he has become a dear part of your world.
Days, weeks, months pass. The Unexpected has been the first thing you think of when you wake up, and the final thought on your mind as you fall asleep. You look out for him and you don’t care what it takes because you’ve never wanted to take care of an Unexpected so much. Looking after him becomes second nature. You aren’t sure if he notices all the little things that you do for him, because after a while, going the extra mile for him becomes a part of your life, so you don’t even notice all your own gestures until you take a minute to realize.
No one can put a price on the Unexpected, and they never could. He’s always meant too much to you to be compared to anything or anyone. He doesn’t like his flaws but you love them. They are beautiful to you and you wish he could see himself like you see him, so you will do whatever you can to help him see that. Every word, every touch, every look from him – you wouldn’t trade it for the world. Then your birthday approaches and he’ll ask what you want. You’ll say, “Nothing” and you won’t mind saying it, because what else could you possibly need from him besides the “us” that you have created together? Cherish. You cherish.
Pretty soon you’re throwing inside jokes back and forth with the Unexpected like you’ve known each other for years. You’re falling asleep on his chest and waking up next to him smiling at you from above. He’s given you drawers in his dresser because he appreciates that you deserve a nice place to keep your things. Your toothbrush has been in his bathroom for the longest time because coming over is just what you guys do. You come home to each other after a long day and your stress isn’t even a thing when you’re finishing a box of pizza with your legs in his lap as you guys sip on your favorite beer and laugh at funny TV shows. You sing to each other when you’re in the car and he knows how much of a hooligan you are when it comes to good music. He remembers your favorite flower and he knows why you cringe when you think about your childhood. You listen to each other rant about life and get excited together about your passions. You were never a morning person. Ever. But the Unexpected has a hard time waking up too, so you somehow – for a reason you still don’t understand – find a way to open your sleepy eyes and be the one to help him get out of bed instead of vice versa. You wait in 5:00 traffic after a long day of work just to go out and buy him his favorite cereal with the spare cash you’ve been holding onto. You have late night phone calls when you talk about everything and nothing at the same time because your deep conversations and silly remarks are highlights of your day. You’ll take a bus to get to see him even if the hard plastic seats mean two hours of back pain, because he is worth it. You’ll talk through every disagreement, every argument, because he is worth it. And we have to fight for the things and people that mean anything to us in life. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
Things get hard. But then the Unexpected holds you when you cry and he kisses your forehead and stroked your hair and says, “You don’t have to go through this alone.” You do the same when you can see tears forming in his eyes. You get each other back on track and you’re always careful to not let the other sink below the surface. His worst days are hard for you too, because him feeling pain means that you feel pain too – a god-awful pain. You see him in distress and you know that you’d do absolutely anything. Whatever it may take. Anything to make him feel alright again. You don’t even care what that means – you’d do anything because you’re not just there to make the Unexpected happy. You’re there to help him grow and ignite sparks in him that he couldn’t see before. You pull out certain sides of him that you can both love and he does the same for you. Every piece of you cares for every piece of him.
You think about the Unexpected. You think of him when you see the color yellow because it’s the color of one of his favorite Pokémon. You see his smile and hear his laughter whenever you screenshot funny, dark humor posts online – and then you just have to send it to him. You think of him and you wonder if he’s thinking of you too. You see random things that remind you of him and you wonder – what does he see that triggers thoughts of me?
Average moments become precious moments when you’re going through them with the Unexpected by your side. You’ll find yourself spending two hours at the grocery store hand in hand while you help him find his favorite dinner essentials and he looks at different shampoo brands with you. And you love every part of it, even when he takes 15 minutes to Google a neat pasta dish, because you know that he wants the best for you two and that this is his way of showing it. And pushing the shopping cart into him when he’s not looking is one of the many ways that you say, “I think you’re swell.”
And then you’ve written this piece on your laptop. Now your vision is blurred – you have tears forming in your eyes because you can’t help that your heart is too big and your tear ducts are too small to not let yourself feel what everything inside of you is meant to feel. Your heart is drawn to the Unexpected, whether he smiles at you over a candle lit dinner and a glass of wine, or he’s simply sitting in front of you playing on the PS4. Your heart has become a part of his, and his has become a part of yours.
I used to fear the unknown. I used to try to plan everything. I used to only feel comfortable when I could expect the expected, because too many unexpected elements had ruined parts of my life. I grew to think that sure plans meant everything was going to be okay – at least… I thought it did, until the Unexpected happened.
We, are human. That is all that we are. Just tiny, living beings with a pulse and a breath. We are born, we live, and eventually, we die. We don’t know what life has in store for us. We never really do. We are depriving ourselves of the raw beauty of life if we try and follow a path that we set for ourselves without welcoming things that come along with it, because then we will be missing out on what matters most – the unexpected experiences, the unexpected people, the unexpected knowledge that we gain along the way. These are the things that can change your life for the better – this is what we’re here for. We are here for the unexpected.