Real Life Love Story

by Matt McCarthy

REAL LIFE LOVE STORY: I apologize for the length, and hope it can be fit in in it's entirety. I believe, without a doubt, it's the greatest TRUE love story

This is a real-life love story that happened to me. I apologize for the length, but I felt it was necessary to give some short, but crucial background information.

In the summer of 2007, I moved with my family from Franklin, Massachusetts to Hoover, Alabama. I had just finished my sophomore year of high school, and the reason for the move was a result of my dad being hired as part of the baseball staff at UAB (University of Alabama-Birmingham). There he would earn a six-figure salary, which, in the end, was too good to pass up. I successfully made the try-outs for the Hoover High School Buccaneers varsity football team (which is the most famous in the country, as a result of MTV's hit reality show, "Two-A-Days"), the most elite program in the entire country. Adjusting to the south took a little bit of time, but being on the football team and having a good social life, I was able to make friends fairly easily and adjust to southern culture.

Deep into fall camp (Saturday), exactly one week before our first game, I met this girl, Megan (sophomore at the time), during a group hang-out with friends at the local Panera bread. The hangout lasted a good 3 hours, and we immediately hit it off. I offered her a ride home, which she accepted, and before we even left the parking lot, we continued to converse and become better acquainted for roughly 2 more hours (heart-to-hearts and such). Having just met her, I could tell we had a connection, and I sensed that she felt it as well. I was never a guy who based my taste for girls just simply on looks, and although this girl was extremely beautiful (a "9" on a hotness scale of "10"), she struck me as a down-to-earth, genuine girl, who gave more than she took, and had a great sense of moral values (the south is religious crazy!!). When I dropped her off at her door, and she had entered her house, I realized that I forgot to exchange numbers with her. I did not get the chance to see her for a good deal in school the next week, aside from a 5-minute chat during study period, as my team had a flight to catch that Tuesday morning for our 1st game that Saturday against Colerain High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

On thursday night, 2 days before our 1st game, our team attended the University of Cincinnati's first regular season game (on the very field we would play) as part of a team-bonding activity. Halfway through the game, I received a text message from an unidentified number. Dumbfounded, I opened a message that read, "Heyyy you! It's Megan. I forgot to ask for your number, so I asked Alexis (mutual friend) for it. How are you?" In all my life, I had never been so happy to receive a text message from anyone. We talked via text for the continuation of the game (90 minutes, or so), which I didn't pay attention too, and for a good hour on the phone after I had gotten back to the team hotel (after curfew time too!). We went on to lose the game in the last moments that weekend, and the team and myself returned to the hotel crushed, while attempting to pack up our bags and head to the airport. When I turned my phone on, I had received a text message from Megan, congratulating me on a heart-fought game. I was really touched by this, especially considering I was not a starter, but rather the 1st reserve wide receiver (used in 5 Wide packages) that didn't play much (although I had a key catch late in the game!). It was also very meaningful especially since she took the time to listen to the game on radio, moments after coming home from one of her soccer games. We set up a day to hang out, which quickly became a date. We had 2 full dates, and after the 3rd date, I walked her to her front door, and nervously asked her, "will you be my girlfriend?" She smiled right away, and undoubtedly could sense my nervousness, but she never faltered: "yes," she replied.

We went on to date throughout that entire football season. Despite our busy sports schedules, she attended EVERY single football regular season and playoff game (home and away), and I attended every soccer game of hers that I was free. Every Thursday after football practice got out, I would pick her up from her practice, and we would head to the local McDonald's, where I would treat her to fountain sodas and fries. The smallest things were great too. We NEVER had a fight during football season (from 9/16/07-first day as a couple), and we connected better and better every day, and I realized that my thoughts about her the first time I met her, were indeed FACT. She was MUCH better looking than I was, but she didn't care about looks (which is very refreshing), always offered to pay when we went out, treated EVERYONE like they should be treated, and was always in a good mood. Our relationship exemplified the term, "Give & Take" perfectly. I took her out multiple times, but in season, she made me dinners on Wednesday nights after my practices, that she HAND-DELIVERED to me. She took me out to breakfast quite a few times, and treated me herself! We professed our mutual love for each other, roughly 2 months after we had started dating. As Valentines day of 2008 came up, we remained a couple and we celebrated in style, all still WITHOUT A FIGHT OR ARGUMENT.

My senior football season was much of the same. Everyone always told us how perfect we were as a couple, and we grew stronger and stronger each day. My team made it to the state championship that year, where we lost as time expired. I, as well as several other teammates, had our heads buried into our hands on the ground, crying and not wanting to get up. I then got a tap on the shoulder. Still balling, I got up, and realized it was Megan. She had made her way onto the field, and I realized she was crying too. She removed my helmet, pressed my head up against hers (which was hard considering I was 5'11 and she was 5'4) and rocked me very gently; back and forth. With both of us still crying, she whispered to me, "I love you, and I always will. I'm so proud of you, and I'm going to be here for you...always." It was at that point, that I realized that she was the one that I could see myself with in the future, taking the next step with (marriage), even though we were both under 18 (I have a late birthday). The rest of my senior year (and her junior year) went on amazingly. We grew closer and closer seemingly each day (which didn't seem possible considering our feelings and emotions we shared). In the summer time, we both knew that we only had a few months left together before I left for college, and she began her senior year of high school. I had decided to attend the University of Alabama, and although she was going to attend there as well when she graduated in a year, a whole year off was very worrisome. The "next step" and "close bond" I mentioned repeatedly throughout this story, and up until this point, as well as our relationship, was put to the test on one late July night.

Ever since I had graduated that June, the subject of “would we stay together” was present in the minds of many of our friends, as well as ourselves. Everyone had told us we were the “perfect couple” and could see us going on for a long time, leading up to marriage. We ignored this subject for as long as we could, but on one late July night, we both realized we could not avoid it any longer. That late July night, she gave me a call, and we talked about it for the first, and last time. She was upset that although we loved each other so much, the fact that I’d be 45 minutes away and be exposed to thousands of different girls and that I’d meet new people became too much for her. I assured her that we would not separate, and she began to cry over the phone. I told her I’d like to have her come over, which she accepted. Normally, it would take 5 minutes for her to get to my house, but on this night, I heard my doorbell ring just 90 seconds after I had gotten off the phone with her. It was as if she had drove 150 just to get here. I opened the door, and there she was, crying and unable to speak. Simultaneously, we opened our arms and hugged each other as hard as we ever had in our entire 20 months of dating. We sat down in my living room at about 10 o’clock at night, with my parents and brother sleeping comfortably upstairs, and began to talk about our future.

We went on until midnight, still talking about our future. It was at exactly midnight, where the conversation took a turn. Megan was still visibly upset, and still crying could not get any words out, so I began. “Megan, when I moved away from Massachusetts, I left a lot behind. Friends, family, and a comfort zone. It seemed like I had everything I wanted, but I didn’t. When I came down here, I didn’t know who I was. I was struggling to find an identity, a purpose in life. Then it all changed. I then met you. I could tell from the moment we met and began talking, that there was something special between us. Everyone always told me that we were a match made in heaven, the perfect couple. They said we were not like other couples, we could make it through anything, and we have. I discovered who I was because of you. You’re what I’ve been looking for my entire life, the empty spot I haven’t found, until now. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You’ve changed me as a person for the better, and for that I say, thank you. You’re the most giving person I know, and you go out of your way to bring the best out of others, none more so than myself. I love you more than anything, and you’re the best thing that has ever happened to me. How can I let that go? How can I throw that away? I could never do that, and I don’t want to. You hear couples say they love each other, and how they’ll never separate, but yet they always do. That’s not us. We’re different, and we can make it through anything.”

It was at this point that she buried her head into my chest and continued on crying. We exchanged a few kisses, and she seemed a bit more calm. She agreed with everything I had said, saying it was the same story with her, and she didn’t want to let this go. I then asked her the most important question I had ever asked anyone in my entire life. “Megan, would I be out of line if I said I wanted us to take the next step? For us to go on for a long while…like, marriage? Down the line?”

Still crying and unable to make words, she nodded her head up and down repeatedly, and once again, buried her head into my chest. It seemed as if time had stopped, as if we hugged nonstop for an hour. She then said to me, “I want the exact same thing, Matt. I don’t want to lose you, I want us to be together forever. I want a marriage down the line too." When she said this, I began to have a few tears, and we hugged, once again. We both agreed that a marriage at this point would be silly, given our age. But in time, it would happen. Most couples say this, but they end up breaking off at some point. Not us. This was genuine, and I knew it would come to pass. She became very calm after our long chat, and we sorted out the last few details of our one year age difference. She knew, without me saying, that I would let nothing get in the way (girls in college) of us. But, she said she wanted me to have as much fun as possible, to not let a relationship prevent me from having a complete social college experience. I then told her the same thing, and that she should have as much fun as possible her senior year. I told her it was the best time of my life, and that it would be hers as well, especially because she’d only be a senior in high school once. 

We then looked up at the clock, where it read “2:45 am.” We did not intend to go that late in our discussion, but it was well worth it. I asked her if she wanted to sleep over, which she accepted. I had a day off from work that next day, but she had a shift from 2-5 at CVS that day. I told her I’d drive her to work, and pick her up, as I wanted to take her out to dinner at our favorite restaurant. As we cuddled and went to bed, I whispered to her, “so, does this get rid of all the stress.” She replied, “Yes. You have no idea, I’m 100% calm.” I replied, “I feel the same way.”

My freshman year of college was an absolute blast. Our school won the football national title (Alabama), and I made a lot of friends. Megan and I spent a lot of time together on weekends, where she would spend the weekend in Tuscaloosa or I would venture on back to Hoover. We had made it through my freshman year, making it two full years without ONE fight or argument/disagreement. As of 2010, Megan became a freshman at Alabama, where I am now a sophomore, and we are stronger than ever. We see each other nearly every day, and we cherish every second of it. As of today (2/6/11), we have gone 40 months without one fight, and are still as much in love as we have ever been, if not more. We do not plan to get married at a later date…we KNOW we will get married a few years after we both graduate, and are somewhat financially stable. 

I told her yesterday that I was planning on sharing our story with a bigger audience, and she thought it was a great idea. Most people think that a story like mine is only in fairytales. I have written this to show people that TRUE love, not love, but TRUE love, does exist. It takes time and effort, but when you are certain you have found the right match, you fight for it, and risk everything. Everything happens for a reason, and I was very upset to leave behind so much in Massachusetts. But, I lacked a purpose, and an identity. The move to Alabama happened for a reason. I met Megan for a reason. I realized who I was and I have become as good a person as I can be. I can never thank her enough for this. I truly am the luckiest man in the world. And for this, I am eternally grateful.