Fall at the Bloomington Farmers' Market

I don’t think many people know this story.

When I was a senior in college, I was dating a very nice guy who lived in Oregon. He was perhaps the first nice guy I had ever dated. My mom asked if I would want to go down to Bloomington to the Farmers’ Market about a week before my fall break when I had planned a trip out to visit him and surprise him for his birthday.

We walked past a booth and I saw this beautiful and unique bouquet. It was twenty dollars, and being a college student, there wasn’t much that I spent twenty dollars on. We walked around the entire Farmers’ Market about three times, and on the third time around, this tiny old man from the flower stand, grabbed the bouquet and put it in my hands. He started telling me the names of the flowers in English and in Latin, and I came to two realizations:

1.) I realized that I was more in love with that man than I was with the guy I was dating because he was teaching me something.

2.) I realized that the only person I had ever meet who had been able to keep up with me intellectually (and surpass me intellectually) was Ries.

Ries and I had been best friends for a little over a year by this point (and had known each other for two years), but we had put our friendship on pause out of respect for our significant others. So I sent him the first message I’d sent in a couple months:

“I’m going out to Oregon to break up with _______. When I get back, I would like to speak with you.”

I did go out to Oregon. I drove down to visit said boyfriend on his birthday and coincidentally after convincing myself not to break up with him on his birthday, I got out of the car and he said, “I don’t think this is working.” I agreed, we went out to get sushi, and I haven’t seen him since.

When I got back, I messaged Ries and told him that I was in love with him, and I didn’t care if he was in love with me or not, I was going to wait it out and stick around as a friend until he told me the situation had changed and he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship. Six months later we started dating. Two weeks after that he put a ring on it. About two months later we were married. (Thank you, Marine Corps.)

Every time I go to the Bloomington Farmers’ Market, I get all the feelings. (The booth was Harvest Moon Flower Farm—the first photo is of a bouquet I bought this year.)