(background music: Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man)
The following statements are true. My name is Daniel James Araujo.
I go to college at SDCC and I am studying English and I also play soccer.
I am about to be 20 in a couple of months and I have only had one job that lasted 8 months.
I barely remember getting a 4.0 in middle school, an A minus on one of my papers in high school and I also passed Empowered Reading last semester with an A, where we learned exactly that: empowered reading.
I like to play video games for extended amounts of time, I still have my Gameboy with a Silver version and on Saturday mornings I like to start my day with reruns of Hey Arnold and Friends.
I also have a mild obsession with dragons, Avatar the Last Airbender, Spider Man and Harry Potter.
I drink tea, I can quote Elf, and I drive a van.
On another note, I run a couple of miles every now and then, I lift weights when I remember to and I’d rather be at the beach than at soccer practice.
In short, I am an average guy doing less than average things.
(cue music) But sometimes the extraordinary happens to me:
Like one time, when I liked this girl that was way out of my league.
When I first talked to her, I got nervous and started sweating in places I didn’t know I could sweat and I then I told her that I couldn’t be her friend because she wasn’t on my flag football team.
Then friend requesting her later on Myspace, apologizing in a comment.
I remember when she called me, how excited I was when her name appeared on the caller id, then answering and it was actually her best friend calling me asking which aisle the ice cream was at Costco.
I remember my limit of 150 text messages per month, counting ingoing and outgoing texts, that was utterly destroyed by the 5000 texts I did in that one week to her, only to find out later that our conversation had been deleted, instead of saving it, like I had.
Then at youth group, our youth pastor asked us to form a circle and I quickly sped my way right next to her so that we could hold hands for prayer. I prayed for a lot of things that night. Nice.
Also later, I remember her introducing the guy she brought to youth group as her boyfriend. Sweet.
Even then, when I said goodbye, I remember giving her an extra squeeze when I hugged her while his back was turned.
I wish I could forget that night, staring at the ceiling a little more than hopeless.
But I could never forget the time that I went to youth camp that was three hours away; I told my best friend that it would be more fun if he sat in the front seat, next to my dad, so he could pick the music for me while I sat in the middle seat next to her.
And then, while I was at camp, I faked being really, really sad, during an emotional campfire moment, just so I could have an extra long hug and get my back rubbed.
Another time when I made her my first pick for flag football and ended up losing.
I remember my secret joy when I saw that she put me in her top 8 instead of the other guy.
And again, my texting bill reached 200$. I remember that.
Then later when we sat by each other in the movies, I was so nervous and couldn’t stop worrying about HOW I was gonna hold her hand, that I didn’t at all.
Finally, a while later, linking her small pinky with mine, in secret and excitement.
Then one time that I once ditched my math class so that I could drive my friend’s car from school to Taco Bell down the road, pick up a quesadilla with no sauce, drive to her private school across town and almost get the cops called on me while I was delivering the food.
Then finally getting unlimited texts.
The late nights falling asleep with the lamp on finishing a letter to her.
The two hour phone conversations that made me late for school the next day.
Making sure to text her good morning, every morning.
Making us Facebook official to finally holding her hand, for reals.
And on Valentine’s day, when I rushed into class room, fearful of cops again, quickly handing her a single rose on bended knee and telling her those fateful, three words for the first time.
Our anniversary, spent at my house.
Our two year anniversary, when I could finally drive, a picnic in the park.
And our three year, that was spent apart.
Looking back, almost four years later, I remember thinking that was the most I could feel for person.
Now, it is more than I thought it could be and then some.
But the crazy thing is, I will be saying that tomorrow, too.
“There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden.”
To perseverance, to romance, to love.