5 Years Ago Today …

I know I’m on a blog hiatus, but today is very special for me, and I COULDN’T pass this up.

Today is my 5-year anniversary with my life’s love, Oscar. And I couldn’t resist sharing our story with you.

First off, no … we’re not married yet. But we live life committed like we’re married, because in our hearts, that’s the truth. So, if you have five minutes, here’s our story. Because as writers, life’s all about stories. 🙂

MySpace and Some Guy Named ‘Bhatti’

My story with Oscar starts before we actually met, when my friends talked me into joining MySpace (yes, you heard me correctly).

At the time, I was living in a small town away from friends and family, working as a reporter on a small newspaper, struggling with a horrible, unexpected break-up. MySpace, they said, would help me stay connected and vent my frustrations (thus my first introduction to the almighty BLOG).

“I don’t want to connect with anyone I don’t know,” I protested.

To which, they said, “Keep your profile private.”

So I did. And no one bothered me, until a few months later. One day, I logged into my account to find a random message from someone named “Bhatti.”

Hi Shari,

I see on your profile you only want to connect with friends you know, so I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. My name is Mike, and several months ago, you wrote an article for 944 Magazine on my best friend, Brad. Your writing is absolutely amazing and I’d been trying to find you ever since reading that article. My older sister is a writer, so I know good writing when I see it.


Curious, I wrote back and quickly discovered Mike attended the same church as several friends, and we knew many of the same people from high school (despite attending different schools). I even befriended Mike’s sister (you may recall her from an older guest post, writing professor Renee Ronika Klug).

Running Shoes and Stuffed Animals

Mike and I had fun hanging out sporadically the next few months. And one day, I received an email from him:

Mike was travelling to a Mexican orphanage with his church, and needed toys or clothes for the children.

Right away, I ran to my closet and gathered every stuffed animal from my old boyfriend, who was now engaged to another girl. I stuffed three garbage bags full of toys, and called Mike. Ridding my home of those stuffed animals felt freeing, and I couldn’t help but smile.

When I followed up with Mike three weeks later about the trip, “You won’t believe this,” he told me. “I sent that email to 300 people, and only two donated. You, and another guy. He gave me his old running shoes.”

Then Mike paused. “Come to think of it … you’re both Jewish, too.”

“Really?” I thought the coincidence was funny.

“Yes, his name is Oscar.”

‘I don’t want to meet any guys.’

I wasted no time telling Mike I had “absolutely no interest” in meeting any guys. I didn’t trust them, and wanted nothing to do with them.

“Not like that,” he said. “You guys are a lot alike and I think you’d make great friends. He went through a break-up only six months ago, too. Trust me, he feels the same way about girls.”

Reluctantly, I told Mike he could give my number to Oscar, but he should wait a few weeks. I was about to leave on vacation for Portland to visit my best friend.

Apparently, Mike listened, because a week after the trip, my phone rang while at work. Rushing to meet a deadline, I sent the call to voice mail, checking it later that evening. And behold, a deep male voice spoke to me from an automated system.

Five Hours on the Phone

I didn’t call Oscar until the next day. And I never expected what happened next. We talked on the phone for five hours!

We had the same sense of humor, liked the same foods, loved the same movies, grew up in the same city. He lived through a similar break-up, around the same time, and even read one of my articles that Mike sent to him.

“You’re such a great writer,” he’d said.

(An interesting note: How ironic that MY WRITING brought us together, first alluring Mike, who connected me to Oscar.)

Oscar and I met in person a week later, when he travelled north to Prescott, Ariz., training for a half marathon. But we didn’t like each other more than friends initially.


It took another six months of friendship before the sparks flew. And it all boiled down to a dinner at Native New Yorker.

That was the first night my core dropped as I watched him walk through that door.

Our simultaneous crushes grew—as did our bond—and on Feb. 24, 2007, we officially started dating. Less than a month later, we took our first trip together, to Guatemala. The rest, as they say, is history …

Happy 5-Year Anniversary Oscar! I Love You!

I’m so glad I was able to shout it from the virtual mountaintop. 🙂

TO MY READERS: Thank you for taking a few minutes to share in this special story and moment with me. I wish I’d had more time this week to develop a truly narrative story, but maybe next time–in a literary magazine!

* I’m still on my blog hiatus, so I’ll see you all again in another few weeks!