I first ‘met’ Matthew in his sister’s letters. He was the cheeky little brother and his nickname was Moo.
Since our families lived over a thousand kilometres apart, Matthew had grown into a thoughtful but still fun young man (who no longer answered to Moo) by the second time I met him in-person.
His family are one of those rare and wonderful, extra-friendly and welcoming sort. What to do though when your friends are so far away? Matt and his siblings came up with the solution of Messenger groups to gather in friends from near and far.
And so the stage was set for Anna. Matthew’s sister Carrie happened to attend an event where Anna was also in attendance and quickly formed the opinion that Anna would make an excellent addition to the ‘Speak Life’ social chat and a smaller chat with Matthew, some siblings and one or two friends.
Chatting was fun but before a four full moons had come and gone, Matthew decided it wasn’t enough. He just had to meet this girl. In the course of conversation, he discreetly elicited from Anna the name and whereabouts of her church. That should be an innocent enough way to meet, right? He prepared alibis to in case she was suspicious of the fact that her church was hours from his usual stomping grounds.
And so it happened. One Sunday, Anna involuntarily turned her head to see who had walked into church, as one often does in such places. Her jaw dropped at the sight. There was Matthew. The young man she knew online only but was secretly crazy about.
Matthew did his best to remain cool and collected.
“Hi Anna, I’m Matthew’s doppelganger,” he nervously chuckled, referencing a comment Anna had made on chat once when she claimed to have seen such a person.
Anna stammered back, “How did you get here?!”
“I drove.” The laughter came easily and suddenly they realised everyone else had begun singing.
Anna’s parents invited Matthew home for lunch, just as he had hoped.
Things were going to plan. But the detail Matthew was unsure about was their ages. They were both teens. Why was it such a long time until he could claim this sweet girl as his bride? If she’d have him, that was. Somehow though, the sweet dimpled smile and the twinkle in her eye sparked hope that she might. But for now, he’d have to wait.
Finally around her 18th birthday, Matthew had ‘the talk’ with Anna’s parents. The answer? Wait. Six months to be precise. Ohhh. More waiting! Not what he’d wanted. But he was willing, willing to do anything to make this Anna, his Anna.
So the friendship continued: Matthew invited Anna to join family and friends on camping trips and Anna invited Matthew to attend the political events she attended where she became Vice Chair. Then always too there were those chats.
Finally the six months were over. Had Matthew counted down this day? I’ll let him decide whether to admit he had. Now he could ask Anna to be his girlfriend. The smiles of delight and agreement couldn’t have been wider and more heartfelt.
Nine months later, Matthew asked Anna to be his bride. “YES, one hundred times yes!” was the reply!
And so I had the privilege of meeting Matthew once again. This time not deep in the Snowy Mountain region, but instead at the beautiful Lavendula Swiss Italian Farm not far from Daylesford, Victoria. Not as Matthew’s older sisters’ friend, but as cheerleader and artist to sketch his love story with Anna, capturing their dreams come true.