Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Very Own Love Story pt. 4

That fall was a wonderfully difficult season. It was hard coming home from camp. I was not the same person I was 10 weeks earlier. God had come down and met me on the mountain so many times. When God meets you, it's impossible to come away unchanged.

The only person that understood the change in me was Honey. He'd been there for most of it. He'd even experienced the changes himself. We all had. And with September upon us, we were faced with fitting back in to our old lives only to find that we didn't fit in the same way we once had. It was wonderful to be transformed. It was hard to be changed.

Honey was in the midst of his busiest semester yet. He had many commitments and obligations from club, to outside organizations, to 18 hours of course work, to keeping in touch with me. We tried to see each other every other weekend. Mostly, he would come to see me. Since we were the last generation to live without e-mail, texting, and myspace, we became experts at writing letters. We cherished the expensive long distance phone calls. Even though it was stressful, and we loved spending time with each other, our relationship grew leaps and bounds that semester because we were forced to talk, and write, and listen without the pressures of kissing, and holding, and touching too much.

The first weekend in November, I was headed home to spend the weekend with my family. I'd invited Honey to join me, but he'd decided to stay in town, hang with his friends, and catch up on some rest. It was the first weekend he'd spent in town all semester. I stopped in and saw him on my way. I met him in the lobby of his dorm and we talked there for a few minutes.

When I got to the dorm, he had a calendar he'd just bought. It had pictures of the wildlife and mountain views in Montana. We spent the better part of our conversation looking at the pictures and dreaming about visiting there some day. "Will you go there with me?" he asked. "Would you ever live up there?"

Surprised and warmed by such talk of the future and how permanent it could be, I said, "Sure, I'll go there with you . . . someday."

Our conversation ended on that note and I headed home. That evening while I was watching the 10 o'clock news with my parents, the phone rang. It was Honey, he had something to tell me.

He asked me to sit down.

He told me that his dorm was on fire.

He hadn't been there when it started, but he and his buddies had been over there and it didn't look good. No one was hurt, but the fire started on his floor and it looked like there would be very little left. He wanted me to know that he was safe in case I'd heard about it already.

Of course I spent the rest of the weekend waiting to hear from him, to find out what he knew . . . which wasn't much. All he had was the clothes on his back and whatever the community had donated to help get them through the first few days.

Mom and I skipped church Sunday morning and went shopping. We bought clothes, bedding, toiletries, and whatever else we could think of that might be needed. Some was meant for Honey, and some was to give to whoever needed them. We loaded up Mom's suburban and she followed me to Honey's town.

I wasn't sure where to find Honey (remember, no cell phones back then). I decided to start looking at his dorm. We arrived just as they were letting the guys back in the dorm for the first time. They were all anxious to see the damage to their rooms. Being a girl, I was feeling all dramatic and only wanted to hug Honey and see with my own eyes that he was OK. When we found him he was OK, but distant. I got a side hug . . . barely.

It was awkward. I felt like an outsider. All the guys and the students that were friends were rallying around each other, and I didn't really have a connection with any of them, except Honey.

We delivered our stuff, and Honey appreciated it. And then, I drove back to school.

The next weekend, I went back to visit. He was sick, probably from cleaning and washing and salvaging all week in a smoke filled building. He was glad to see me, but distant.

Phone calls replaced letters, and those were . . . distant. He just kept saying that he was confused and that he needed to be with the people there at his school, the people that were going through the same stuff, the people that understood. He needed space, so I kept my distance.

Distance. . .

distance. . .

distance.

By the time I was headed home for Thanksgiving break I was tired of the distance. The physical distance that kept us 2 hours away from each other was hard enough, but the emotional distance was much harder to deal with. I wanted to be the bright spot in his day. I wanted to be the one to bear the burdens with him. I wanted to be the one he looked forward to talking to. But I felt like an obligation. I felt like something to be marked off a to-do list. I felt like I was adding to his burdens.

I prayed about what to do. I agonized over it. My roommates and I analyzed it to ad nauseam. Honey seemed happy to be distant. I needed him to share his burdens. Honey needed space. I needed to feel needed. Ultimately, I felt like the best thing was to give him some time to figure out whatever it was that he needed to figure out. Thanksgiving weekend on my way back to school, I broke up with him.

He was gracious, but he was angry. I wanted to talk on the phone every now and then, he would have none of it. I was heartbroken.

7 comments:

SJ said...

Oh, the fire. The FIRE. That was a hard time and I felt so bad for you. Makes my heart sink just thinking about it now. Sorry I wasnt a better friend during that time.

javamamma said...

Sheesh, this is an unexpected twist.

Rosheeda said...

It can be so irksome the differences in the male & female species. So irksome. Can't wait to read more. I'm lovin this story.

Misty said...

why is it that every great marriage had a tragic breakup before hand??? we sure have a way of complicating things!

Cheri said...

Every relationship has that nasty break-up somewhere!!!!

Jen said...

Oh man! After reading the last one and then this? Sad :(

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

NOOOOOOO!