Friday, July 11, 2008

My Very Own Love Story pt 5

Today is our 10th Anniversary! I can't believe it's already been a decade. It's been so fun walking down memory lane with you this week. Several of you have encouraged me to write our story, but I was hesitant to share with the whole www.

I've only touched tip of the iceberg when it comes to recounting the wonderful memories of our courtship, but I've given you enough that I think you get the picture. And, I've saved enough that I still feel like the biggest piece of the story is just for Honey and I to know and enjoy. Plus, you know how the story ends.

My original intent was to wrap this sappy story up today, but as the writing has progressed, I see it will take a few more posts. So, I'll try to finish up by the middle of next week. Enjoy part 5.

* * *
I tried for weeks to call Honey, but he wouldn't take my calls. After the fire, he'd moved off campus and his former roommate wouldn't tell me how to find him. When we broke up, I told him I thought he needed some space to figure some things out. I guessed this was how it was going to be, space, in the worst way.
I went home for Christmas break and hoped that a month back in his beloved New Mexican mountains would help him see things as less complicated and he'd be ready to at least speak to me. A couple of days after I got home, I was checking the mail at my parents house and found a book. As I retreived it, there was nothing to let me know who it was from or how it had gotten there. Just a Christmas tag reading " TO: Jenni, FROM: ". So, he was still thinking of me. It had to be from Honey.
He must have been on his way home for the holidays. I waited a couple of days thinking that he would call and explain the gift, but he didn't. So I called him. He wasn't home, but I had a nice visit with his mom. She promised to tell him I'd called.
That evening, he returned my call. He didn't want to, but, bless her heart, his mom made him. She insisted. It was a matter of being polite. The conversation was short. I thanked him for the book. We talked about how nice it was to have a break from school, all the small talk stuff you talk about when you're having a forced conversation for the sake of politeness.
I was dying to know, so I made myself ask, "Are you going back to camp this summer?"
"I don't know. There are still some things up in the air," he answered.
"Oh, well, I'm going back. I hope you go, too. It wouldn't be the same without you."
"Yeah, well, I've gotta go."
That was it. I didn't hear from him again the rest of Christmas break. Or in January, or in February. In March, I got the list of names, pictures, and biographies of the counselors that would be working at CBH for the summer and Honey's name wasn't there. So, he wasn't going back to camp. I told myself the same thing I'd been telling myself since we circled the wagons for the very first time, "If it's meant to be, God will make it happen in His time."
In May, a few days before school was out, he called. He wanted me to know that he was leaving soon for Germany. He'd be there for 6 weeks doing mission work with the Let's Start Talking program. He would be home in time for the 4th of July, well before camp was scheduled to be over. He wanted to exchange addresses so that we could write. I was ecstatic and agreed to keep in touch by mail through the summer.
It takes for-evah for letters to go from the US to Germany and back again. We did manage to get a few back and forth before his 6 weeks was up, but not as many as we would have liked. The summer at camp was very different than the last year had been. Only 3 counselors from the year before had returned. Among the new counselors was a guy from my school. We'd known each other casually at FCU, but got to know each other better as we worked together at camp. We began, sort of, dating. Or maybe I should say "dating", because I'm not sure it qualified as dating. Honestly, it was the weirdest feeling ever, dating someone else at camp. Someone that wasn't Honey. He was New Guy. It was just all a little. . .off.
When the campers would arrive each session I had a blast seeing my girls from the year before and catching up with their lives. They almost always asked about Honey and I. I would share the news that we'd broken up and they were disappointed.
By 4th session, New Guy was sick to death of hearing about Honey. Everyone - campers, teachers, and kitchen staff all seemed to mourn the fact that Honey and I weren't dating anymore. That was also weird. New Guy thought everyone needed to get a life.
About half way through 4th session, I was making my way back to my cabin after morning chores. A couple of my girls from the year before came running and squealing (they were Jr. High age, so you can imagine the squealing) headed straight for me.
"Jeeeee - nnnnnniiiii!" "Jenni, Jenni, Jennnnni!" "YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHO WE JUST SAW!"
"I have no idea."
I was shocked. I truly wasn't expecting him to come to camp. What was I going to do? My heart began to race. I hadn't seen him since the afternoon we broke up. With as much calm as I could muster, I answered the giddy girls, "Well, thanks for warning me. Y'all have to go to Bible class and I have to go to counselor meeting. I'll let you now how it goes."
Honey was in the office when I arrived for counselor meeting. We greeted each other with a tenative hug and an awkward silence. "Good morning," he smiled. The awkwardness melted away.
"Hey," I smiled back, "How was your trip? I can' t believe you're already home."
Behind me, someone cleared his throat. "I'm New Guy, you must be Honey."
"Yeah, it's good to meet you."
"Yeah, you too. Hey, Jen, I'm going in to the meeting. I'll save you a seat."
"OK, thanks," I replied. I turned to Honey, the awkwardness suddenly back.
"So, that's the guy?" he asked.
"Yeah, we've been going out some this summer," I answered. "Hey, I'd love to visit more, but I've got to go to this meeting."
"Sure, I understand. It's good to see you."
"It's good to see you, too," I replied as I turned to go.
When the meeting was over, he was gone. New Guy invited me for a walk, but I declined. I needed to be alone. I hid out in my cabin until Chapel. I hoped Honey would show up there, but he didn't. After rest time that afternoon was recreation. I was assigned to the Arts and Crafts cabin. New Guy had traded with someone and he was working there, too. Arts and crafts isn't usually very busy unless it's raining. That afternoon the sun was shining, but some clouds were rolling in. Even still, we were a little slow.
Ten minutes after rec started, Honey walked into the craft cabin. Memories from the previous summer flooded my mind.
"Do you have a minute?" he asked me.
I looked at New Guy wondering if he could handle the light crowd alone for a few minutes. I never stopped to wonder if he minded if the girl he was dating (or "dating") went off and talked alone with her ex-boyfriend. He seemed indifferent, so I left the cabin with Honey.
He had parked his gold truck on the road just outside. "Wow, I didn't know you got a truck. What happened to your car?"
"I upgraded," he smiled easily. I loved that smile.
"So you had a good time in Germany?" I asked.
"It was hard. I was lonely, but I really connected with some of my students. I loved working with them. I brought you something," he handed me a small package wrapped in white tissue paper.
Taken by surprise, I looked deeply into his eyes, for the first time since we'd broken up, trying to read what he was thinking, "You brought me something from Germany?"
"It's not much. But I wanted you to know that I thought about you while I was over there. Thanks for writing me."
I opened the gift. It was a miniature schoolhouse. I'm sure my face lit up. Not so much because of what the gift was, but because he'd just said that he thought about me all the way over in Germany. "Thanks, I love it." It began to sprinkle rain.
"I thought of you when I saw it, since you're going to be a teacher. You're welcome."
Just then, as if to say "time's up", it began to rain in earnest. Campers started running for cover in the craft cabin. Most wanted to stay dry while they waited for rec to be over. I gave him a quick hug and thanked him again for the gift. "I better get back in there. It'll be crazy with all the kids," I reluctantly said.
Just as reluctantly he said, "Have a great rest of the summer."


The Binkley Family said...

Please tell me that you have some pictures you can scan in of you two ten years ago!!!!

SJ said...

Yes! You've GOT to post some pics!

You're such a good writer, too!

Jennifer said...

oh this story reminds me of my dating experience...

I am so enwrapped in your love story! But the last two posts have made me sad :( lol i'm waiting for it to be a happy again!

Jenni at talking hairdryer said...

Oh, I have pictures. I just don't have a scanner :( I would totally be sharing pics along with this story if I had one. There are some great ones.

Shelly said...

Happy anniversary!! I was remembering how beautiful your wedding was...and how grateful I am that you didn't fall when I straightened your train!

Still enjoying the story! Can't wait for tomorrow!

The Binkley Family said...

Here is what you do. Take those pics to CVS and have them burned to a CD. It is pretty inexpensive.

Misty said...

well... you could always go old school and take photos OF the pictures... :)

I am so swept up in this story.

Mommy Cracked said...

*sigh* I'm just loving this story! I can't wait to hear the rest of it. Now I've got that song from Grease stuck in my head..."Summer lovin', had be a blast...."

Jen said...

Alright, I'm hooked to this story and although we obviously know how it ends, I wanna hear more! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!