Monday, July 14, 2008

My Very Own Love Story pt 6

In the fall, we started our Senior year. New Guy and I continued to "date". I know. The only explanation I have is that it was fun to have a date to all the Sr. stuff. Other than that, I'm not sure why we stayed together. I don't think either of us were that in to it.

Despite my ongoing relationship with NG, Honey and I kept in touch. He was working at the bookstore that year and so every once in a while I would get a postcard he'd dropped in the mail while working. He called every couple of weeks or so. In between postcards and phone calls, we'd write letters. It was nice finding our way back to friendship after being estranged for so long.

A couple of days before the spring semester began, NG and I "broke up". I was sad for a while, but I started student teaching and began planning for graduation. That seemed to ease my sadness.

That semester was THE spiritual turning point in my life. I truly learned what it means to surrender all to Jesus. I came to terms with the fact that I was going to graduate from college a single female . . . with no impending marriage . . . no man to take care of me. I was OK with that. I was willing to stay single as long as it took, maybe even forever. I was in covenant relationship with God, confident in my abilities, and excited about what God had in store for me.

One Saturday, towards the end of April, I took my teaching exit test. (I don't remember the particular acronym now . . . the ECET, the EXET, something or other . . . ) Whatever the acronym, it was a grueling 2 part test that took, literally, all day. It wasn't really hard per se, but it started at 7:00 that morning and lasted until 4:00 or so that afternoon. We probably had a lunch break in there somewhere, but I really don't remember. I just remember thinking, how many more questions are there?

I'd gotten out of bed that morning, put on the first comfortable pair of sweats I could find and thrown my hair in a ponytail. I'm not even sure I washed the makeup off of my face from the night before. I'm sure I was a sight. The test giver was probably just as horrified to look at me from 7:00 to 4:00 that day as I was to sit at that desk with my #2 pencil for that long. We were all ready for the day to be over.

On the way home I was looking forward to a long shower and a quiet evening. One of my roomies was gone for the weekend and the other was going to a spring formal. I just had to get home, help her get dressed, take some pictures of her and her date, and my duties for the day would be over. At most I was going shopping to find a dress for graduation. But that could be put off until Sunday afternoon if I wanted.

We lived on one side of a duplex on a street lined with duplexes. Across the street was an all but abandoned shopping center. The parking lot served as extra parking spaces for the college kids that lived 3 and 4 per side of each duplex. There was never parking available in the driveways. We always had to park across the street. The parking lot always resembled a used car lot, but every car was familiar.

As long as I live I will never forget turning the corner into the parking lot. There was something different about it. Almost immediately I saw a gold truck. My stomach flipped, my heart raced. Honey's gold truck was practically in my driveway! What in the world!?

I was shaking as I opened the door to the house. And there he was, sitting on my couch, smiling that smile. I was surprised, no, shocked. "Hey! What are you doing?" I asked with a nervous giggle.

"I came to see you," he answered.

About that time my roommate, Cat, appeared. She was way beyond proud of the little surprise she'd helped pull off. "You knew about this, didn't you?" I asked.

"Of course. How do you think he got in the house?" she answered with a smile. I made them tell me every single detail about how they'd pulled this little surprise off. When I was satisfied that I knew everything, Cat asked, "I just put a run in my panty hose, do you mind going to Walmart and getting me another pair? I've got to finish my hair."

Still not quite myself yet, I said, "Sure." I didn't know what to do. Surely Honey didn't want to go panty hose shopping, but I didn't have another solution. Then turning to Honey I asked, "Do you want to come with?"

He answered, "I'll do whatever you want me to do. I'm here to see you."

So we drove the few blocks to Walmart, picked up 2 pair of hose . . . just in case, and headed back to the house. It wasn't long until Cat was gone and we were alone. By that time I'd come to my senses and realized how I must have looked. I sheepishly suggested that Honey go grab us some fast food for dinner while I took a shower. I didn't plan on looking like I'd just rolled out of bed when the man of my dreams had driven 2 hours to possibly sweep me off my feet into my happily ever after.

When he returned with dinner, I was more comfortable with how I looked. I was eager to spend some time with Honey without the cloud of "dating someone else" or " dorm fire" or "distance" hanging over our heads. We ate together, and as we talked the months of being apart melted away. He relived the chaos of the months after the fire. He told me about his time in Germany. I filled him in on the summer at Blue Haven. We shared our excitement about graduation and job possibilities. He told me that he was returning to Blue Haven for one more summer before he started a "real job". I shared that I was planning on spending the summer at home, applying for jobs.

I told him about my spiritual growth over the last semester. I told him that I'd been applying all over the state for teaching positions and was allowing God to direct my path. I planned on going wherever He sent me.

At some point after dinner, Honey asked me what my plans were for the evening.

"I didn't really have much of a plan. I was thinking about going to the mall. I need a dress for graduation. I'm sure that's the last thing you wanted to do when you decided to visit, go dress shopping."

"I don't care what we do," he repeated, "I came to see you. I'll go dress shopping with you."

So we went. Because there wasn't anything else to do in my small college town. I'm a pretty decisive shopper. We went to one store and Honey helped me pick out about 5 dresses that fit the criteria I was looking for. I tried on each one while Honey sat in the plush chairs outside the dressing rooms. I showed him every dress but he was no help. He liked them all. I eventually picked one and we headed to the shoe department.

We really did have fun shopping together. It only took an hour or so to put my ensemble together. After that we strolled around the mall for a while. It was so easy spending time with him. The only awkwardness came because before, when we first dated, we would have been holding hands while we strolled the mall. This time we weren't sure exactly where in the relationship we were, so we went out of our way to keep from touching. Even though all I really wanted was for him to grab my hand or wrap me up in a bear hug, the way he used to.

Everything felt like it used to. The conversation was easy, trusting each other felt natural, the sparks were there, just like before. Accept things weren't the same. We were different than we'd been two years earlier. We'd grown and matured, and we both knew that if we got back together, it could very well be forever. I don't think either of us wanted to mess it up. Both of us seemed to want to take it slow.

After the mall, we went back to my place to wait up for Cat. We continued to share and catch up until it was late. I was tired, he had a 2 hour drive ahead of him. We decided to call it a night. As I walked him to the door, all thoughts of "taking it slowly" were gone. I ached for a hug, to be in his arms, to remember how it felt.

He seemed to need the same thing because he finally did wrap his arms around me. It was wonderful, just like I remembered it. I wanted the moment to last forever. Right before he pulled away, he hesitated only a second before he tenatively kissed me goodnight.

In that one moment I was only sure about one thing: someday, we'd be together permanently.


Jennifer said...

yay!! it's getting happy again :)

SJ said...

*sigh* I really love reading all of this. It's interesting to look back with 11 years of maturity added to the view.

(but I have to admit that it's also bittersweet, as it makes me think of all the idiotic choices I made during that time)

Misty said...

Ahh... that moment when you know for sure. Those are really great God moments... It's like He lets you in on a little secret!

Cheri said...

It gives me chills to read your story!! Even though we all know how it ends, I can't wait to read the in between part!!!

Jen said...

I am totally hooked! I love this story!!! What a great idea to write it all down :)

Cindy-Still His Girl said...