Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Story of Us {Part Two}

So there I was.  It was the very end of August in 1999.  I had finished up my job, packed all my stuff up in a U-Haul trailer, thrown away my favorite couch because it was just too large to take back with me, and said all my good-byes to my Indiana friends (well, that wasn't too hard because there wasn't very many of them).  I wasn't in a hurry to get back to Minnesota.  I had plenty of money saved up and it's nice to have some time off between jobs.  I remember thinking it was kind of crazy, making a spur-of-the-moment trip to Branson to meet a boy.  I wasn't the boy-crazy type, but I had done some soul searching that year and decided that if an opportunity presented itself, that I would take advantage of the situation.  I had spent too many years patiently waiting for the boys I liked to like me back.  I wanted to get married and decided it wasn't a bad thing to put myself in positions where I might meet someone.  I know that's not much of a revelation for most people, but it was for me.

(Me parting with the most comfortable couch in the entire universe before I left Indiana.  I wish I would have kept it… isn't it lovely?)

I arrived at Niki's house and we got right to meeting Chris.  I was wearing denim shorts (Chris swears they were really short shorts, but they were NOT!), a grey v-neck t-shirt, and Birkenstock brown leather sandals.  I wanted to look cute, but definitely not like I cared too much.  We met in a soccer field on Kanakuk Kamp's property.  Niki came with baby Cole and we talked for a few minutes on the hill.  Small talk.  I remember he asked me the same question twice.  I thought he was nervous, but now I know he just does that.  I was slightly nervous, but Chris has a way of putting you at ease.

That weekend was a bit of a blur.  He was saying good-bye to people he had lived and shared life with for the last year.  I was in the way for all practical purposes, but he made me feel at ease.  He asked me out to the Friendship House for lunch, which is a restaurant run by the students at College of the Ozarks.  I had a hamburger and fries.  He had chili.  We went running together once.  I thought we had great conversation on both occasions.  If you know Chris, you know he just might be the easiest person to talk to in the whole world.  He can make anyone feel comfortable.  So for the first time, maybe ever, I was comfortable around a boy.

(Chris with his mentor couples in Branson, the ones who were making fun of us)
Shane and Niki, where are you in this picture?

(Our first photo together:  Notice the awkward arm position… arm around me, but not touching me).

The culmination of the weekend was at our friend's house the last night I was there.  We were there with several married couples.  They were trying to get us together… with no tact at all.  Leaving us in the room together on purpose, dimming the lights while we were talking, lighting candles.  The funny thing is that it really wasn't awkward.  We just laughed about it, and continued in our conversation.

The whole weekend, except for the jog and the lunch at the Friendship House, was spent with our friends.  We didn't spend much time alone.  There was no defining talk to close the deal.  When Chris was driving away toward Dallas, we met him at Sonic to see him off.  He had his stuff packed in the car.  He did ask for my information just before he left.  I got out my checkbook, tore out my deposit slip (which anyone knows has your current information on it), and then turned it over to the back and wrote my parent's address and phone number.  Neither one of us had a cell phone at this time.  I was just covering my bases.  He could decide to write or call soon when I was still in Indiana… or later when I was in Minnesota.  He, on the other hand, didn't figure in the fact that my current information was on the front side of the slip and thought that I didn't want him to call me for at least a couple weeks, until I was back in Minnesota.  Oops.

(Me with baby Cole at Sonic saying good-bye to Chris)

So he drove away thinking that I was a cool girl, but that he'd never see me again.  I wasn't sure what he would do.  I had a long history of lots of first dates, lots of guys who were initially interested but then never called again.  I thought it went well.  But maybe he was just being friendly all weekend.  My emotions weren't in this thing yet.  But I definitely wanted to hear from him again.

I don't recall much about the drive home.  But I do recall when I got back to Indiana, and I was debriefing with my friend, Niki, about the weekend, that I decided that I was going to call him.  When I thought back on the weekend, I recalled that I had done a majority of the talking.  He was so good at asking questions and getting to know me, that I didn't know as much about him.  Also, he was SO friendly, sweet, kind, and considerate.  I knew about myself that I can have the tendency to NOT come across that way.  Lots of people have told me that they didn't like me when they first met me… they thought I was unfriendly, snobby, etc.  I thought it was a good excuse to call him.  To apologize if I might have come across as cold or uninterested.  And what did I have to lose really?  He was all the way in Texas.  And I was on my way to Minnesota.  We were a thousand miles apart.

And so I did it.  I called him first.

To be continued…

You can read part one of The Story of Us here.


Kathryn Hinkle said...

So cute!!! Enjoying hearing y'alls love story! :)

Rebecca Thomas said...

I'm loving this. Justin's friends intentionally left us alone in a room together too. They were all standing in the very small kitchen around the corner and I'm still not sure how they stayed in there for so long. So crazy.

Sarah said...

Love this! (I LOVE that sofa too!)