Friday, March 19, 2010

Love Story--Part 3 {Window of Sunshine}


Love Story Part 1 {At First Sight}

Love Story Part 2 {The Bubble Sheet}

Three things were to blame for my anxiety about whether Will liked Claire or me best. I was at fault for letting my love-stricken brain relentlessly analyze their every interaction. (He laughed at her joke--gasp!) Claire was an innocent, though mighty, cause for my distress because she was so sensible and unassuming in her beauty, making her even more attractive and threatening. But I hold Will guiltiest of all for being so slow to just love me already!

With all of us resistant to change, a single news wire began to reel across the undercurrent of my thoughts—-Man of Dreams Chooses Best Friend…Repeat: Man of Dreams Chooses Best Friend. It was my little secret, this big terror. I wouldn’t even admit my concerns to the pathetic pages of my “boy-crazy journal” for fear of publishing my worries into a reality. And yet while I desperately wanted Will to quickly extinguish my nightmares with the likes of hand-holding, sweet kisses and little speeches of love, I truly basked in our simple friendship.

I loved our ritual two-mile runs on the weeknights. Sometimes it was just us, but often we ran in a little pack with friends. On the weekends, Will could most often be found hanging with Claire and me since she and I were inseparable. We had too much in common and understood each other too well to not feel that God had purposely made us roommates. We translated this to mean we should be travel/study/do-everything-together mates, as well. I know Will didn’t mind the two-to-one ratio.

The three of us were easily entertained by the oddest things. I fondly remember a night of snacking on frozen grapes and memorizing songs packed with tongue-tying lyrics. Of course, as mature as we were back then, a food fight ensued, which was topped off with a round of us dancing in a triangle underneath the speckled glow of my prized disco ball.

Eventually, “boys out” curfew would crash our parties and we’d say goodnight to Will. Claire and I would wash our faces, put on our near-sighted glasses and matching pajama bottoms, climb atop our twin beds that sat high on cinder blocks, prop our pillows against the wall, pull our knees in tight and begin scribbling in our journals. We’d regularly disturb each other to discuss inside jokes, giggle and dream up the names of our future children. She knew how much I loved Will and would always say just the right things when I turned analytic.

“Don’t worry about it—he must like you!” she’d assure me. “Look at all the time he spends hanging around this place!”

I'll always consider those early months of friendship with Claire and Will as the brightest of my single life.

And then, one night after finishing up our eighth lap around the track, Will told me there was something he wanted to talk to me about--something he'd procrastinated for a long time.

“I really like you,” he said, sincerely. “But while I’ve dated lots of girls, I’ve never really had a girlfriend before.”

With a smile, I raised my right eyebrow at him.

“Really? You like me?” I quizzed. “I’ve never been able to be sure.”

“I’ve always liked you,” he smiled, “but wanted to make sure it was right before I pursued anything—I feel like as soon as we’re ready, it’s right.”

You’d think I’d be relieved at those words, and I was to some extent. But I also found myself struggling to digest the shocks. Shock number one: he’d never had a girlfriend!? It was obvious to me that this was by personal choice, which I found highly intimidating since I was only 18 years old with a history of many boyfriends. Second, I’d never given much thought to the “rightness” of dating a guy until it was well underway and hard to escape. This all brought me to the crashing conclusion that there was no way I was good enough for him, a guy so wise, thorough and thoughtful about doing the right thing. But I let those thoughts buzz in the background of my mind and focused on the positive.

“You know I like you,” I said lovingly. “You’d have to be dumb not to know that.”

Though I continued to worry that I didn’t measure up to him, from then on, I felt a sweet breeze as we approached college life together. On the outside, I kept my composure, but my insides couldn’t stop dancing, twirling—freaking out—that he liked me. I couldn’t kick the feeling that there was something so completely right about him. It didn’t all add up perfectly in my mind, but my spirit told me this was somehow the real deal. I just knew it was going to last. For three short weeks I bathed in this window of sunshine.

But all that warmth gave way to clouds when (as documented in Volume One of my “Boy-Crazy College Journal”) on December 5th he asked me how I thought things were going between us.

My cheeks went hot and my heart fevered. “Good," I told him, terrified for what might be coming.

“I hate that I’m feeling this way, but lately I just haven’t felt quite right about us dating right now,” he admitted. "I need to think about things a little more."

While he prayed and pondered, we continued on as before, but an awkward poison seeped in, and a week later, what had been blooming so beautifully withered, and we ended.

There were definitely quiet tears on my part, but I'm always fascinated by the calm presence of my journal entry that day:

“Well, Will did it. He broke up with me. It’s kind of funny…I was his first girlfriend and he was the first guy to break up with me. I wish I could remember everything he said because it was so perfect. I almost can’t believe how nice he was, and then I think I’m fooling myself; of course he’s going to be super nice about it. Nobody likes being the bad guy. He seemed sincere, though, and so I’m going to believe him, why not? …He did the run down of why I’m such a nice girl, gorgeous girl, and that it was nothing wrong with me. He hoped it was just a timing thing and that breaking up wouldn’t hurt our friendship… He didn't seem to want it to be over, but felt he had to listen to these promptings.

What kept me oddly content from then on was that I wanted Will to be true to his feelings. He kept his word, and we went on being friends for that last month of the semester, just as before. I wanted to believe it was just a timing thing, like he suggested—that maybe in a few months things could work out. But he soon transferred to a different school in a different state.

Aside from the memory of how sweetly he'd always speak to me--so vivid it was nearly audible, I didn't hear from him much for two and a half years.

18 comments:

  1. Crazy! This is fun. During those two years he was in one of my friends' wards (she and I lived next to each other our freshman year). I actually came across a picture from then with Will in it - we were all at some birthday party/dinner thing. I'll have to pull it out and show you. I'm anxious to hear how the story plays out...well, I know the ending...just not how you got there! =)

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  2. AUGH!! I have chills! I CANNOT WAIT for the rest. It's going to drive me NUTS.

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  3. What a story!!! It's crazy knowing that he broke up with you & even moved out of state AND you didn't talk for 2 1/2 years---and you still reunited, married, and had cute kiddos!!! Love the installments, Marie!

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  4. IT's so fun to hear people's love stories and see how great people are. It seems like you only read about these kinds of stories in the Ensign or in an Apostle biography... ... ... ...

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  5. Another cliff hanger. You must really have been meant for each other. I can't imagine how many other guys were putting the moves on you during those two and a half years. Still, I think Will was wise to give you a little growing up time.

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  6. Wow! What a story. I'm so glad to know it has a happy ending. Thanks for the fun read.

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  7. Marie, I know you are 9 months pregnant and all.
    But you CAN"T leave us hanging....
    Details...We need details!!

    Please feel free to write the next chapter in between contractions. :)

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  8. Way to leave everyone hanging!!!!! I love it! And I love that I already know the rest of the story (well, most of it), so I'm not hanging too much :) You are such a good writer! It makes me want to write "our story" too, but I know I couldn't do it as eloquently. Maybe you could help me :) You definately need to put that "Love Story" Jon Schmidt version song on here, it totally goes with this story.
    I can't believe it was 2 1/2 years though, until you heard from him again!
    Thank you for making it sound like you and Will wanted me there, and that I wasn't this annoying clingy thing that couldn't find her own guy :) It really does make it seem more real that you, me, and him were just all meant to be! You and me were meant to be roommates and BFF's, and you and him were meant to be together forever. I really do hope though, that I didn't get in the way of you two. I mean, I guess I didn't, that's obvious. But I really hope neither of you were like "Man, when is she going to leave, so we can make out?" :) Hee hee!! Love you guys!! Good luck with the baby! Do you know what her code blog name is going to be?

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  9. Reading your love story makes me want to write mine too - but I'm with Claire, I think I'd want your help! So glad you were able to finish up Part 3. I loved it!

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  10. Seriously?! I didn't know any of this... it is so great to read! I can't wait to read the next part.

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  11. Wow! I always wondered how you ended up at BYU. I remember you up at BYU-I too. Was it Will you were following or was it school??? You've got me on pins and needles again. ;)

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  12. I've loved reading your love story and without knowing how it all ends (well, except the part where you two get married) I absolutely LOVED that he felt prompted to give you some time and that he heeded (sp?) that prompting! I'm so impressed. I must confess I get a little protective of our young women who go off to college and are being pursued by RM's who just want to get married. I think that having a few years on her own is a very important season for a young lady to have. I hate to see a flower plucked before it's had the chance to open up and bloom. Can't wait to hear more.... (:

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  13. Oh my gosh Marie...I've never read these before!! I'm so glad I caught one of them on here so I could go read the others!!! So good. I can't wait to hear more!!

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  14. By the way, this is Scarlet:) I'm on my work computer haha.

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  15. These "Love Story" posts are so beautifully written! And I can't wait to read more of them. Just make sure you don't leave us hanging for too long ... not like you are going to have your hands full or anything sometime soon :) !!

    Hope the delivery goes well! Can't wait to hear that story, too!

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  16. what was he thinking waiting 2 1/2 years?!?! what a fun thing for us to read tho because we know that it has a happy ending!

    thanks for sharing - and writing it so well! you rock!

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  17. I know it turns out well, so I am remaining optimisitic but I am tempted to call and give him a piece of my mind. Come on hello, saying he doesn't think he should date my gorgeous and fabululous friend Marie right now.... completly unacceptable and if you weren't knocked up with his baby, I might have to challenge him to a dual or somehting!!!! :) Have you had that baby yet????

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  18. Marie Congrats on the new addition to your family and yes I returned hoping you had added another chapter to your love story only to be left hanging again :)

    Girl, seriously you need to be writing books! (and taking the cover photo:) You have a way with words. You draw the reader in and leave them wanting more.

    Tammy McGee Photography

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