Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What Do You Make Of This?

My husband and I met almost a year prior to when I married him. My room mate was his  girlfriend and I was moving out of town.
Four months later, my room mate was marrying the guy she met a few weeks before I moved and her now ex-boyfriend was dating my new room mate. 7 months later, Erik and I finally got it right. The story of how we found each other is still up for debate between us. I, of course, remember the friendship we built, the pull we always had for one another and the broken hearts and sacrifices we made to make our fairy tale come true. I'm a romance writer. How else would I remember it?
He remembers what I wore the first time I met him, the trips to Java Juice, and the 100 mile round trips he made, in the middle of the night, to hang out with me.
The one thing we can both agree on is the night everything changed for us.
One weekend in July, my room mate-his girlfriend-and I went boating at Lake Powell with some other people our age. We were only gone for two days but my room mate really missed her man and so we returned and went to his apartment and spent the entire night hanging out with him and his room mates. The problem...her man was not her boyfriend. He was another guy she was interested in and had been for a few weeks. Erik and I were good friends by then. We went to the lake, bar-b-que's and  concerts in a group. I loved him. I wasn't in-love with him. I just thought he was a great guy. My room mate would come home from her dates with him and talk about how she was trying to get him to date someone else and he just wouldn't do it.
None of that made sense to me. Erik is confident, kind and he has a powerful patience. He wouldn't be hanging on to some girl who was chasing someone else. It bothered me. He didn't seem like the guy she described.
After the eternal night at this other guy's apartment where I was more a chaperone than anything else. WE collapsed at home around dawn. I spent all day sick. With my kidneys in poor shape the lack of sleep was killing me. By that evening I planned on going to bed and nothing more. My room mate wanted to go meet 'the guys' at the dance club and she didn't want to go alone.  I agreed to go with her, as long as we could go home when the club closed at midnight.
Midnight rolled around and...we went to Denny's instead. Around 2 a.m., I was worn out. Unfortunately, my room mate's boy toy wanted to play night games in the desert. I put my foot down. No way was I traipsing through the desert with these guys in the middle of the night. She was my ride home. I either went with her or I stayed at Denny's until she came back. I stayed.
Erik was along for this whole scenario. When I perched myself under a street lamp watching my room mate drive away, he materialized from the darkness.
"Come on," he said, holding out his hand to me. "I've got a friend who lives about four blocks from here. She'll give us a ride home."
"What about your girlfriend?" I asked.
He gave me one of his humorless smiles. "I don't date girls who leave their friends in parking lots."
Over the next three hours he and I walked all over St. George. His friend wasn't home so we went to his brother-in-law's house. It was the middle of the night...or morning by then and they couldn't help us. We then walked another 7 blocks to a pay phone and called his brother to come pick us up.It took another two hours for him to drive me home and then drive himself back to his place.
During our long night together, we talked. He told me about life since his mission, how his first "girlfriend" wasn't the girl he wanted to date but she told people he was desperate and alone without her. I told him she told me and my room mate's that as well. When I asked him what was going on with his current girlfriend, he reiterated that he was done. Done with women, with dating, with the entire dishonest, disloyal gender in general. I knew it was the end for us as well. I was dating a guy who lived in Provo and if he didn't hang out with my room mate I knew we'd never see each other again.
That night we made...a deal. Once a week we'd hang out together. One week I'd buy and he'd tip. The next week, he'd buy and I'd leave the tip. We wouldn't be dating, just keeping in touch. "Keeping in touch" once a week turned to our dinners, dancing, phone calls, church occasionally and eventually he even drove me to Provo to see my boyfriend.
Two and a half months later, my boyfriend and I broke up. Erik held me together while I dealt with it. Within a week of my break-up, Erik told me he was in-love with me. After everything I should have been too hurt and scared to want to change things between us. At first, because I expected to feel that way, I didn't know what to tell him.
Patient and confident, as always, he just took my hand and told me not to freak out, everything would work out. In our short trip back to his car before he took me home, I knew it would. I knew I'd loved him all along. I could just kiss him now, too.
A week later we were engaged. Five weeks after that, we were married.
It's been 18 years since the first time I met him. My romantic recollections color the truth a little more than reality affords. That night in the Denny's parking lot, I thought he'd chosen me. I thought he wanted to be with me instead of all those other girls, including his girlfriend. He told me, years later, he'd done the same thing for any girl who'd been left alone, in the middle of the night, in a parking lot. "It was the right thing to do," he said.
For awhile, I felt bad about that. "Any girl?" I wasn't the right girl, it was the right thing to do?
The thing is...he's right. It was the right thing to do. He would've done it for any girl. He is that kind of man. It's one of the reasons I fell in-love with him in the first place.
I believe God gave us that night together and told us to make something of it. He put us together and we acted on feelings neither of us understood at the time. The influence of the Holy Spirit is like that. When God speaks to  you, you may not understand what he's doing. You may not even recognize that its Him. Crazy, fearless, stupid or embarrassing don't matter. Have some faith and do it anyway. You never know what God  wants you to make out of it.

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