Romance is in the air as we anticipate our anniversary on Sunday. I can't help thinking about the days when I barely knew my husband. Young love is so fun and I am going to tell you our love story. This is no "Black Heals to Tractor Wheels," but sort of my version of how I fell in love with a country boy.
The conversation ran vividly through my mind as I drove down a familiar highway out into the country. It had been almost a year to the day when I last talked to my boyfriend, “Mr. Perfect” on the phone. He pleaded with me, “Please, give it a year. Maybe you are right, we just need to grow up a little more. I’ll give you time. Just a year and then we can work this out. Promise me there won’t be anyone else.” I had already told him I wasn’t returning to college. I wasn’t returning to him and I was breaking off our 9 month relationship. The phone call that night was the third in a few days that attempted and failed to bridge the gap created by 2,000 miles and 2 countries. I was filled with the need to just be done, but I promised him anyway. Maybe I was weak. Or maybe I knew I really did need the time to grow up. But I promised him “1 year.”
My reality changed in those 12 months. I worked. I was taking classes at a jr. college, serious things like photography and swimming. I went to Europe like I said I would. I was living on my own. And I met someone who made my heart flutter with anticipation, and it wasn’t my former “Mr. Perfect.” It was a crush for sure, but I knew from experience; from dating the wrong kinds of guys, from falling in love with the wrong kinds of guys, that his one was special. Today was the first time I would be with him alone. My hands were sweaty as I gripped the steering wheel of my 1981 VW Rabbit. It was August and hot and I longed for air conditioning. Instead, the windows were down and the rush of wind made it impossible to hear anything but my own thoughts.
I thought about the encounters I had had with my new interest over the summer as butterflies danced in my stomach. The first time we touched as I slid into the middle seat to make room for 4 in the front of his truck: his strong and tanned forearm brushed my arm and all of my nerve endings jolted with excitement. I couldn’t take my eyes off his arms; or his work worn hand as he casually gripped the gear shift and put the powerful vehicle into motion through the bumpy field after a bonfire. I didn’t even know this guy, but I sure wanted to. After that, I found myself looking for opportunities to be with him. My roommate and I had BBQs and movie nights and he was always invited. He was fun and he was always up for an adventure. He was loyal to his friends and his friends were loyal to him, as I found out when I quietly asked questions about him. No one had anything bad to say about this guy. I liked everything I learned about him. We went camping in July with a big group of friends and he threw a grape at my head when we stopped for a picnic. I turned to give him a flirtatious look and saw his mischievous grin. That was a clue that maybe he liked me too and I was thrilled. That same day though, I overheard him say “There just aren’t any good girls left.” I was disheartened and began to mentally give up on him. I had pined over him all summer with no response. I gave myself a reality check. My little summer crush had to come to an end.
My roommate endeavored to throw us together and encouraged me not to give up. “He’s such a good guy,” she would say. I asked her why she didn’t go for him and she laughed as she recalled a disastrous trip to California she took with him the winter before. They fought the whole time and got on each other’s nerves. “But he might be perfect for you,” she persuaded. My one and only chance to find out if there was any possibility between us came at the end of the summer. He was over at the house and told the group about how the radio in his combine wasn’t working. He had spent 10 hours that day in utter silence. Did anyone want to come ride with him tomorrow? My roommate piped up and said, "Alysun has the day off tomorrow. She could go." As casually as possible with my heart in my throat, I said, “Ya, that would work.” He didn’t jump up and down or sweep me into his arms. He just said, rather non-committedly, “Sounds good.” I told him later it would be fun to learn something about farming. What a line! He gave me directions to the field where he would be the next day and I said I would come after lunch. I felt too forward and a little silly, but I couldn’t help the nervous excitement as I thought of being alone with him. Tomorrow I would find out if there was a future to my crush or whether I needed to move on once again.
To be continued....