This post is part of an ongoing series about how Taylor and I met and fell in love. To get back to the beginning, click on the handy-dandy image in the sidebar labeled “Our Story.” And thanks for following along!
That little trip to Oregon was all I needed to get my head right.
Bidding all my “distractions” adieu, I dove head first into my summer job at the engineering firm, getting in shape for basketball and spending time with my family at the lake. It was a bit lonely, but also kind of liberating. I spent some quality time with my little brothers and watched A LOT of movies.
In all honesty, I may have spent a few hours a week on AIM, just in case tfoxman15 happened to log on. And…a bit of time reading, rereading and over analyzing all the emails we had exchanged thus far. I just wanted to have a good handle on things when I went back to school. Totally normal. Heh.
Anyway, sometime in mid-July, just as I’d taken a break from clicking “refresh” on my inbox to read the new Harry Potter book, I received a surprising email from my favorite farm boy.
I’d just woken up and stumbled down the stairs, sleep in my eyes and crackling joints. I poured myself a bowl of cereal and, as had been my habit all summer, retreated to the office to check my email for new arrivals. Like the other 247 times I’d opened my browser, I wasn’t expecting to see anything, but as I logged in, right there at the top was my favorite name in bold. My heart lept. And then my stomach followed. I folded my legs into the narrow office chair, sat up straight and clicked on the ominous little white envelope in the corner.
So I already finished Harry Potter (on Tuesday actually), it was pretty sweet…great ending. Swathing is done, so no more working nights, which is nice. Well, the real reason I am writing this is to let you know about some of the things I have been thinking about.
Breathing became sort of a problem at this point.
This is a bit scary because I don’t know exactly what your feelings are, but I have an inkling that if I asked you to go out on a date with me, you would. So, to be honest, I have kind of been waiting for school to start up, to see if I could make you my girlfriend.
Must. Have. Oxygen. My lungs burned. My limbs burned. If I didn’t know better, I could have sworn my whole body was on fire. Did he just say…GIRLFRIEND!? I forced my eyes to refocus so I could keep reading.
He goes on to describe how he’d had a self-imposed dating ban for his first year of college so he could ease into the transition, hang with his buddies and focus on school work. Ahem, smarter than the rest of us. And that since the spring, he’d been thinking that he’d be okay with lifting the ban if the right girl came along. Enter, me.
He told me he liked my personality, respected my faith and “physically…” he thought, “well, let’s just say I think you are cute.” He told me he was excited about the thought of me being the first girl he had dated in a while. And though he could have, and maybe should have stopped there, in true Taylor fashion, he went on to give me the first, and possibly most infamous disclaimer of our entire relationship. One that would become the stuff of legends and get thrown in his face at nearly every family gathering. Poor guy.
Anyway, as I mentioned before, I haven’t felt a peace about the whole situation. I am having a hard time with this, because honestly, I think about you, and everything makes sense. Yet, I am just not sure. This could just be some jitters and insecurities…it really could. As of right now, I still give us a 70% shot of dating, so again, don’t get me wrong, it could still totally happen. I just thought I should let you know all this.
Oh dear. Now you may be reading this and thinking, “what a jerk!” Or, “you still fell for this?” But let me tell you something about Taylor. The dude makes decisions CAREFULLY. He takes his time, he refuses to tell you “yay” or “nay” until he’s ready, and oftentimes, even when he’s “decided,” he warns you that he may change his mind. He’s a 70% kind of guy.
It’s driven me absolutely bonkers at times, but darn it all, if his tortoise-like choices aren’t exactly what I need in my life. I run almost 100% on instinct; I feel, I act. If I’m in, I’m all in. And then three months down the road, I’ve changed my mind and I’m all in on something else. Which is fine when it’s TV shows, an ice cream flavor, or a new band, but really bites you in the arse when it’s major life decision making time (see: ages 16-24). I’ve been humbled a time or two (maaaaybe three) and now I try to make my choices just as slow and deliberate as the sweet boy who sent me that awkward, earnest, heartfelt email nearly ten years ago.
As I finished reading his note, my face mere inches from the screen, half-chewed cereal falling out of my gaping mouth, I grew a little bit sad realizing that once I finished, I could never read it again for the first time. I could never feel, in quite the same way, what it felt like when I first read that the boy I loved, actually liked me back. Lost for a moment in the the melancholy romance of it all, I contemplated coming back to finish it later. But curiosity got the best of me, and so I read on.
I would like to end this by saying that if you don’t feel the same way, and friends is simply how you view us, then that is totally fine (I’ve had feelings like this for you before, and got over them fine, so I hope I could do it again). I would like it if you would write back to let me know what you are thinking…and don’t be shy, tell me whatever you are thinking.
What was I thinking? My heart felt so full it could burst. My mind raced with possibilities. I was thinking a million different things. I like him so much! And he likes ME! He’s so cute! I can’t wait to see him. What does 70% mean? Should I be worried that he has hesitations? But he wants me to be his girlfriend! And he said I was cute! And he was thinking about me on a TRACTOR! Swoon.
I expected all these thoughts. I knew all these feelings. What I didn’t anticipate was also feeling a little bit scared. A little bit hesitant, too. I’d always figured, if and when he ever came around, I’d be all in. Ready to go. 100%.
But I was fresh off a tumultuous year of personal growth and change, and though I felt good about how far I’d come, I didn’t know if I was ready to jump into a relationship that could be THE relationship, you know? I mean, I was 19 years old for goodness sake.
These sober thoughts snapped me back to reality, I realized I’d been sitting at the screen for half an hour and was running late for work. I printed out the email, tucked it into my purse, and silently stored it away in the most precious place in my heart. And then I dashed around like a mad woman, throwing on clothes and getting myself out the door.
Once I made it to work, after spilling my guts to the office secretary, I floated dreamily through the day, re-reading my favorite lines from the email and opening my inbox every now and then, just to make sure it was really there. Lunch was spent wracking my brain to figure out what I’d say in response and where this would all go. I wanted to live in the unanswered in-between forever, savoring the fact that He. Liked. Me. Well, at least 70%.
But as my work day ended and any sort of distraction faded away, despite my apprehension, something in my gut told me to press on. So when I got home that night, I donned the same pajamas, wedged myself back into the same office chair and sat in front of the same computer, to draft the email that would open the door to the rest of my life.
To be continued…