Be Still My Heart (or how I fell in love)- part 2

He "put a ring on it"! May 15, 1993
He “put a ring on it”!
May 15, 1993

After recovering from what was a moment of shock over our age gap, my next thought was, “Oh boy, what would my parents do if they knew how old he is? Doubtful they will let me go out with him again. They have always told me to watch out for older guys!” Surprisingly, when I did return home later that night, I climbed into my mom’s side of the bed and told her all about my evening. Her response? “You are going to marry that boy!” 

Our first date led to a second. This time we went to the beach on a blustery fall day. We talked and talked and talked some more. Then he took me to a lovely dinner at the Cheesecake Factory overlooking the Marina Del Rey harbor. I tried pinching myself because this seemed like something from a dream. He was way too kind and godly. He treated me like a perfect gentleman- something I had never experienced before in my short dating life.

I was scared. He was “too good to be true” kind of a thing.  After a month, I felt myself falling for this guy, badly. He invited me to our school’s Christmas musical and that’s when I dropped the “I just want to be friends” bomb.  What else could I do? I wasn’t prepared for these kinds of feelings and I wanted to run away from them. Besides, falling in love didn’t fit into my career future.

I figured with that declaration, he would move on. His friends told him to be done with me. But (the little problem was) I still had to see him everyday- in class, in the library, all over campus. And here is where the story changes: in every encounter after that fateful evening, he was STILL kind, STILL thoughtful, STILL a gentleman, STILL forgiving. He didn’t shun me or give me the silent treatment. He didn’t shoot me hateful looks or send rude notes.

My heart was in angst. I wanted NOT to be attracted to him, but I found the very opposite happening. His character and godly attitude in the face of my selfish immaturity literally stunned me. Is he for real? I mean, who does this when a girl has written him off? Sure, maybe he was just being a persistent guy, but it was more than that. He showed me how to behave when someone treats you badly. He exemplified love in a way that no one else had ever done.

In the weeks that followed, I found myself inexplicably drawn to him. I slowly began to relish every moment we were in the same room. I hoped we’d “bump into each other” so we could talk again. Before he left for home over Christmas break, he slipped a flower and card into my on-campus mailbox. My heart went pitter-patter again- this time for all the right reasons- all the reasons that go beyond physical attraction or first date “schmooziness”.

And as they say, “The rest is history”.

Well, not really because this is real life and not some pie-in-the-sky fairytale romance. Yet, despite all the complexities of human relationships (and trust me when I say, we’ve had some VERY MESSY, stinking rotten, sinful moments), twenty two years later, I am still in love with this “for real” guy. He has proven to be a friend that loves in all times- good/bad, happy/sad. He STILL charms my heart with his thoughtful character and he is STILL pretty dang good-looking too! 🙂

Be Still My Heart (or how I fell in love)- part 1

“Is he walking toward me?” I thought. “Oh my gosh, YES!”

My heart began to speed up just a little. I knew his first name and not much else. We were in 4 classes together- freshman at the same college.

Something about him intrigued me. He was calmer, more mature, than the rest of the over- zealous, goofy 18 year-olds in our general ed classes.

What did I know about guys? I knew I was tired of jerks. I knew I tried hard to put on a “crusty” exterior so that I wouldn’t be hurt by one again. I determined not to fall in love or marry until at least the age of 25, so I could go all over the world as a traveling journalist. India, Japan, the Middle East. I wanted to see them all.

“So, how’s your paper coming?” he asked. (We were in English Literature together.)  I can’t tell you what else we said in those first moments together, but I do recall one thing- he seemed so nice and genuine. But he isn’t the floppy haired blond surfer type that I’ve set my sights on, so whatever. Besides, he is such a “brainer”, sitting on the front row, asking the professor all these questions. I mean, who does that?! He must be a nerd, but he sure doesn’t look like one.

A few days later, he caught up with me as I walked across the baseball field. I was wearing my Dr. Martens, my striped polyester shirt from the thrift store and a tennis skirt.  This time he asked about another class- AND asked me on a date. My little 17 year-old heart was all a pitter-patter. This guy was so FOR REAL- kind, respectful, cute (as far as brown haired guys go :)), smart, and interested IN ME.

Our date seemed like it might never arrive. The anticipation was killing me. Would he be this gentlemanly or was this just a shill to get me to go out with him? Every time we had bumped into each other, the conversation flowed free and natural. He was a talker AND a listener. I was smitten.

Finally, the evening of our date- nervous doesn’t really touch the tip of my emotional state iceberg- I was more like petrified!  Things started a bit rocky because he was late- poor guy-directionally challenged- let’s just say. Oh, Rebekah, get over it, if that’s the worst thing he is. Never the less, first impressions are important.

We drove to Hollywood Boulevard; the street that literally glitters beneath the glinting lights. Watched the movie “Beauty and the Beast” at the El Capitan theater, then walked until we meandered into an old timey diner called C.C. Brown’s. We ate delicious sundaes and he drank coffee.  I was impressed.  This guy is like, so mature. He drinks black coffee!

We talked and talked and talked. Finally, I asked, “So how old are you, anyways?”  

“I’m 24” he said.

GULP! My eyes grew to saucer size. I was in disbelief. I hit his arm (gently, of course). “No way!” (Quickly calculating that was 7 years older than me- ok, so I am no math whiz!)

to be continuedIMG_1192