I'm taking a break from life as it is, to tell you a story.
It could take several posts to get to the end of the story.
There will be love and heartbreak, and more love, and more heartbreak...
...and a happy ending.
The story starts here.
* * * * *
...blue eyes and a smile that turned my insides to mush.
Looking back, with the perspective I have now, there is no way I could have prevented myself from falling hard for him.
It's hard to explain.
I was in an environment that changed me, living an experience I would never forget.
My heart was open and unguarded - something that didn't happen often when I was home - and I was truly living in the moment, absorbing everything I could.
...because I knew it was going to end far too soon.
The boy I loved was unlike any other boy I had ever known.
He was older than I was; already in his first year of college.
He was mature and thoughtful.
He was kind.
He loved the experience we were having almost as much as I did.
And he was so handsome it took my breath away.
We developed an easy friendship, and for the first time in my life, I knew I had found a boy I could trust.
(A few experiences in my childhood left me with serious trust issues when it came to the male gender in general.)
* * * * *
Our 10 days in Mexico came to an end, and at home again, I felt as I were in mourning.
I dreamed at night of the village and its people.
I yearned to be in Mexico, and a part of me no longer felt at home in my own house.
I found a quote that described my feelings perfectly; I kept it hanging by my bed for years.
"It's possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to before.
Perhaps more homesick than for familiar land."
Homesickness was exactly what I felt, every day, for an incredibly long time.
The only break in that homesickness came when I would get a letter from the boy I loved.
He was going to college two hours away from where I lived.
We exchanged letters regularly, but only saw each other a handful of times.
He was preparing to go on a mission for our church, and would be gone for two years.
I saw him before he left for his mission, and we promised to write to each other while he was gone.
It was a promise I kept faithfully.
I wrote the boy I loved a letter once a week for two years.
I graduated from high school and moved away from home to start college.
I went back to Mexico with my dad, just the two of us, to teach the same villagers how to plant potatoes. The only crop they grew was corn and we were hoping to help improve their diet.
I lived my life, and yet the feeling of homesickness never left me.
I missed Mexico, and I wanted to be with the boy I loved.
I don't think I could have separated those two emotions if I tried.
I lived for his letters, and kept every one he ever sent to me.
Two years came to an end, and one day close to the time I knew the boy I loved would be coming home, I got a phone call from his mom.
"Noelle, our boy is coming home! And we want you to come for when he speaks in church."
I wouldn't have missed it for the world, but the fact that his mom called me personally meant so much to me.
I loved the boy's parents almost as much as I loved him.
My mom and I went and searched for the perfect dress.
We finally found one; it was red and it was beautiful.
My family and I made the hour drive to his home and as we neared the church I must have checked my hair twenty times.
I had butterflies in my stomach to the point I thought I was going to be sick.
It had been two years and I was finally going to see him.