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.
* * * * *
Several weeks before the boy I loved came home I wrote this in my journal:
"In three weeks he comes home from his mission. In four weeks I will see him, after two years.
Everyone who knows, naturally assumes that I'm nervous, or that I'm scared.
Sure, I feel some nervousness, but that's not what I feel the most.
For the last two and a half years I have been waiting for this day, and the days that will follow.
Somehow my life will go in a new direction - whether with him or away from him.
I try not to think about the outcome of this whole situation, but it's really hard."
I hadn't purposely put my life on hold waiting for this boy.
I met other people and had a lot of experiences in the mean time, but nothing came close to the feelings I had for the boy I loved.
I saw him before he saw me. If I thought I had butterflies before...
I wasn't sure I was going to survive an actual conversation.
When he did see me, he didn't say anything other than my name before he hugged me.
And after that he blushed every time he talked to me.
I'm quite sure I did the same.
My family and I spent time with his family at their home, and to be honest, he spent more time talking with my mom than he did me.
His mom told my mom how much she and her husband loved me and how grateful they were that I was in their son's life.
His mom told me the same thing, and hugged me several times while we were at her home.
When we finally left, it was with the boy I loved hugging me again and telling me he would call me, and that he would be down to see me before he left for school, which was only a few short weeks away.
I cried during the hour drive home.
Two years of waiting had ended in a mostly awkward experience, and I was so disappointed.
I don't know what I had expected.
The boy I loved had just spent two years being told 'girls are OFF LIMITS' until you go back home.
He had even warned me in a letter; he didn't think he was going to react well to being back in the 'real world.'
My mom assured me that I needed to give him time, and space, and when he was ready he would call.
He did call, a couple of times, but it was always with a reason he wasn't going to be able to see me after all.
Every day someone would ask, "Did he call?" and I would always answer the same way.
In response they would say, "He will call. Just give him time to adjust."
After a few months I stopped jumping every time the phone rang.
I stopped looking for letters in the mailbox.
And I stopped saying his name out loud.
Unfortunately, my heart didn't stop aching.
I didn't stop loving him, and I didn't stop hoping that one day he really would call.
It was several months later that my sister picked me up from school.
"How was your day?" she asked.
I burst into tears and told her it had been the worst day of my life.
And I think it really had been.
For some reason, while I was sitting in an English class, I had a memory of something that had happened when I was young.
It was out of the blue, and it was something that, up to that point, I hadn't remembered.
And it wasn't pleasant.
My reaction to the memory was so strong it took my breath away, and I could barely see through my tears to finish taking the notes I needed.
For the next hour that scene replayed itself over and over again in my mind, and I felt like I was going to fall apart.
I have never been more grateful for the safety of a car and a loving face.
When I finally stopped crying I looked over at my sister and could tell that something was bothering her.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"It can wait," she said.
"Bec, I'm fine. Tell me what's wrong."
She didn't say anything, just handed me an envelope that was addressed to my parents.
My hands shook as I reached out to take the envelope.
I knew what it was.
And in that moment I wasn't sure my heart was ever going to recover.
Because there, smiling back at me, was a picture of the boy I loved with the girl he was going to marry.