Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Boy Next Door

   Alright, so he wasn't actually next door. In fact, I didn't even know he existed until I was sitting in seventh grade band class listening to my new friend tell me how hot the boy in the black hoodie was. He was cute but a little short for my taste. My friend, on the other hand, knew what she wanted and went for it. Being the supportive friend that I was, a rolled my eyes while she pursued him. We ended up spending a lot of time hanging around his locker. Her flirtatiously, me impatiently.

    Luckily, I made a new friend who had a locker by the band room. This made it so that my friend could flirt and I could make it to class on time (yes, I was that kid). Black hoodie's name turned out to be Nick. He was a little bit troubled and kind of moody, which fit this particular friend's, taste perfectly, but not mine. I found myself annoyed with them more often than anything. I was very aware of the fact that we were 12 and that dating was pointless. People were scared to speak to each other when they were "dating". Anyway, I remember my friend telling me that Nick's birthday was coming up and she was going to ask him out on that day. She didn't.
     I don't remember what happened. I do remember she seemed mad. I'm almost positive that either Nick said something that offended her or she was in love with someone new. Either could have been entirely possible that year. . .
   Anyway, they stayed friends and we spent a lot of time at those lockers. I got used to Nick and he became more of a friend than an acquaintance (not a particularly good friend, mind you). At some point during middle school, I started using his locker instead. Yes, I was still in band. Then at some other, undefinable, point I realized I liked him.
     I was furious. I was mad at myself for liking someone like him (troubled, obnoxious, rebellious, etc.). I walked a very straight line and his swerving was not in any plan I had. In fact, no boys were in any plan I had. I was too little and I knew it.
     My solution: ignore it. I did not tell anyone. Not for years. I watched him and maybe secretly hoped but that was all. I remember friends asking me if I liked anyone or who I liked. My answer was always "no one", with my teeth gritted in frustration. I couldn't admit it. I was far to mad at myself for my heart having made such an erroneous judgement without the consent of my brain.
     Middle school turned in to high school. Boom, I was 16 and actually old enough to date. Unfortunately, Nick, whom I still secretly loved, had taken a turn for the worse. His friends were disreputable, he was falling away from the church, and he was a little bit scary. There was just something dark about him. And, I was not about to wait around for him to shape up. I figured it was about time that he got out of my head anyway. Maybe, I thought, I would be less upset at him all the time if I didn't love him so much.
    So, I went on a date, with some guy I barley knew. That was stupid of me, the date was awful. Nothing like having a stranger stick his tongue in your mouth on your first real date. I remember thinking, that if that was what dating/kissing was, I didn't want any part of it. So I stopped trying to date. I didn't flirt with anyone, I didn't try to get asked out, and I was fine. I have never been the helpless type, I have never needed a man to feel validated, but it was sad knowing that there was no hope. Until that summer, anyway.
    I dragged my feet to youth conference at some ranch (I always had a hard time with over night church activities) and found some friends to hang out with. -I should mention that Nick was in my stake.- I ran into him, like I knew I would, and tried vainly to resist the charm he didn't have. We ended up spending a lot of awkward time together that day. It culminated with me basically tricking him into asking me out and a movie during which, he shared his Swedish Fish (which was a big deal).
    Our date (summer before junior yea) went alright but it was nothing spectacular. We returned to our usual slightly awkward, rather rocky friendship.
   I won't bore you with the stalker like tendencies I had concerning Nick during high school, (I still loved him) except to say that I had them. Nothing scary, but I definitely went out of my way to run into him. I was even brave enough to ask him to a girls choice dance in high school. He said yes but then cancelled on me (surgery). Thank you Franklynn. At that point I was really going to be done. But I just couldn't. I did stop trying but I didn't give up.
    Nick and I have discussed this several times since high school and it is a little bit unclear when things happened. Nick liked me, he asked me out all by himself, he decided to change. I don't know what order they happened in, but they happened.
    Near the start of our senior year Nick held my hand. You would think that would have made my dreams come true but it mostly freaked me out. He started hanging out with me and my friends. He came to play frisbee on Saturdays. He walked me to class he hugged me in the halls. I suppose we were sort of dating. I didn't permit any public affection, in fact, I hardly permitted any affection at all. He scared me. I didn't want to get involved with someone like him. Then he started changing.
    He calmed down, he went to church willingly, he started talking about a mission, he became aware of his grades, he tried to be involved, he left his scary friends, he went out of his way to be considerate, and he waited for me to warm up to him.
   We sort of dated for about six months before I let him kiss me (we were 18).
We were dating when we finished high school,
we dated through the first year of college,
we wrote while he was on his mission (I did not wait for him),

we skyped while I was in Thailand.
We got married in October in 2011.
 Now, I can say I married the first boy I ever liked. I can also say that he is more wonderful than I ever would have hoped for.  I don't know why I was so drawn to him for so many years but he was worth the heartache and the wait.
At 23, I have known my husband for almost half of my life.

This post is Nick approved :)

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