It didn't take him long to realize that he caught me off guard. The awkward silence was only interrupted by the sound of crickets chirping in the background.
The only thing I could think was, "What? I don't even know if I LIKE you!" Of course, I didn't say that. I said something more gracious like, "Oh, that's nice." (Cue the crickets again.)
We had been getting to know each other over the summer months. We lived a little over 6 hours apart while we were dating, therefore, dates were not casual "get to know you over dinner" affairs. Every couple of weeks we would spend an entire weekend together, taking turns navigating the long distance trek. In the meantime, phone conversations - not my strong suit - but it's what we had to work with.
Toward the end of the summer, I went on a week long mission trip to Bogota, Colombia. It was a week of intense manual labor. For example:
I came back completely exhausted. It was my turn to make the journey to Nebraska for our weekend rendezvous, but I really wanted to stay home and sleep. Nonetheless, I talked myself into it. I dragged my tired, worn out body across the Midwest in search of a little Nebraskan rest and relaxation.
When I arrived, Mr. T told me what he had planned for the weekend. "Hey, hope it's okay with you, but I ordered a ton (as in a literal ton) of rock and I thought we could landscape around the house this weekend. It's going to get dropped off in the driveway tomorrow. I have some 5 gallon buckets. I thought we'd just shovel the rocks into the buckets, cart them around the house and spread 'em out. Of course, we'll have to dig out some of the dirt around the house, and we'll have to lay down a good layer of weed control so grass doesn't grow up in the rocks. I think if we work really hard we can get it done this weekend. We should get started really early because it's going to be really hot tomorrow. What do you think?"
What did I think!!! Oh, even now it burns me up. I was so mad. I mean, seriously! We hadn't been dating that long. Wasn't he supposed to still be woo-ing me?
So we worked all day in the dumb August heat and put the dumb rocks all around the dumb house.
To this day we still debate about the unfairness of it all.
My opinion: "Why would you have me come and move those dumb rocks when I just got back from a difficult mission trip?"
His opinion: "If you're willing to go halfway around the world to help people with their projects, surely you can help your boyfriend with one of his projects."
Agree to disagree.
Anyway, back to the story....
I called my mom crying in the car on the way home. "It's over, Mom! It's not working out! I'm breaking up with him!"
"Now honey," she said, "you always run away from relationships. You need to give it more time."
"No way!" I said.
"Just give it two more weeks. Just two more weeks, honey."
Come to find out, she was advising me to stick with it because she knew Mr. T had planned a "Pirates and Princesses Surprise 30th Birthday Party" for me and she didn't want him to suffer the embarrassment of a break up right before the big bash.
By the way, I'm wearing a boa in the picture below because my roommates dressed me like a princess so I would match the theme. Here's what I know, boas are itchy.
Mr. T came as the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride; classic movie.
So the party was really fun. Jeff recruited Tiffany to host it and she did an amazing job! The next day, Mr. T took my Mom, sister and I to dinner on the plaza. Anyway, something sort of clicked. He just felt like family; you know, familiar.
Although I was a long way from, "I love you, too," he was starting to grow on me. But, it wasn't until months later that I returned his sentiments.