I used to tell this love story all the time. It was the story of my life during those critical years. You know, those years that usually unbeknownst to us (at the time), set the foundations of our entire lives. I thought I should include this story here in this blog, since LOVE is what can bring so much joy into our lives, and paradoxically, can bring intense sorrow.
I was 15 years old. He was 18. It was March 23, 1986, at a youth church dance, called The Golden Green Ball. The song was, “Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray. I will never forget the details of the moment I fell in love with my soul mate. The DJ announced that during this one song, the girls could ask the guys to dance. After all, it was the 80’s. It was usually appropriate for the guy to ask the girls to dance. I was having a good time, and decided not to sit this dance out. I scanned the room for someone to ask for this dance. My eyes literally stopped on this one guy standing in a small group of guys. I couldn’t tell you who all was in the small circle of guys, since he was the only one who came into focus. When my eyes met with his, there was something magical or spiritual that sparked inside of me. I just felt something I had never felt before or since with anyone else. It was an indescribable connection. I asked him to dance. He threw his arm up, to escort me to the dance floor. From that moment on, my life would never be the same.
Life is never just as simple as, Happily Ever After. It just isn’t designed that way. We probably wouldn’t appreciate the good moments if everything was always good. We wouldn’t “feel” the good moments, the way we “feel” them if things were just good all the time. It really is a perfect design. We just don’t like going through the bad stuff, so we don’t always understand that some of our greatest blessings can come from our greatest sorrows.
During that dance, we discovered that we had so many similar interests. I felt as if I had known him for a long time, other than the fact that I was asking him his name and other questions about what his likes and dislikes were, I still felt so comfortable with him, as if we had known each other much longer. I wasn’t 16 yet, and I wasn’t allowed to date anyone before I turned 16. My 16th birthday was a few months away, on July 1st. Would he wait for me? Another problem was that he lived 2 hours away. I lived in Memphis, TN, he lived in Jonesboro, AR. I couldn’t drive yet. We didn’t have cell phones, or social media. We didn’t even know what a computer was at the time. To make a phone call, we had to be at home, or have a quarter for the pay phone. A quarter wouldn’t pay for a long distance call either. We paid much more for long distance calls at home or by pay phone. This definitely was not going to be easy. I gave him my phone number and just hoped I would hear from him.
Within a couple of weeks, he called me. I begged my mom to let me go on a single date with him, even though it was a few months shy of my 16th birthday. She liked him, and agreed that I could go on a single date with him. He drove to Memphis and took me to dinner at the Western Sizzler to have a steak dinner. We went from there to Blockbuster and rented the movie, “The Jerk” with Steve Martin. On the way to my house, where we would watch the movie, we stopped by the Bartlett Park and walked around the track, holding hands, talking and laughing. It is one of the few dates I can still remember with anyone. I felt like our relationship was rare. I remember listening to the song, “A Long and Lasting Love” by Crystal Gayle, wishing everyone could find what we found.
I received a letter from him that was postmarked April 23, 1986. It turned out to be the only letter I would receive from him, and it was very special. On May 23, 1986, he called me again. He told me he loved me, for the first time, as we hung up the phone.
In June, we went on a youth trip by Greyhound bus, and I felt like something was changing. He didn’t stay with me the whole time. He was distancing himself. In August, during another youth conference gathering, I couldn’t wait to see him. When I saw him, we hugged, and both went upstairs to our rooms to get ready for a dance that was going on that evening. We met at the door to that dance. Before we entered into the room where the dance was taking place, he stopped me and told me he wanted to talk to me. He sat me down outside the door and told me he wanted to see other girls. I was crushed. I didn’t make it into that dance. I went back up to my room and cried. My world stopped for a moment.
I dated a lot of guys after that. None of them made me feel the way I thought I felt with Kevin. I held on to the hope that one day we would reunite. We remained friends.
I don’t remember the exact date or even year, I think was 1987. I called his mom to see how he was doing. She said, “You didn’t know?” I said, “Know what?”. She said, “Kevin got married.” Something at that moment snapped inside of me. I had so many mixed emotions. I thought we had time. I guess I thought he would go on his 2 year church mission, like most boys in our church did, and that we had time to figure this out. Either he would realize that he did love me, and that we were meant to be together, or that we weren’t meant to be together and we would meet other people and move on. I just wasn’t ready to move on quite so quickly, but I had no choice. I had to move on right then and there. The biggest thing I realized at that moment was that there was no “we’. It was him and it was me.
TO BE CONTINUED…I’m going to stop here for today…the good news is, the story doesn’t stop here. As long as we live, we are writing the stories of our lives…We are up to 1987 so far in this story.