It wasn’t long before I realized I had made the right choice. Once the hard part was over (actually breaking things off with Chris), it wasn’t that difficult to imagine my life without him. I don’t even remember missing him, which leads me to believe I had prepared my own heart for the break long before it actually happened.
I think I might have known all along that, had I continued on with Chris, I would have “settled” for less than the Lord wanted for me. Perhaps I had already begun to sub-consciously *hope* that the Matt who had outwardly reflected my inner desires might be single and be able to offer those things to me. But mostly, I think, I knew that I had been trying to ‘force’ something just because I wanted it so badly. Just another example of how oftentimes God plans to give us things far greater than we would even imagine for ourselves. We can be our own worst enemy at times.
Each Sunday, Matt made it a special point to find me and to say hello. Though I had just freed myself from a relationship-I was at a loss at how to act around the opposite sex-or at least, this FINE specimen of them! I blushed like the schoolgirl that I was, couldn’t find anything intelligent to say without stuttering, and found myself giggling uncontrollably. I hated that. I hated how I appeared and thus, I tried to avoid him to save myself from becoming a blabbering idiot.
I remember one particular Sunday, I successfully avoided him several times. If I saw him heading my way, I would make my way to the other end of the room and start a conversation. If he looked my way, I made myself look busy. I felt so ill at ease around him, I thought it best to avoid him altogether. After several successful detours, I noticed him walking my way. I was blocked in by people so I couldn’t run. All were in deep conversations, so I couldn’t join in. I was stuck…and he was approaching. I didn’t know what to do, where to turn, so I slipped into the children’s Sunday school room. I hoped he hadn’t seen me. I prayed it was so…because if he did-WHAT would he think of me locking myself in the Sunday school room, all alone and for no particular reason?
He came in. Well, I guess he saw me.
“Hey! What are you doing in here?” He asked.
It was a logical question. But what was I to say? “Oh, you know…you scare the bajeebers out of me so I hid.” No.
I said the only thing that would come: “Ummmm..Oh, nothing.” So Eloquent, Rebecca. In that moment I felt as young as I was.
He chuckled. I cannot recall ANY of the following conversation, because I was too flustered to pay any attention. All I could do was feel the heat radiating from my neck-creeping toward my face and turning crimson its path-all the way up the part of hair on my scalp. Nope-I don’t remember a lick of the conversation…which is probably a good thing. I can only imagine how refined I must have sounded.
Each week we spent a bit of time chatting with one another and each time it got a little bit easier. We spoke of nothing important and only spent just a few moments with one another. It was all very casual. He spoke to me just as he spoke to the Pastor’s wife, the widows, and the men of the congregation.
While Chris wore his emotions and intentions on his sleeve, this man was elusive. You never knew what he was thinking. I never knew if he actually WANTED to talk to me, or if he was just being his pleasant self.
In fact, Matt and Chris were entirely opposite in every way. Matt was strong and masculine, his tanned skin revealed his love for the outdoors and his thick hands and chiseled biceps proved he was accustom to hard work. Chris had pale skin, was tall and thin and worked hard to make himself look ‘cool’. His muscles were in his fingers-as the only thing I ever remember him ‘working on’ was calling people on his cell phone or reaching to turn the dial on the radio. Most importantly, though, while Chris would have started dating me by now, Matt was just saying Hello.
When Matt and I spoke, he was always looking down and never made eye contact. It infuriated me!! If only he would LOOK into my eyes, I might know if he enjoyed these conversations as much as I did. I would know if he replayed them in his head during the week or if he tried to soak up the memory of my face, as I did his, so that during the week, my thoughts would actually ‘see’ him. But he didn’t and he never suggested any interest except that he would make it a point to chat for a moment with me. But then again, I thought, he did that to everyone else.
Graduation had come and gone and my graduation party loomed. I knew that I might be brazen to do so, but I invited Matt to come along. The whole church was invited, so I wasn’t going out on a huge limb. Really, I just wanted to visit with him in a setting outside of church and for, hopefully, a greater length of time. Though I tried with all my might to act casual when I invited him, my face betrayed me by turning a bright shade of fuchsia. He said he would try to be there and that made the lobster-red all worthwhile.
The day came~ the pavilion was decorated, the food set out, the music played in the background, all the guests were trickling in and I was trying to greet everyone. I was so nervous and excited at the same time, it was hard to act calm. After a while, the flow of people arriving lessened and yet, still there was no Matt. I chatted along but my eyes often glanced by the doorways, checking to see if he had arrived. Suddenly, a shadow in the doorway caught my eye. It was a man, I could tell, and he appeared to feel a bit awkward. I let out a little gasp and tried to coolly walk up to him. I was SO excited that he had come! I couldn’t WAIT to see what he was wearing (up til now he had only dressed in his Sunday best) and have a chance to talk to him in a natural, relaxed setting. I could wait to drink in that handsome face and those deep, brown eyes.
But when I came closer, I realized…it wasn’t Matt. It was Chris.
To be continued…