Matt had just led me through his bachelor pad, and had revealed to me a feminine vanity and then, shock of shocks whispered "It's for you." All this while being chaperoned by his soon-to-be sister-in-law, Holly.
The vanity was lovely. A HUGE first gift. But more- even more huge was the message it conveyed. No. Guys don't buy girls pieces of furniture if they just want to hang out and chat sometimes. This painted white vanity that he bought for a song, revealed HIMSELF to me. His interest. His care. His intentions.
Never more have I cursed the presence of another than I did of Holly's that day, at that very moment.
You see, while Matt (older than me by more than a fistful of years) was responsible and mature, prudish and respectable, I am QUITE the opposite. I am affectionate and love affection returned. When I am grateful, I want to show it. I am spontaneous and wouldn't have blinked an eye at jumping in his arms. Besides, I had thought enough about the day I would kiss him that I was looking forward to it with eager anticipation. If Holly hadn't been there, I would have done so. I would have jumped into his arms and slathered that handsome, soft, smooth face with the kisses that I had spent many a dream on. I guess that is where the older and WISER man might have made a good decision. It was a good thing that Holly was there. But I hated it. And I hated that her presence had RUINED the chance for 'the kiss' and that in that very moment, I felt AWKWARD. I didn't know how to act, what to say, what to believe. I had four eyes peering at me, waiting for my reaction, and I didn't know what to do. My face, without fail, turned crimson and I awkwardly muttered a high pitched 'Thanks' while staring down at my shoes.
The ending had been awash. The grand finale was not so grand. But the drive home that night felt more like soaring wings than spinning tires. He DID care about me. He WAS interested in pursuing me! It wasn't just him being a great guy to everyone. He was being an especially great guy to ME.
From then on, we had sparkles in our eyes when we looked at each other and I didn't feel guilty that my thoughts throughout the day turned to him. After all-he was interested in me romantically!
The secret had been revealed, so after worship on Sundays, rather than dallying about, we found each other right off the bat and mingled. We began meeting up on Wednesday's at Bible Study. Church was 45 minutes from both of us, our smack-dab-midway point. We would endure prayer meeting, sitting next to one another, but we really lived for afterwards. Down the street from the church was a Dunkin Donuts, that became our official Wednesday night hangout.
After prayer meeting, we would head down there and take up our usual booth. We would share the whipped cream from Matt's cappuccino and I would sip from my juice drink. We would laugh and joke, share and debate, or just drink in each others eyes. Under the table, our legs would always be tangled up together.
Still we hadn't kissed. We hadn't hugged. We hadn't spoken any affection toward one another. It seemed odd. Strangely odd; we were so close, but so restricted. We just kind of awkwardly walked up to one another upon meeting and ungracefully bowed out at our visits end. One day I got SICK of it. Perhaps I am a BIT overzealous with my emotions, but SURELY it was RIDICULOUS that we couldn't show each other that we cared for each other in ANY way.
After one typically enchanting meeting, we were standing awkwardly by his truck making our last awkward goodbyes. It was the PERFECT moment to give him a hug. I wanted to SO bad. Just a hug. Just to say goodbye. Just to drink in his scent until I could see him again. Just to be close to him once more before we were too far from one another for too long. But I couldn't. My legs betrayed me and I stumbled away-back to my car. Each step I took broke my heart a bit more. Would we ever show REAL affection toward one another?
I started the car. He started his truck. Out of the driveway he drove, with me following him. Down the street. We were driving out of town. Away from another once again and, once again, I didn't get the chance to show him how much I cared for him. The streetlight glared its ugly read head at me and I saw Matt's silhouette in the truck right ahead. We were at the intersection with the Dunkin Donuts. OUR Dunken Donuts.
I made a decision right then and there that I was going to go for it, I was going to step out on a limb here and do what I wanted to do. What I NEEDED to do. I swerved at the last moment, screeching into the Dunkin Donuts parking lot. I turned off the car and sat there. Shivers began to shake my body-but it was too late. I was determined.
Matt had turned his truck into the parking lot as well, wondering what the heck was going on. He got out of his vehicle. So did I. He was walking toward me, a questioning look on his face and he said "What's wrong? Is something wrong?"
I didn't answer. I just kept walking. I walked right into his arms and laid my head on his shoulder. He was taken aback but when his arms instantly wrapped around me in an oh-so warm return embrace, I knew he had been longing to show me he cared to. There we stood in the middle of the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, traffic all around us, our cars haphazardly positioned, wrapped in each others arms.
Those precious moments that we shared made time seem to stand still. It was a long and lovely moment yet at the same time entirely too short. Eventually, I picked up my head and said "That's all I wanted to do." And we smiled. Going back to my vehicle, I was so utterly happy that I had taken the leap. HIs embrace had felt SOO, SOOOO good. I felt ready to be apart now that we were....together.
We got back on the road and headed out and eventually the exit ramp toward my home approached. We exchanged a glance in the rear view mirror and I prepared to smile and wave goodbye-when the truck turned in as well and slowed to a stop on the edge of the road.
I passed it. Did he think I didn't remember where my own exit was? What was he DOING? His high beams blinked at me and I thought, "WHAT is going on?" I stopped the car and saw that he was already approaching me. It was my turn this time, to wonder and ask what was the matter.
I rolled down my window. He bent over and leaned down to peer inside the car. "What's going on?" I asked and chuckling, added, "I almost didn't stop!"
Looking in his face, I knew that this was no joking matter. He had something important to say. Before I could wonder if he was going to scold me for being so brazen he opened his mouth, and with a voice thick with emotion, said to me "Rebecca. I need to tell you this now. I want you to know before we leave today, before you go home. I love you."