I was eating supper with my parents one Wednesday evening when the phone rang. Somehow I knew who it was, and thought it would be better if I answered it. I really can't remember much of the conversation (which lasted maybe ten minutes), but I distinctly remember the exchange between my parents:
Dad: "Who's she talking to?"
Mom: "I think it's Tom."
Dad: "What's he calling her for?"
What Mom's answer was, I can't remember. Tom asked me out for that Friday night, and we agreed not to tell Mr. Bill what we were doing, just to get back for all his pestering! That Friday we went to Dairy Queen. I got an Oreo blizzard, and he got a raspberry shake. I found out later that he's not really all that wild about ice cream, but we were pretty limited on restaurant choices since we didn't want a full meal.
Two things stand out in my memory:
1. I wanted to verify his age and tell him mine without actually coming right out and saying, "I'm 20. How old are you?" By this time I didn't care, but I wondered if he would.
2. While waiting in line for our order, I saw a woman who was part of the faculty at my high school. She said hi and glanced significantly at Tom. I said hi, but did not introduce Tom. I felt this was rather rude of me, but I didn't know what to say about him. He wasn't exactly my boyfriend, but if I said, "This is my friend, Tom," she would probably assume he was my boyfriend. So I just didn't say anything.
That night, I went to bed thinking, "I just went out with the man who will be my husband."
The next morning I listened to a tape with a song called, "Except the Lord build the house." Suddenly I wasn't so sure, and thought I had better make sure this thing was of the Lord. My mom had planned to have Tom over with Mr. Bill's family, for Sunday dinner. I really didn't know what to do or how to act. I started feeling pressured, and needed time and space to think.
My brother and his wife-to-be were in for a visit, so that took some of the attention off me. In church that morning, I managed to avoid Tom by surrounding myself with all my "little sisters"--a small group of young girls in our church who looked to me as sort of a mentor. I sat with them during the service, and spent extra time talking with them afterward.
At home it was harder. I decided the best course of action was to make myself undesirable and unavailable. I changed into an old pair of jeans, an old plaid shirt, and went barefoot. When our guests arrived, I took the kids down to the creek that ran through the woods behind our house. I was trying to get away from Tom, but he followed us! I was a bit irritated by this, and refused to speak to him for the rest of the afternoon.
After our guests left, my brother says to me, "Well, I guess that's over," referring to my "friendship" with Tom. That wasn't what I had in mind! I suddenly saw how rude I had been, so I asked my parents if I could call him, and arrange to talk to him before the evening service.
Later, I found out that Tom had taken the hint, and decided not to push it with me. He thought I didn't want to have anything to do with him anymore, and was quite a bit disappointed and hurt. So when I called him, I unconsciously gave him back his hope, and he agreed to talk.
We went for a walk, and talked things over. I apologized for giving him the cold shoulder, explaining that I felt pressured into something I wasn't ready for, and felt things were happening too fast. He replied that there would be no pressure, that he just wanted to get to know me as friends. At that, my heart sort of sank, and I realized that I wanted to be more than friends.
Oh, how fickle we females can be! I didn't want to even consider him at first. Then I liked him, and wondered if he would like me. Then I "knew" he was the man for me, for life. Then I didn't want to be anywhere near him. Then I only wanted to be friends, but when he said friends was fine, I suddenly wanted more! I was all mixed up, and didn't know what to do, or say, or think. So it was with a sense of relief that I went away for a week to visit my aunt's family.
to be continued. . .