On Sunday, I left with Superman, his sister Nikki, and his mom and dad to drive 15 hours to Manti, Utah. My best friend Kelli was going to be married there on Wednesday, June 11. (She and her fiance were driving out a day behind us.)
The drive out was great. Superman and I just talked and talked and talked. (Like we hadn't seen in other in two years or something!) A lot of our discussion was about gospel subjects -- something that we'd always been able to do together. I hadn't realized how much I had missed and needed that in a relationship. Mr. Beatles had been spiritual, but we'd never really discussed gospel-related things like Superman and I did. Our friendship seemed to be right where we left it. We were able to talk comfortably and tease occasionally.
We started the drive on Sunday afternoon and drove through the night. I remember wanting to lean on Superman's shoulder when I was sleepy, but decided that was definitely a bad idea. For the time being, at least.
The next few days were spent getting things ready for the wedding. On Wednesday, everyone was up early and headed to the temple. Superman's sister Nikki and I hung out at the hotel -- we hadn't yet been through the temple and could not be present for the ceremony.
After the ceremony, the two families were all gathered for pictures. Kelli's husband has quite a few siblings, all pretty close in age. We were all having a good time and joking around while the couple was taking pictures.
We started asking Superman to tell us how to say different things in Chinese. Stupid things like, "Your mom!" and "Nerd!" and other phrases that I can't remember right now. At one point, he looked me in the eye and said, "Wo quan xin de ai ni." I looked at him, feeling like he had said something important to me. I asked him what he had said, and he just smiled and continued translating the insults people were wanted to know. I asked him again what he had said, but he smiled and said he would tell me when I was a boy. (Inside joke. Back when we were dating, he had once told me he'd tell me something when I was older, but it sounded like he said, "I'll tell you when you're a boy." Hence, the joke.)
I decided to let it go for the time being, but was pretty sure he had said something important.
The next few days were really fun. We spent a day in Salt Lake with the two families and Superman and I were back to full-fledged teasing. (It was so refreshing!)
I've had this bad habit ever since Superman and I started hanging out of.............abusing him. Physically. Never on purpose, but I always seem to hurt him. Once he was teasing me about something and I "got mad." I was at my bedroom door, and he was at the other end of the basement -- a good 30 feet away. I threw my hairbrush at him as he was running away and up the stairs and I hit him smack in the middle of his head. I felt so horrible but couldn't stop laughing. Every time he'd try to tickle me he'd end up with a knee or elbow to the stomach or elsewhere. Once we were being melodramatic and a friend was blockading my door so I couldn't get out. I yelled and yelled for "Superman" to come save me, but it was taking a while. So I put my back into and opened my own door. Right into Superman's forehead. He'd been there to save me, I just didn't realize it. (Almost a metaphor.......)
Anyway, I was back to abusing him along with the teasing. We were walking at Temple Square and he was teasing me about something, then kinda ran away because he knew I'd get angry. I pretended to give him an air-kick in the pants, even though he was 15 feet away from me. But I was wearing mule tennis shoes and my shoe flew off, hitting him directly in the back of the head. (Just like the hairbrush.) Again, I felt horrible, but couldn't stop laughing.
Over the next few days I'd bug him about what he said to me in Chinese, begging him to translate. He decided to quote scripture a bit and said that his bowels were moved with compassion towards me -- he'd tell me before he left for school. I said, "You're having a bowel movement out of compassion for me?"
Yeah, we got a good laugh out of that one.
I continued to bug him about what he'd said. I was getting the feeling from our interactions that he was developing feelings for me again, and was starting to think he'd said "I love you." But I didn't know. And that was driving me crazy. How was I supposed to act around him? Him loving me, or not, would kind of make a difference in my decisions, and I decided I had a right to know.
Saturday we drove back to Kansas. Again, Superman and I talked and talked. Towards the end of the trip we finally broached the subject of "us." I asked him why he had let our friendship deteriorate so much before his mission. He didn't answer directly, but told me that the biggest regret of his life was not handling things better between us before he left on his mission. We talked about a lot of stuff, and I told him that I just wanted to tell him everything for his future relationships.
"So I don't blow it again," he said. I thought, But you haven't blown it. Not yet. I was already opening my heart to the possibilities. We continued to talk about how we still had a great friendship, and he said that he'd give his life for me. I thought, I love you, too.
The thought took me by surprise.
The next day was Sunday. We were home. The trip to Utah had been SO GOOD for me. I felt so rejuvenated. But it had been a week, and I owed Mr. Beatles a phone call. I was not looking forward to it. At all.
But I sucked it up and did what I had to do.
I told Mr. Beatles that it just wasn't right. I had really, really wanted it to be, but it just wasn't. And I couldn't ignore it any longer. He was pretty devastated and upset. He cried and begged. He got really angry. But I was not about to change my mind. I apologized again and again. I told him that I was finally following the Spirit, and he had as much access to revelation as I did. He said that he'd already got his answer and he didn't have to ask again. I didn't really have an answer for that. I just apologized again.
I told him I'd send him the ring. He just said, "Oh, thanks," really sarcastically. Then he started in on how much money he'd spent on me. He'd only taken me to his hometown near Seattle because I wanted to see the ocean, then he'd had to drive "really far" out of his way to take me to Wichita on his way to Kentucky. I asked him if he wanted me to send him a check for the estimated cost of everything. Would $500 cover it? I reminded him that I'd paid for nearly half of my ring as well. I said it was just money. I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do.
I told him that he deserved someone who loved him as much as he loved her. He said he thought he'd found her. (Ow.) I apologized a few more times, then ended the conversation.
After I hung up, I was shaking. I was physically weak. I walked out into the living room. The only thing I wanted was a hug from Superman. He didn't ask any questions. I just hugged him, and felt such comfort. Then I walked outside and laid down on the porch swing. I kept telling myself, You did the right thing. You did the right thing. The man for you is still out there. You did the right thing.
Then blessedly, I fell asleep. I really think that nap was the answer to a prayer I hadn't prayed. When I woke up, I could barely remember the awful conversation I'd had with Mr. Beatles. It was wonderful.
The next night I went to Family Home Evening with the singles' ward. (I had been attending the singles ward since I'd been home.) Superman and some others of my friends were there, and it was a fun activity. Superman asked if we could get together the next day -- he wanted to tell me what he had said in Chinese. I told him that the next morning sounded good to me.
Superman stayed the night at my house that night (since his home was 45 minutes away and he didn't actually have a car.) I stayed the night with his sister and her room mate in their apartment to maintain some propriety.
He picked me up the next day and drove to a spot near the lake in the my neighborhood. We got out of the car and sat down next to a small tree.
After some small talk, he told me that the direct translation of what Wo quan xin de ai ni was, "I love you with all my heart." He said that the Taiwanese are never that open with their emotions, and he knew that when he said it.
I told him that was what I thought he'd said. (Such a romantic reply, eh?) I started thinking out loud, sharing my feelings about him and Mr. Beatles. (Again, the romantic-ness astounds me.) I talked about how I was having a hard time trusting my feelings.
Superman suggested that we pray. We each prayed aloud, asking for clarity. I felt so good and peaceful and was able to trust those feeling enough to continue with what I was thinking.
I told Superman that several times throughout our trip to Utah I had wanted to reach out and hold his hand. The more we talked there, the more comfortable I became with what I was feeling, and I told him that I loved him, too. He took my hand, and we kissed.
He pulled back and told me that he had something for me and went to some nearby bushes. For some reason, I actually thought he was going to propose. I was flabbergasted. About a million things flashed through my mind in the 5 seconds it took him to get the bushes then turn to me. Is he really gonna propose? What am I gonna say? What does the ring look like? Did he get a marquis? Where'd he get the money? His parents? WHAT AM I GONNA SAY?!?!?
Then he turned around and I saw what was in his hands. 4 roses, and a bag of M&M's. (The man knows I love both.) I can't tell you the relief I felt!! I told him that I had actually thought he was going to propose right then and there. He laughed and said no, he wasn't planning on it, but maybe it was something we should talk about.
And that's when I started to freak out.
I had just broken off an engagement TWO DAYS before. And he was already bringing up the "m" word? And he'd only been home from his mission for two weeks. He mentioned that August might be a good time, in between his summer and fall semesters at BYU.
Uhhh......I was just gonna marry one guy in August, and now you're talking about me marrying another one?
I managed to keep my cool and told him that I didn't think there was any big hurry.
We went to lunch at Chili's (because that's what we do), then went to see my mom at the small bookstore where she worked. We walked in smiling and holding hands and my mom nearly passed out. She did fall to the floor, thanking Heavenly Father. Superman asked me if we could go out on a date Thursday night, I request I was happy to grant.
I went to work that afternoon with a lot to think about. But the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't believe what I'd said and done. I felt like I really did love Superman but I was NOT ready for another serious relationship! I needed some time to heal from my last disaster of a relationship. I loved Superman, but I wasn't in love with him. There just hadn't been adequate time for that. I knew I was falling in love with him, but I wasn't quite there yet.
That night when we met up, I told Superman that I was having some second thoughts, and I was sorry I hadn't said more when we talked that morning.
He told me he had actually expected to hear all that when we had talked earlier, and he completely understood it. He said he'd still head to BYU in a few days (he had mentioned not going for the summer and us getting married), and for me just to take whatever time I needed. (Such a difference from when I said the same thing to Mr. Beatles.) Superman asked if I still wanted to go out on Thursday, which I did. I might not have been ready to marry him that instant, but I still really liked him!
The evening was an entire surprise, which I loved. We went to the Olive Garden, which is exactly what I would've picked if he'd asked my preference. Then we went back to my house where I was asked to change from my dressy clothes to some more casual clothes. When I was done changing, Superman blindfolded and escorted me to my parent's back patio. He had all the tiki torches and every candle my parents owned out and lit. The patio swing was set up in front of our little TV. (Superman obviously had some help getting things set up. My mom was mare than happy to help in any way.)
We sat snuggled up on the swing and watched "The Princess Bride," (our favorite cult classic) and "Anna and the King." The song at the end of that movie, "How can I not love you?" had become my theme song when Superman left on his mission. (I put it in my playlist. If you don't know the song, take a listen and you'll quickly understand why my teen-angst ridden heart identified with it.) When the song came on as the credits rolled, I mentioned that I loved it. Superman (who knows how to take a hint) asked if I'd like to dance. Which I did.
We danced, not really talking, while I thought about how much I had loved him before. When the song was over, he turned on the CD player he'd set up and our song (Everything I Do) came on. He whispered all the words to me again, and when he got to "I'd die for you, " I thought he was going to kiss me (recreating our first kiss). But he didn't. He just looked at me and let it all sink in. I put my head on his shoulder, grateful he didn't try to kiss me, but kinda wishing he had.
The next day, Friday, June 20, was Kelli's wedding reception. Superman was leaving for BYU the next day. His mom was driving him out, and my mom (her best friend) was worried about her driving home all by herself. So I asked his mom (Robin) if she'd like me to come and help drive back. She said she'd really appreciate it. I'm sure my mom had ulterior motives, but I didn't care. I wanted Robin to be safe on the 16-hour drive back, but I also wanted to see more of Superman. I needed to see more of him. I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
So we headed out for Utah the next afternoon. They were taking their extended-cab pick-up. I think that's what you call it. I didn't have a full back seat -- just two seats you pulled down from the side. Not exactly the most comfortable thing to be sitting on for a long road trip. I ended up just sitting on the floor of the cab.
Once again, the drive out to Utah was utterly fantastic. This time, Superman shared story after story from his mission with his mom and I. (Since I had missed them all the night of his homecoming.) I felt the Spirit often throughout his stories. At one point, I remember looking up at him and feeling overwhelming feelings of love. (It's one of those images that's ingrained in my mind. We were driving through Colorado, and there were green mountains behind him.) I remember feeling love in all it's forms -- romantic love, the love you have for your family, the kind you feel for your best friend, and the kind that makes you want to give anything for that person. I was just overwhelmed by how strongly I felt.
We stopped in Grand Junction, CO just before midnight. We found a chapel and went to church the next morning before heading out. After church we stopped at Wendy's for lunch. Superman didn't go in with Robin and I because it was the Sabbath and he didn't want to purchase food. Robin and I were hungry enough that we were willing to bend the rules a bit. :o) I remember looking out the window, seeing Superman sitting in the truck, reading his scriptures.
Robin and I had a really good talk over lunch. She talked about how much she loved her son. (A LOT.) Then she talked about how much she loved my mom. (Almost as much.) She talked about how much my mom loved me. (A LOT.) She talked about what a hard time my mom had had when I was engaged to Mr. Beatles. It was hard for Rohin to see her best friend suffering so much while she was unable to do anything. Once Superman came home from his mission and realized that he needed to be part of my "intervention," she realized that she was going to have to sacrifice her son. She hadn't seen him for two years. Well, actually, she hadn't really seen him for 3 years. The summer we dated he was rarely home. Then he left for BASIC. When he got back, he was busy preparing for his mission and spending time with friends who needed him. She had really been looking forward to these weeks between his homecoming and going to school to spend with him.
But then she told me that she loved my mom enough to sacrifice her son so he could help me. And that she loved me that much, too.
In that moment, I got a brief glimpse of the love that Heavenly Father has for His Son, and His other children.
We drove the rest of the way to Provo that day. We checked into a hotel, drove around campus to find where Superman's classes the next would be, and drove by the apartment he'd move into.
The next day was a busy one. We dropped Superman off for his morning of classes. We checked into and moved some things into his apartment. We picked him up at noon and bought text books. Then we bought him some "normal" clothes, since all he really had was stuff from his mission. Then we actually bought a car for him. It was a crazy day.
It was a really hard day for me, too. We'd had such a great trip out. All the love I felt for him on Saturday, the discussions we'd had on Sunday.......it was so fantastic. I was falling more and more in love. We'd even held hands a few times. But Monday was so busy that there wasn't any time for "our relationship." I was also having some abdominal pain that made me cranky. Superman's normal teasing was just getting on my nerves. That, and being cramped in the back of a pick-up all day isn't exactly the funnest thing ever.
We went to Chili's that night for dinner (because that's what we do.) Superman and I drove back to the hotel in his car, so we'd have a chance to talk before Robin and I left the next day. He laid it on the line once again. He really wanted to date and be with me. He still had a few days to drop his classes if I wanted him to come back to Kansas for the summer. He still loved me.
I told him that I loved him, too.........as a best friend. It was the most I was able to give at the time. I'd felt such strong feelings over the weekend, but had been really confused when I wasn't completely infatuated with him that day. I thought that when you were in love, you were madly in love all the time, which I clearly wasn't. I really did love him as a best friend. I told him that I'd give my life for him. But that was all I could do at the time. He of course only heard, "I love you as a friend," and was heartbroken by that.
I told him that I did want to date him. I was only going to be 4 ours away in Rexburg. There were hundreds of couples who were in the same boat -- we'd make it work. We could talk on the phone and e-mail -- it'd be fine.
The next morning, Robin and I left for home. We had some really great talks that I'll go into later. (Yes, the saga's not over yet. But it's getting really close!) The next day, Wednesday, I was in a LOT of pain -- the same abdominal pain I'd been having on Monday, but far more intense. I went to the doctor, where they told me they thought I might have an ovarian cyst. They scheduled me to have an ultrasound the next day.
So I was a little scared that night. All I wanted to do was talk to Superman. I'd seen him every day since he got home from his mission nearly 3 weeks before, I and needed him. I really needed him. He had become my best friend again. But I didn't have his phone number. I knew the prefix (is that what you call the first 3 digits of a phone number?) and his apartment number, so I tried that. (A lot of the phone numbers at BYU-Idaho were that way.) Of course, that wasn't his number. But I was so desperate to talk to him, I tried different phone numbers for a solid hour. I had e-mailed him, but didn't hear back.
I went to bed that night scared and longing for Superman. I missed him SO MUCH and I honestly needed him. The more I thought of him, the more I wanted to be with him. The more I wanted him with me. The more I loved him.
I loved him. I really did. I realized it that night. Now that we were thousands of miles apart and I wasn't able to talk to him, I knew I loved him. I loved him with all my heart -- Wo quan zin de ai ni.
But just because you love someone doesn't mean you should marry them. I'd almost made that mistake before -- I'd only broken off my engagement to Mr. Beatles 11 days ago! This was crazy! What was I thinking? Was it just that I wanted to be married? That I wanted to be in love? Did I only love Superman because he wasn't there with me? WHAT KIND OF CRAZY GIRL WAS I?!?!?
I did NOT want to jump the gun again. I had convinced myself before that I'd had a witness from the Spirit that I was to marry someone. I was NOT going to make up something like that again. I would wait till I knew FOR SURE that God wanted me to marry the guy before I told him that *I* wanted to marry him.
So I was just waiting on the Lord.
Next time: Can I get a WITNESS?!?!?