That is absolutely true. That February 2002 weekend was the Young Life Women’s retreat, and I was the host… which is a fancy way of saying I collected the money and made sure everyone had towels. Kevin (to your left) and Curt came down to volunteer and help me get some side-work done in-between me racing to find toilet paper for the front bathrooms. Women’s Retreats are serious about their toilet paper and paper towels. Men’s Retreats, not so much.
Our relationship began a week later (Thank you, Chelsey and Kevin.) by letters and phone calls. We talked once or twice a week for an hour. This is fascinating for me to think about now, because I was three hours behind him and the kid can barely keep his eyes open past 10 o’clock. Continuing…
The Young Life Men’s Retreat was coming up… right about this time of year. Kevin thought maybe Curt should come for that, too. Like, as an actual participant in the weekend- being a man and all. Brilliant. It is decided that Curt will come back to California for the retreat and then he’ll add on an extra day at the end for the two of us to hang out. Like, a date or something. He’ll stay up the hill with the McKenzies and we’ll talk and hang out… in person.
As the weekend approaches, I am not panicky. I feel remarkably calm. Natural. Fine. Seriously. We like each other, we know it, and it’s good. He’s going to come, it will be awkward at first, and then it’s going to be wonderful. There will prolly be Puccini somewhere… and maybe maybe he’ll hold my hand- if it’s right. He’ll know if it’s right. I wonder if he’ll know if it’s right? And what about the other thing? The kissing thing. Do I tell him? Do I not? Will it scare him? Will he laugh at me? I should tell him. I’m 25. He’ll know if I don’t tell him. Maybe I shouldn’t tell him… and maybe he’ll never know. But, I’m 25. I should tell him because it’s a stinkin’ big deal and I don’t want the Big Deal-ness of it just floating on by into the cool night air. I’ll tell him. Tonight.
Hey! It’s me. How are you?
I am good. How are you? How is Michigan?
It’s good. blah blah blah blah
Great! blah blah blah blah
So… are you getting nervous for me to come?
Actually, no. I’m good. But I do want to talk to you about something.
Go for it.
[big breath] Ok. So I’ve been thinkin’ about this for awhile and whether or not I should tell you and I’ve finally decided I am going to tell you because it’s a big deal to me and I don’t want to have to talk about it when you’re here because that would be really awkward and I think things are already gonna be awkward in the beginning, so why waste more time, ya know? The thing is Curt, I’ve never been kissed before. I mean, I’ve never even held someone’s hand before! And I’m not nervous or anything, but I just want to get that out there because if you want to hold my hand you need to just do it, ok? Don’t ask me, because then I’ll panic and say no. So, if it’s right, just go for it. And, really, same for the whole kissing thing, ok? I’ll totally freak out. So don’t ask me, ok? You decide. I just, well… it’s kind of a big deal and I don’t even know what to say about it except I guess I just did and… that’s it.
[big. fat. silence.]
Let’s just, uh… let’s just see how things go, ok?
And then I died.
I fell right down on the floor in my California bedroom and I died, still holding the phone.
Right. Of course. Because I had forgotten to even consider the possibility that maybe he wouldn’t even want to kiss me. Basically, I am an idiot. Kill me now.
He came anyway (bless his heart), and the retreat happened, and Kevin left, and the extra day came. We spent the morning with the McKenzies (they are a whole ‘nother post unto themselves and deservedly so) and then took off for Cuyamaca and a hike that may very well be gone now due to the fires these past 5 years. We walked around the dried up lake and halfway back where we stopped on a random boulder and just sat for awhile. He was sitting behind me.
“I just want to tell you that I love you.”
[panic… and then, strangely, calm]
“Well, Curt…I love you, too.”
[The boy scoots around to sit in front of me… and whispers,] “Is it alright if I kiss you?”
[sidebar] Do people not think I’m serious when I talk? Did I not give explicit instructions on how this whole event was to go down? Gah. [exasperation exasperation exasperation, hands up in the air]
It went fine, thank you. I totally laughed out loud in the middle of it because, Dude… kissing is weird. But after that it was totally fine. I guess. I mean, we’re married now, so I think it was fine. I dunno. I don’t have much to go on. But, all in all, I’d say it went just fine.
And, now you know.