Part Sept: Hurry Up and Wait
Haven’t read the beginning of this story? You’re going to want to do that first.
Hey girls, want to know how to scare a man off?
Tell him God said you two are supposed to get married.
So I waited, quietly.
You might think it’d be easier, the waiting, when you know what you’re waiting for. But I’m not so sure.
Simon and I continued to spend just about every waking minute together. He invited me to hear his friend’s really bad metal band one night at a club in town. I went with him, and laughed when he said how the guy was known for being the “fastest guitar player we know, but not the best.”
On the walk home, he made me laugh again, and without thinking, I grabbed his hand.
“Oh gosh,” I said, when I realized what I’d done. “We have to talk about this.”
He looked scared.
“Tomorrow?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered. “Tomorrow.”
The next day, I met him halfway between our houses, and we walked together to a bench on a cliff. The sun was bright, and we could see tiny surfers in the North Sea.
I turned to face him, and he took my hand. “You go first.”
“Right,” I answered. “Here’s the thing….”
And I told him how I liked him. I said some other stuff too, that I can’t really remember. I probably gave him too much information about my past and my heart, because I’m prone to do that.
He listened quietly, and then he said, “I like you too. So much. But I just can’t see how it’s going to work. I live in England, and you live in America. It’s ridiculous.”
He went on: “And I can’t see how I’m any good for you, how I’d be any help to you, spiritually. I think you’ve got a lot more figured out than I do.”
I wanted to laugh, and maybe I did. Because I had nothing figured out, except that God loved me, and that He’d brought me to one of the most beautiful places on earth, and that He’d somehow forgiven me for all the stupid stuff I’d done – the stuff I was struggling to forgive myself for. And also that He’d led me to this boy – this man – who said things to me about life and God and art and music that I couldn’t have even scripted. Things that made so much sense to me, that my whole self agreed with.
“I think you’re wrong,” I said. “But here’s what I think we do. We’re here now. And we feel this way about each other. So let’s enjoy it. Let’s hang out and have fun, and not worry about what happens in December. We’ll figure that part out when we get to it. Because if it all works out – you know, the future – then that’s awesome. But if it doesn’t, then we’ll have this to look back on. This beautiful memory of us in England in the autumn.”
The rest of the semester went by like a dream – a really, really good dream.
There were bad times, too, like the time he told me he hoped we’d always be friends: “You know, like, maybe I could come visit you and your husband in North Carolina one day.”
But most of it was good. We went to hear a lot of bands. He introduced me to Kings of Convenience and Crowded House, and I introduced him to Nickel Creek and Alison Krauss. We drank a lot of pints of beer and glasses of wine at The Cask Inn, and when we’d walk home in the freezing cold, he’d grab my hand and said, “Come into my pocket.”
I could tell there were days when he let himself go a bit, let himself start to see what the future could look like.
And on the days when he wouldn’t, I’d go to my journal and pour out all my hopes and my fears to my Father. Then I’d turn the page again, and read the words He’d spoken.