it is well with my soul

Somedays are easier then others, but most days are like this day... and I miss him. I've realized the richness in having a long distance relationship [although most days I feel like it has me] and I've also realized the cycle that has become a part of my life these past four years. My amazing, God-sent, roommate Renae is also in a long-distance relationship/engagement and we have discusses and agreed on this cycle: It starts after first departing. Having just seen each other you would think this is a good part of the cyle-- but this isn't so much fun because the memory of being together is so fresh you realize how your day-to-day life isn't what it should be without the other. Then after a week or two, you settle back into the routine of not being together and although you still miss each other, you're okay. This lasts a day, maybe. :) Then you start gearing up for the next time you will see him, which is inevitably not soon enough. The 2 weeks before you see each other are miserable because you are anticipating it so much and yet there is so much standing between today and that day. And then you see each other...and then you leave and it begins again-- thus, the cycle. The title of this post is it is well with my soul though, and it is. There is a great quote: Wind is to fire what distance is to love, it extinguishes the small and enflames the great...and so, it is well with my soul.

and now, a story, concerning me and a certain someone :)

A date. Yes, it was just that. A number following a month. A day that was simply assigned a numerical value. But then he put on cologne and asked and it became a date (the type of thing you write in felt tip pen in your planner).
I am eighteen. Not the typical age one is before her first real date, which only increases the churning in my stomach that is now moving to my outer extremities. This is something I shouldn’t have procrastinated. I should have stopped hanging out with guys and I should have started dating them to avoid the awkward 18-year-old-date-thing.
Except I hadn’t, and now he was here—he being the guy who had put on cologne and who had the guts to actually ask out the girl who was “one of the guys” and who didn’t wear perfume until this exact moment. He being the guy who was always one of my best friends…and the churning begins again as I use the past tense was as the lines have been blurred and I fear to use the is.
But as I step in the car the is gets in with me and helps me recognize that his freckle is still in the same spot, slightly off-centered on his forehead, and his laugh is still at an octave I can’t quite comprehend and his hand is still as tender as it brushes my left arm.
Not too long ago he and I have had a discussion in a cold car in February. It was February 8th, but that date was not a date and I didn’t know it would lead to this date. He told me what I feared and hoped and desired and pushed away. I’ve liked you for about 3 years now, he said in his parka, eyes looking through the windshield.
Now it’s April and I’m here and nothing had been official and then there was that day he wore cologne. And now I’m looking out that same windshield.
After a cheap dinner we decide the date thing to do is go to the park. Under a gazebo, with ducks floating in a pond nearby and rose buds showing on the bushes around us (I wish some of that were made up—it sounds too much like something that should be made up). He holds me innocently, the is of our friendship making the embrace more passionate somehow. And then it begins to rain and he kisses me (I swear I’m not making this up). No guy will ever have a chance now. As I kiss him back I want to pinch all this between my thumb and forefinger, saving it as a bookmark for a novel I may one day read.
The shower is not a gentle one and it forces us inside and he softly says I hope it never stops raining. And in his ear I whisper promise and hope.

The awkwardness of being 18 then still hits me sometimes, right in gut, as if someone has run for miles simply to punch me there. This blow now comes in the form of me being 21, still looking out that windshield and feeling like this—the same as that time he kissed me under the gazebo but scarier.
This day is a date but it has lost its power to be italicized and romanticized and now we are just two old people riding in the same car, touching each other’s thighs. I still pull out the bookmark I made between my fingertips that day in the park and am refreshed by the smell of rain and promise.
He takes me to the church where we first met in junior high and leads me to a picture of an elderly couple. Sometimes all I remember is the simplicity of the woman’s blue jumper and the time-washed denim of his overalls, the gate half open behind them. Today all I remember is my heartbeat, feeling his cologned presence behind me, knowing what I would find when I turned around and wouldn’t be looking in his eyes—knowing he would be on one knee.
I don’t remember which to remember, and as he slips the ring on my finger I realize I am 18. I still fear and hope and desire and push away, but I still look through that windshield and I know I will always fear, hope, desire, and push away. And that it will always be with him. I know we will fight, but then I will remember the way he smelled when he asked and the is of our friendship that will never be a was and the beauty and fear of his whisper in my ear.


Anonymous said...

I am happy that you mentioned my name in your blog. And contrary to popular opinion, I probably will read your blog when we are no longer face to face every day. That will be a happy/sad day. Happy because we will finally both be whole in the arms of our men, but sad because I will no longer get to wake up to your alarm in snooze mood, moaning at me to shut the window because you're cold. I love living with you, even when I drive you nuts every day!

Elizabeth said...

you are wonderful. i love reading anything you write. you have an amazing talent.

and you've inspired me.

mad love.