So sorry to have taken such a long pause in getting back to this story. We're finally to the good parts too! Hang in there with me…hope you're still reading :)
To read this story from the beginning, click HERE and scroll to the bottom. Enjoy!
Prom season found its way to my school in the spring. The girls bustle with excitement, sharing hair styles and dress colors. Brent and I are still communicating, in some form, daily. Mainly I still hear from him through emails, on occasion on the phone, and at least once a week at bible study or when our friends get together. Honestly, not much as changed between us since February.
Two months have passed without so much as a hand being held. One hug has been shared. I am becoming increasingly aware of these voids in the growth of our “relationship.” After all, aren’t those things supposed to happen naturally when you start “seeing someone?” When someone knows you like them, aren’t you supposed to show, in some physical way, affirmation that you like them too? I’d been waiting for this relationship to develop for what felt like an eternity, and now that it was happening I felt like I was just allowed to smile more freely around Brent—but not express anything else through a physical touch. I knew he liked me, because there was the song, and the secret side glances, and the increasing number of questions he asked in order to know me more. But I can’t help but wonder if something is wrong that causes him to pause when he wants to reach for me hand? Have I crossed too deeply into the “friendship threshold” to make him cringe at the thought of ever hugging me—or ever leaning in for a kiss?
We are close, very close, there is no doubting that. We share secrets and intimate moments, but my goodness I want to hold his hand—to feel its warmth in mine and know we are connected in a way he has connected with few others. Am I asking too much of our 2 month relationship? I asked my friend Brandon, who was well-versed in women and relationships—if there was something I was doing wrong. His advice? “Put on the Beatles ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ the next time you’re in the car together.” Eye roll.
Spring was beginning to assert itself more openly on the trees around town, and Brent was coming over for supper. After eating we move to the front porch, our feet tucked under the railing and dangling into the evening air. As we chat, we subconsciously move closer and closer together. Eventually, amidst a conversation about future careers and college choices, our swinging feet become intertwined. As my left leg interlocks with his right, the conversation does not stop. I feel no tension enter the air. My pulse quickens slightly at the rare contact happening between us. The chill of Spring quickly seeps out of the woods around us, but I am determined to stay out here, legs linked, as long as my numbing body allows.
I slide into the pew next to Brent. Wednesday night youth group in St. Joe is one of my favorite times of the week. Not only do I get to have real worship with kids my age, but I get to see him. Sigh. The thought still makes my toes tingle.
As the youth pastor begins his announcements, Brent jots me a quick note on an old bulletin left in the pew from Sunday.
What do you want to do about this whole prom thing?
Is he seriously asking me to prom via a note, in the middle of youth group? Whatever. I’m too excited at the possibility of getting dressed up and dancing with him that I don’t care how lame it is.
I don’t care. What do you think? I scribble back, caring very deeply but still trying to play it cool in case he thinks it was the worst idea ever.
I mean, if you want to, we can go… I think its April 16th.
I notice his wrong form of "its," affirming that my desire to pursue an English degree in the fall is the right one. And is he still testing me or does he really WANT to go? Okay…cool…sounds good to me. Mine is May 7th.
And with that, our “conversation” was over and I had a date to prom.
April 16th came quickly. My pink, strapless tulle dress drapes my 18 year old frame. Brent pulls into the driveway and the cameras come out. He is wearing his dad’s old three piece suit as he hands me a corsage of daisies. He wraps his arm around my waist for a picture and I nearly shudder at the touch—I’m not used to feeling his body so near my own.
He holds the door open to his red Passat, the same car we shared our conversation in back in February, and as I grab the bottom of my dress and climb in I smile at him. He waves to my parents, still standing on the front porch with their cameras out, as he maneuvers around to the driver’s side. On the way out of town he nearly runs off the road. I grab the center console and he simply says, “Sorry, I just couldn’t stop looking at you.”
His school’s prom is held in the cafeteria. We enter the room and are immediately ushered over to the photographer. “Are you a couple or just here together?”
“A couple,” Brent answers without hesitation, answering not only the photographer’s question but mine as well.
“Okay, then I need you to stand behind her and put your arms here and…here…like so…perfect. Now you, lovely lady, if you could place your hands on his…perfect. Hold that.” I hope Brent doesn’t feel my heart pounding. He has his arms wrapped around my waist and is breathing on my neck—this is by far the closest I have ever been to this guy. FLASH! “Great, thanks. NEXT!” And just like that the moment has passed.
We sit down and we eat and laugh and then the music begins. I wrap my tan arms around his slender neck and we sway back and forth as the multi-colored lights dance on the white tile floor. Our conversation hops from topic to topic with the rhythm of the music, and when I divulge the secret that I’m not ticklish, he feels the need to check. He reaches for my armpits, and though I look dainty and lady-like, I know that he’ll find a large amount of sweat if he really reaches them. My reflexes are too slow and I grimace as he notices the perspiration. I’m finished. Totally finished. Why can’t I just “glisten” like a normal girl? Why do I have to sweat SO much?! He retracts his hand, and trying to save the moment I say something like, “I may not be ticklish but I sweat.”
I wait for what seems like minutes as he wipes his fingers inconspicuously on his suit jacket before he says, “It is kind of warm in here.” Unbelievable, he’s actually not going to send me packing right now!
The dance quickly withers like a rose in the heat of July, and so we gather our shoes and other belongings that are piled along the wall. Our friends ask if we’d like to join them for bowling, but we decide to pass—after all we only get so many moments together. After going back to his house, filling his parents in briefly on the hoopla of the dance, and changing into more comfortable clothes, we drive to a near by town with no specific plans on our mind; we don’t need plans, we have one another’s company. We stop at a gas station and tumble back into the car, and then…with no revelry or fanfare… he puts the car into drive and reaches over and grabs my hand.
I expect it to be like the time I held another boy’s hand in 8th grade. We were at a super bowl party and our hands met, and we stayed like that, glued to the other, for the remainder of the game, afraid if we moved the other would let go. Two hours of sweaty palms and no movement is a strange thing. But here, in this car with Brent, it is the most natural thing to be holding his hand. I am not afraid to move, or even let go, because I know it will be there again. I caress his palm with my thumb as our conversation flows throughout the evening.
I find myself counting down the days until my school's prom—May 7th seems to be dragging her pretty little feet. Eventually though, when I wake up, it's finally here.
This prom I'm going to hold nothing back. I know he is interested. We've held hands a couple times, and I look dang good in my black and white dress. This time he has rented a tux and borrowed his sister's black Tahoe. We are riding.in.style.
We decide, in order to save a little cash, to drive through Fazoli's and take our food to a park. We order, and I set my lemonade on the dashboard, bend over to fix my shoe strap, and Brent slams on the gas to get in the correct lane of traffic. My drink flies over…all over my beautiful dress. Normally, in this situation, I would freak out. But he's so apologetic and just so cute that I can't do anything but laugh. I scrounge around and find napkins to soak up the mess, and by the time we arrive at the park I'm feeling a little put back together.
Brent says grace and we dig in to our pasta meals. My stomach has been turning with excitement all morning, and I can barely calm it down enough now to eat. This NEVER happens to me. I glance across the picnic table at Brent and in my own silent prayer thank the Lord for this blessing. I notice Brent looking at something across the pond and follow his line of vision. A wedding! I hope beyond hope it is a sign, but then focus on trying to get some food in my stomach lest I scare this poor boy away.
We finally make it to the dance, no real signs that I'm wearing my lemonade, and begin to mingle with my friends. But as the night progresses, we continually find ourselves lost in conversation. He knows better than to try to tickle my armpits now, and as we slow dance on the gym floor it is as if we are the only ones in the room. I link my arms closer around his neck, and his hands link more to embrace me closer as we dance. The DJ switches to a new song and we continue to sway in the silent embrace listening to the lyrics, One word, that's all you said/ something in your voice caused me to turn my head. Your smile, just captured me, and you were in my future as far as I could see…You had me from hello…
"That's pretty much how it went," he whispers in my ear. I don't say anything, but feel the freedom to lay my head on his chest as he begins to sing in my ear.
Lord, if this night goes on forever I'd be okay with that, I pray as the song draws to a close.
We again forego an evening with friends and head back to my house. My mom has laid out all the necessary tools for making smores and my dad has stoked the fire, a real sign that this guy is growing on them too. We pull up our lawn chairs and in the glow of the fire I realize we are becoming more than just friends. I'm so overwhelmed by the situation and the evening and our inevitable futures apart that I become very quiet.
Noticing the change, he reaches over and grabs my knee. "You know, Kels, if I have to wait for you through four years of college I will."