What were the chances that, somehow, Dave would turn around and see me as The One for Him? Maybe Europe had worked it's magic. Maybe I'd have a Sabrina-like effect on him, once he saw me again after 18 months. Maybe.
I found myself living at the edge of the Black Forest. Every morning I woke up and watched the fall colors change on a vineyard hugging the hillside next the black pine trees. The clouds seemed to be suspended from the sky, rather than a part of it, and the sunsets were golden and purple. Germany was my newest, and last, mission adventure. With one week left to go, I checked my mailbox again. (Can you see a pattern here?) Inside, was a birthday card from Dave. It included his current phone number, and an "I can't wait to see you and give you a huge hug" sentiment. The butterflies in my stomach were multiplying by the day.
I'll never forget sitting on that airplane as it rose slowly into the endless blue sky. The pilot dipped the plane steeply to one side, and I could see the trains, buildings, lakes, and mountains falling away from us. There were my beloved Alps. There was my lake--a still mirror. Above all, down there, were all the people I had come to love in 18 months. Dear friends. People I would never forget, who had permanently altered the shape of my soul. They were out of my hands now. I turned to the missionary next to me, Elder Wright from my hometown, who was returning after his two year mission. I asked him "Do things ever hurt just as much as you think they will?" His quiet response, "No. Sometimes they hurt a lot more."
Home. Home is a wonderful, and frightening, place to be after a long absence. I had been living in Europe on September 11th, 2001, and much had changed since I left. My country was different than I remembered it, and I found the changes to be jarring. I thought of Dave and wondered what else would've changed. Would he still be my best friend?
I called him my second day home. My hands shook as I picked up my parent's gray cordless phone and dialed the number. He picked up, and I felt a thousand emotions at the sound of his voice. I was in love with him, and he didn't know it. I'd fallen in love with him from thousands of miles away, and wasn't sure how to hide that. I wanted to see him. I needed to see him. Unfortunately, he had a date.