Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 97: Fields of Gold, Chapter 6

Walking back to the car, I was quiet. Around us, people called "Happy New Year!" and blew on noise makers. Climbing into the backseat, I sat next to Dave. The other people in the car talked and filled the silence, while I sat there feeling the comfortable friendship between Dave and I. Realizing that he really did only think of me as a friend, and trying to finally adjust my own heart to accept that. To think the same. I turned my face, looked up at him, and smiled. He bent down and kissed me softly on the forehead. It was all I needed to be happy.

Back to Los Angeles. To soft rain on wilting gardenia petals and the smell of orange and grapefruit blossoms in the air. I embraced Los Angeles like I hadn't dared to before, spending more time alone. Exploring different areas of the city--from Dodger Stadium to the fabric district. I spent more time with other guys, and with new friends that were years older and wiser than I was. I worked and I enjoyed. I began to feel, in a way, at home.

Dave and I continued to send e-mails, as he launched back into his Linguistics major at BYU. Meanwhile, I applied, and was accepted, to the Jerusalem Study Abroad for fall semester. We both applied to be EFY counselors for the summer, and were offered jobs. My nanny-family was making a permanent move to Miami, and so I was leaving earlier than I had planned to so that they could hire a new nanny that would be able to fully cover the transition. I packed up the new clothes I'd bought, and the life I'd constructed in less than a year. I hugged my nanny-kids and my nanny-mom, who hugged me tightly and told me that I dreamed beautiful dreams. It was one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me. A friend picked me up at their beautiful home, I put my suitcase in the trunk, and we pulled away. I remembered arriving, scared out of my mind. Now, as I waved goodbye, I cried all the way to the airport.

Back in Utah, I found out that I couldn't go to Jerusalem in the fall, so they transferred my acceptance to winter semester and I would go to BYU in the fall. Preparing to start our second summer as counselors, I drove with Dave and his brother Mike and his girlfriend Sarah to go to the Manti Temple. We had a peaceful, magnificent evening--I remember thinking, as we talked, that there was no one in the world I would rather be with at that moment.

Especially for Youth started, but Dave and I were only scheduled to work one week in the same place. I didn't see him much, but--at the closing dance--he approached me. I was wearing an old fashioned, flounced dress from a thrift store, which all the counselors were doing. I turned to look at him, smiling, and he said "That is probably the most unflattering dress I have ever seen."

Now, I should mention that while I was home in December, Dave and I had gone clothes shopping together. I had tried on a very comfortable pair of pants that I thought I would buy until Dave informed me that they made my hips look wide. In that instance, I was grateful for his honesty. It saved me money. It saved me from looking like I had wide hips. But, in this case--at the dance, already wearing the dress, I only had one response: "Jerk." And I walked away. (Later, I would come to realize that every couple should have to go through this rite of passage--every girl should have her crush tell her what he really thinks of her outfit, and every guy should be called a jerk to his face at least once. Just get it out of the way early.)

Dave was leaving to Peru and Bolivia for the remainder of the summer for service opportunities, I was getting ready to start fall semester, and I had met someone new. Someone named Daniel.

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