Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 98: Fields of Gold, Chapter 7

I met Daniel at EFY, too. He wasn't a counselor, but an EMT.

How do you go about explaining a former relationship--let alone a former engagement? To disentangle all the good at the beginning, from the bad at the end? I try to remember back to those early dates, and how I felt before I ever knew how things would turn out.

So, who was Daniel? Daniel was adoring. He poured attention and affection in my direction. He loved to take pictures of me smiling, or us together. He gave compliments. He had a goatee. He had emergency medical kits in his trunk, including one to deliver a baby. He always backed his car into parking spaces, so he could be ready to go at a moment's notice. He was neat and tidy. He struggled with learning disabilities. He was the youngest. All these things, and so many more. He was complex, and I was naive. Those two things, combined, would turn out to be a bad combination.

He proposed on an October night, and I accepted. We began our engagement, but set no date since I was still planning to go to Jerusalem in the winter. I told Dave, and even showed him my wedding dress. His brother Mike asked me if I was really going to marry Daniel. His soon to be sister-in-law Sarah told me that I was supposed to marry Dave. I told them, both, that Dave wasn't interested. Oh--and because I was in love with someone else. (Red flags, anyone?)

We had a beautiful Indian Summer that entered into winter. The Jerusalem Study Abroad was cancelled because of unrest in the Near East, so we moved our date up to January. We chose our wedding venue, picked our colors (periwinkle and navy blue--my favorite color and his favorite color), took my bridal pictures in the snow, with both of us. They were breathtaking. Everything for our fairytale wedding was coming together beautifully, while the fabric of our relationship was disintegrating before my eyes. Some of Daniel's struggles with obsessive compulsive disorders were coming out. Sometimes I felt like I was just an object he was seeking to place among his orderly collections. I felt pressured to be thin and perfect. We had fewer and fewer things to talk about, so--instead--we made out. (That, by the way, is a very stupid thing to do.)

It was a December night. Cold. Our wedding was a month away, and I couldn't bring myself to send out wedding invitations. We were talking on the phone, and the person on the end was not the man I was in love with. Bewildered, I asked if he even loved me anymore. "If I ever did, I don't remember anymore...but it's okay. We can still get married, because the love goes away eventually anyway." It took me a heartbeat to comprehend what he had said. What we were.

"What do we do now?" he asked. "Well" I replied "We don't get married on January 19th."

Our engagement was off, and our attempt to resucitate our relationship failed spectacularly and we decided it was best not to see each other again. My study abroad in Jerusalem was cancelled. Dave was beginning to date a girl named Mary.

For me, it was on to Plan B--I submitted my application to be a missionary for my church the Sunday after what would have been my wedding day. I had always wanted to serve a mission, which girls can apply to do when they're 21.

I was 21 and 4 months old the day that I stood there holding a big white envelope. Broken hearted, but hopeful. Looking and moving ahead in every way. My life, including where I would be living and what language I would be speaking for the next 18 months, depended on the contents of that envelope.


Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

not commenting much, but following this story religiously, by the way. Love it; it's great!

jani said...

BTW, I am LOVING reading this... you are such a great author- whitty and fun- you paint a wonderfully descriptive picture... no, I haven't 'subscribed' per se to your blog, only because you're in my google reader- so I know when you update... I've got to go back to the beginning and read from there though.... Loves-

Denise said...

Okay... this was a necessary chapter, but not nearly as fun to read. I very much enjoy, however, the directness with which you share feelings and thoughts. Some almost dazzling in portraying the feeling of things in what ends up to be an almost masterful understatement. Very good, very you. Absolutely cannot wait for more. Denise