Friday, August 8, 2014

Best. Idea. Ever.

{Previously published on my old blog November 2011}

Today I've got a story for you, and I really, really like this story.

There was a guy with big blue eyes and sandy brown hair and a great smile. And there was a girl, who thought she was pretty average -- average height, weight, brown hair and eyes, with what could be called a "familiar" face. Everyone thought she looked like someone else, sometimes the girl next door (literally) and sometimes, if she was lucky, someone famous.

I guess you could say the story starts thirty-something years ago, but this part of it was seventeen years ago today. The girl and the guy had met at church the previous summer. She thought he knew -- since everyone else seemed to -- that she had a ridiculous crush on him, the kind that would never be requited since he was 3 1/2 years older than her. He was in college already, for Pete's sake, and she was cramming her junior and senior years of high school into one year so that she could graduate early and leave High School Hell behind her forever.

They would talk for hours whenever they were together, as the rest of the people around them seemed to disappear. He would call her or she would call him, and they'd talk until her mom got on the phone and said in a very perturbed voice (because her family lived in the Dark Ages and didn't have call-waiting), "Joy. Get. Off. The. Phone. NOW."

A couple times, he suggested they "go out sometime," but she knew that was a college guy's way of humoring a high school girl's crush. So she tried to keep her voice casual and say, "Yeah, that'd be nice... Maybe we could go to Safari's and get coffee or something." She pretended to be interested in other guys, but always remembered what she told her big sister the night she had met him: "If I don't marry him, I want to marry someone exactly like him."

It was such a silly thing to say, and she knew it, but there was always this tiny little spark of hope in her heart -- even when her sister came back from college youth group one night and announced that she was sure he was interested in someone else. But in October of that year, they started talking more frequently -- several times a week even -- and finally, around the middle of November, she had an idea.  A great idea. Maybe even, the best idea. It took a couple more days, but she finally worked up the courage to ask him.

"You know," she said, trying to keep the nervousness out of her voice, "I'm driving up to Davis tomorrow [about an hour from the town they lived in] to pick up my sister for the weekend. Mom's kind of scared for me to drive that far alone [not entirely a lie, since she had just gotten her license three months before], so I was wondering if you might want to come with me."

She bit her lip and waited for his answer, which came much more quickly and easily than she'd ever hoped -- "Sure!"

The next day she drove her parents' Chrysler New Yorker to his house. He was standing in front of it wearing jeans and a button-down shirt under his leather jacket. Her heart was pounding. She smiled and waved and as she stopped, he climbed in. Her favorite alternative-rock station was playing, and she said, "You can change the station if you want." But she hadn't expected him to say, "Okay," and switch to country. Goodness -- COUNTRY?!?! Still, she really, really liked him and knew it was either kick him out of the car right then, or... give (*gulp*) even country music a chance for the sake of... maybe not love... yet... but potential for it.

She took a deep breath and put the car into "drive." Because she knew that no one could make her laugh like he did. Because every time they talked, she didn't want to stop talking, but thought of more questions for him, or more she wanted to say. Because when he smiled at her, she felt like she had found her way home.

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