(I'm spending a few days this week continuing the Summer Camp Love Story I began telling...uh, way too long ago. If you need to catch up on the action, click here.)
My parents greeted us at the motel door at that past midnight hour. They didn't have harsh words for Dave, but they did express frustration at our thoughtlessness. We'd said we were going out for a quick frozen yogurt, and didn't return for hours. They had no way of knowing we were just out in the parking lot the whole time, planning our future. (Eeeek!)
I didn't even hug Dave goodbye at that point. I just slipped into the room, getting ready for bed quickly, and quietly. I didn't like leaving Dave on such a negative note, but my mind was swirling from our talk that evening of future plans. I fell asleep that night in a strange motel room, and dreamed of myself at a different college, and living in a town in Texas I'd never even visited.
I pointed my packed-full Honda Accord south towards Arkansas, heading home. But, not to stay. My life was now heading in a brand new direction.
My entire life had been changed in two short months at summer camp. That should have scared me a whole lot more than it did. Mostly, I was just excited, and counting the days until I could see my handsome blond haired, blue eyed guy.
I'd been home only a couple of days when I got a small brown envelope in the mail. My heart jumped when I saw Dave's loopy cursive. As I ran a thumb over my name, I felt like I could feel and see his love--just in the way he wrote my name. The very same way in all the notes he'd sent me at Kamp.
I took the package up to my bedroom to open. I could hear a familiar rattle inside, and knew I wanted to be alone to open it. Sitting cross-legged on my bed, I pulled a cassette tape out of the envelope, and read the small white note accompanying it. Again--the tidy cursive reminding me of the new 4th-grade students he'd soon meet. These thoughts made me smile, breathless. But the actual words he wrote? They made my hands shake and my heart pound as I slipped the clear gray cassette into my stereo.
I knew Dave wasn't the type to send casual mix-tapes. I knew that this song he'd sent had a message for me. Words, and their precise meanings, were important to Dave. I could be sure that whatever song was on the tape was meant especially for me. Every single word.
I closed my eyes and pressed "play."
As the song began, and the words sang out, I found tears dragging down my cheeks. Even though I was unsure of so many details in our long-distance future, Dave's cassette tape song for me was his promise.
No matter how the details worked themselves out--Dave was promising me they would. And he would be there, beside me.
I sat on my bed listening to the song over and over again, unable to move and thinking, "This is it. This. This is really, really going to happen."
I was both a little terrified of the unknowns, and also very sure I wanted to walk beside this man.
...To be continued...