(I'm spending a few more 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.)
With outfit chosen and on a hanger waiting, all that was left was picking up my guy at the airport. I picked him up just before noon. We grabbed a quick lunch before heading back to my apartment to pack the car for our journey. While we gathered up my bags and hanging clothes for the weekend, Dave used my apartment phone (no cell phones back then!) to call a Kamp friend of his who went to my school. I knew he hadn't seen his friend since summer, and I wondered what kind of plans they seemed to be making on the phone.
When Dave got off the phone, he told me, "That's funny--John is heading home to Branson today, too! I told him we should caravan, and follow each other there."
I didn't think much about it. I knew John lived in Branson, but I didn't think it was really necessary to follow each other, since I knew how to get there. But, that was just how Dave was--always calling up friends wherever he was visiting, and always game for spontaneous meet-ups.
We had to wait an extra 20 minutes or so for John to us meet at my apartment. I stayed silent about it, even though those extra minutes tugged on my already anxious attitude. Dave and John and I exchanged some small talk before we started to load up in our 2 cars. As I settled into the passenger seat of my Honda, Dave walked over from John's car, and leaned in the window, instead of getting in the driver's seat. In an upbeat voice, he said, "Hey--John has something he really needs to talk about. Would you mind driving for just a little while, and I'll ride with him?"
Dave's question really threw me off. I stuttered a little as I said, "Oh. You want me to drive? Oh. Okay."
Dave reassured me that he'd much rather ride with me, but that John really needed to talk. Plus, they would lead the way, and watch as I followed behind.
I tried to hide my irritation as I got out and climbed into the driver's seat. I wanted to be flexible, but I really didn't understand why Dave would ride with someone else--especially on a day as important as today.
I mean, not that Dave had ever said it was "the day." I was just making that huge assumption based on the swanky restraurant we had reservations for that evening.
I followed John and Dave in his little white truck. I always loved the drive to Branson, through the curves and hills of the Ozark mountains. At first, I thought it was great that John was driving so fast around those curves. The quicker he drove, the faster Dave could get back in my car and we could start our day together. But, after a while, it started raining, and John didn't slow down. I was a little more cautious than he, and fell behind on one of the big hills. And after awhile, I realized they had left me behind, completely.
I was utterly floored that they had left me. And in the pouring rain, driving all by myself. I kept thinking, "SURELY Dave will ask John to stop, so they can check on me. Make sure I'm okay. Make sure I'm not broken down on some lonely road all by myself. Make sure I haven't DIED in a CAR WRECK. In. The. RAIN."
All of my formerly nervous thoughts suddenly became a pity party of "poor abandoned and forgotten me" thoughts.
And any evening proposal thoughts vanished completely from my mind. All I was focused on at that point was trying to see the road through the pounding water on my windshield, and feeling abandoned and un-cared for.
Little did I know in those long 2 hours in the rain, was that Dave and John's goal was to lose me. They couldn't believe I had kept up as long as I did.
To be continued...