Friday, September 13, 2013

...A Young Man and Young Woman Fell in Love.

Back in the we are on opposite sides of the group!
I don't remember what I thought after commenting on Roberto's new profile pic, but I do remember being excited when he wrote back two days later, clearly wanting to hear back from me. We started with the basics: work, school, an exchange of memories from the MTC. He asked for help with his English. I told him that he already wrote excellently well. I explained what I was doing in France. He mentioned that he went by Roby and that his hometown and current residence of Lecce, Italy wasn't too far away from Lyon...  They were small things that somehow made for rapid connections. Within just a couple days, our messages grew much longer and even became significantly more personal. I started checking my Facebook several times during the day to see if he'd responded yet and always felt unusually happy when I saw one of his messages. We fell into a pattern before a week had passed, and I started learning what times he was most likely to write back. But then one day, I didn't get a message.

It was getting late in the evening--almost time to go to bed--and I started feeling anxious. What had happened? Why hadn't he written back? Had I done something wrong? I must have reread my last message about ten times, carefully combing through it to make sure I hadn't said something stupid or something that could be misinterpreted culturally, linguistically, or otherwise. Finally, I went to bed feeling disappointed and yet telling myself not to be ridiculous. Obviously, people have lives and things they have to do. It's not like I was a priority for him, right? We weren't dating or anything--I had no claim on his time. But I'd been through similar situations before and they always ended up badly: waiting up for a text that never comes; hoping for an email response that is never written. This was probably just another one of those got-my-hopes-up-way-too-soon moments that I'd spend the next week or two coming down from. Residual bitterness from past experiences? Maybe. Fears created by old wounds? Absolutely.

This is where the next miracle happened. I woke up the following day, and, even though my hardened-by-experience side tried to stop my little-kid-at-Christmas side, I checked my Facebook first thing.

And he had written back.

Dear friends, not only had he written back, but he even apologized for not having written sooner. This seems like a very simple thing--and really, it is a simple thing that most people wouldn't think much of. But to me, it was a sign. In all my ten years of marriageable-age dating, I had never had a guy apologize to me for responding just a little later than normal--especially not without any prompting from me. Honestly, from that moment on, I was sold. Here was a man who obviously cared about my feelings, even if they are a little neurotic at times.

It was also at this point that I realized he had tried to contact me two years earlier, when I was elbows-deep in a master's program and struggling with my first time teaching a college French class. He had wanted to get to know me back then and had tried to spark a conversation on Facebook, but it never went anywhere. Frankly, I completely blew him off. I still don't remember why or what I was thinking. Ultimately, I guess it just wasn't the right time. In fact, back then I specifically did not want an intercultural relationship, because I felt like they were too complicated and would make a marriage too hard to navigate. I look back on that attitude with a smile now...but, I digress!

My favorite walk
At this point, I suddenly became very quiet about my personal life. It was unusual. I generally told at least my mom and a couple of good friends about every guy I was interested in. But this felt so...BIG...that I took a little while to open up about what was happening. And what exactly was happening? Well, I was discovering remarkable similarities between myself and Roby. Our minds had similar ways of thinking. Our beliefs were entirely compatible. Our life goals were aligned. What we were looking for existed fully in the other person. I was falling in love. And I could sense that he felt the same way. We hadn't spent a moment together in over five years, and yet I felt like I knew him very well. I began taking long walks in the crisp, spring air and spent a lot of time just thinking. I will always associate that season with those feelings--fresh blossoms mixed with new emotions and ideas. I didn't even know yet that the next series of even bigger miracles was just around the corner.


  1. OH boy this is good. I can't wait to hear the rest.

  2. You write so well, it really is fun.