Wow, sorry, guys. Took me some time to get back to this! Have you missed any of the love story? You can catch up here.
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
- John Green, The Fault In Our Stars
I guess when it comes down to it, love is all about leaps. It’s not there until it is. At least, that’s the way it was for me. I had left Kyle that night, completely freaked out by his sudden declaration of love. But two days later as I again drove away, I rolled down my window and shouted at the top of my lungs across a parking lot, “I LOVE YOU, KYLE SURNAME!”
“I LOVE YOU, TOO!” he shouted back.
And that…was that.
There are two important things to know about the summer of 2005. (I mean, outside the scope of this story, there’s probably about fifty billion things to know about the summer of 2005.) But contextually…two things.
The first. From the second Kyle asked me to be his exclusive lady and from the second I said yes, there was a ticking clock on our relationship. I had accepted a summer stock job for a tiny theatre in the mountains and Kyle was going to California to see his older sister, who was pregnant at the time. I remember informing Kyle that we really couldn’t get serious because I was going to be leaving. “So this isn’t going anywhere, okay?” And those two months just FLEW by. We were spending every second we could together but the closer the summer got, the bigger the knot in my stomach. I didn’t want to say good-bye. Still, I knew how foolish it was to try to make it long-distance. It seemed like an unfair thing to ask. So I didn’t ask. And the summer crept closer.
And secondly…gulp….my relationship with Kyle was kindofatotalsecret. I was still living at home and I had gotten it into my head that my parents wouldn’t approve.So rather than risk losing him, I just didn’t tell anyone. I was so scared that I kept Kyle a secret for almost six months before my family found out. I think there are probably lots of people who still don’t know that except… now they do! It’s crazy how fear (even misplaced fear) can so motivate you. Right now, my mother is reading this and rolling her eyes heavenward. It all worked out, Mom, but I’m sorry for putting you through that, anyway.
As May rounded the corner and this unspoken need to make a decision grew, I was also desperately trying to keep this heavy secret from my parents. So when Kyle announced somewhat abruptly one afternoon, “I don’t want to break up,” I somehow knew that this moment was a turning point; that my answer, that our answer, was going to change the course of our lives, that we were somehow inextricably tying ourselves together. I imagine one of those grafted trees in which the different branches are cut open and brought together, lashed together, and they just somehow keep growing, sharing chlorophyll and sunlight and water because their fates are tied to one another.
I felt like I wasn’t just saying, “Yes, I want to make this work over the summer.” I was saying, “I want to make this work…forever.” And so I made a ridiculous demand. “Okay,” I said. “Then here’s the deal. If we don’t break up, we’re agreeing that this is going to work no matter what. That we have no doubts about the future of our relationship.” (???? Seriously??!!? I had some major GUTS back then!) It honestly didn’t occur to me at that second what exactly I was saying.
But Kyle didn’t even pause. “Yeah, okay,” he said.
“Okay, “ I said. “No doubts?”
“No doubts,” he said.
And to this day, every time one of us leaves the house or hangs up the phone, we say it.
Which is good because it would end up being one of the hardest summers of my life. Without a doubt.
TO BE CONTINUED