Drew and I

February 14, 2009
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3-21-90
San Fransisco, CA


So many times I’ve wondered what my life would be like if he hadn’t come walking into it. Barging into it would probably be more correct. I could write an entire novel explaining all of the rude things he has done to me. Of course, I could write seven thousand novels explaining all of the wonderful things he has done for me. Here is our story. . .



* * *
9-18-85
Henderson, TN
Saturday Afternoon


I walked into the local bookstore intent on purchasing a frappuccino from the coffee shop inside, then settling down with a book into one of those typical, fancy-looking patio-like chairs that were always found in coffee shops.

Ordering a tall, java chip frappuccino, I selected a table off in the corner, where peace and quiet ruled, unlike the noisy college dorm room I was so accustomed to. I waited impatiently for my frappuccino to be fixed up and ready to devour. I could just taste the frozen chocolate chips and whipped cream on my tongue, but caught myself when my mouth started to water.

Finally, the wait was over. I nearly jumped out of my chair and ran in my haste to retrieve my frappuccino from the lady working at the counter. But luckily, I had enough sense to just walk swiftly.

“A little enthusiastic aren’t you?”

I lifted my face up from my frappuccino to see a tall guy with dark, wavy, and a bit unruly hair, broad, strong-looking shoulders, and melting brown eyes. His eyebrows rose when I just stared and didn’t speak.

“Oh, uh, yeah, I’m very happy to have this. I was extremely thirsty.”

“I can tell. You’re downing that thing like there’s no tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I would be able to hear you slurping it down if I was in China.

I guess his looks were only looks. Why couldn’t he be as nice as he was gook-looking?

After giving him a “you’re a complete idiot” look, I turned, marched over to the table that my book rested on, and plopped down into my chair. To my utter annoyance, he marched straight after me and confidently settled into the accompanying chair of my two-seat table.

I attempted to not even notice when he came to sit down. I just sat there, slurping down my frozen drink. Apparently, he wasn’t fooled. He continued to stare at me, until finally, I thrust my frappuccino onto the table (probably harder than I should have, because some came sloshing out of the top), and demanded, “What do you want?”

He calmly gazed at me, a look of amusement playing across his handsome features, and said, “How about you tell me a little about yourself.” He said it as a demand, not even as any hint of a question.

“Why would I do that?” I was attempting to annoy him, but only succeeded in annoying myself, because he never lost the amused look.

“Because I’m being so nice by giving you some company when you’re all alone.”

“I want to be alone. That’s why I came here.”

The edges of his lips were now curving up in a grin. “Well, at least you’re being honest with me. I think all women should be honest.”

I felt like sticking my tongue out at him, but, instead, I gathered up my book and my drink, and stood up to strut away.

Before I could make it two paces, he was in front of me, holding his hands up for me to stop. I was forced to, for if I hadn’t, I would have plowed straight into him.

“Listen, it’s not like you’re a complete stranger to me. We go to the same college, we’re both juniors, and I know some of your friends. Now, will you agree to talk with me peaceably? For the moment, at least.” He added, when my eyebrows rose.

I stood there, thinking over what I had to gain from this. From him, a handsome flirt. Absolutely nothing. But I couldn’t help having second thoughts when I looked into his brown eyes. I was surprised to find a deepness there, something I could absolutely not envision when he was loudly stalking me. That’s what did it.

“Fine. I’ll talk to you.”

He gave me a huge, pearly white grin and motioned back over to the table I had been formerly sitting at.

“Now, for introductions,” he said. “I’m Drew Alker, and you are?”

“Lina Grey.” I grudgingly shook the hand that was outstretched toward me.

“Nice to meet to, Lina.”



* * *
3-21-90
San Fransisco, CA


The months that passed after our first meeting were a blur. I ended up staying at that coffee shop much longer that I had originally anticipated.

On the surface, Drew was a conceited flirt; but later that day, after I had talked to him for a few hours, I learned that he was so much more than that. Yes, he was conceited in some ways, and yes, he was a flirt, but during the following months he showed (not willingly for the first few weeks) that he was caring, truthful, and loving. Yes, I said loving. I was surprised when I found that out too. I believe it was our fourth date. . .




* * *
10-23-85
Henderson, TN
Friday Night


I watched through my window as Drew calmly jumped up the steps to the front door of my dorm building. I must have tensed noticeably because my roommate, Katy, giggled and said, “It’s your fourth date with Drew, right?”

I turned around and said, “Yeah, I’m surprised one of us hasn’t dumped the other yet.”

She rolled her eyes, “Oh, please, Lina. Of course he hasn’t dumped you yet. You’re beautiful and every guy tries to get you.” It was my turn to roll my eyes. That didn’t stop her. “And, of course you haven’t dumped him yet. He’s absolutely gorgeous!”

“Katy, I’ve told you. There-is-more-to-relationships-than-looks.” I said, throwing my hands up in the air, acting exasperated.

She giggled, “I know you’ve told me. But you are both just so perfect for each other!”

“We’re nothing alike.”

“Yes, you are! You’re totally compatible.”

“Have you even met him?”

“Well . . . No.”

I snorted.

“But, Lina, just think, you always break up with guys on the second or third date, and this is your fourth, and you’re still going strong. So, that must mean something, right?”

“I . . . I guess so.” We were getting into dangerous territory now. I needed to get out of that dorm right then.

“You like him, right?”

“Oh, look, he’s waiting for me downstairs. Better not keep him waiting!” I said, trying to dodge past her on my way out the door.

“Okay, Missy, but don’t think I’m finished with you!” she said as the door slammed in her face. The last I saw of her, her hand was into the air, pointer finger held toward the sky, a playfully frustrated expression on her cute, round, freckled face.

The truth was, I didn’t know if I liked Drew like that or not. I didn’t know enough about him to decide. There were times when I thought he was being open with me, but when I would ask him a personal question, it was like a door was being shut in my face.

I pattered down the tiled hallway in the direction of the door that led to the stairwell, but when I opened the door and tried to walk through, I plowed straight into somebody; somebody tall, too tall for a girl.

I glanced up, rubbing my head, and found myself looking straight into Drew’s brown eyes.

“What are you doing here? This is the girl’s dorm. You know, no boys allowed except in the lobby!” I accused.

He just chuckled.

“I don’t even know how you got past the dorm moms downstairs! How . . . How did you? You didn’t knock them out or anything, did you?” I was mildly concerned. Surely he wouldn’t. . .

He mocked being offended. “Me? Knock some old ladies out? How could you think that of me, Lina?”

I scowled at him. “Have you even thought about how you’re going to get back out without being seen?”

He stared blankly at me for a moment, then said, “Actually, no, I haven’t. But that could prove to be problematic.”

“You think?”

He grinned, then an extremely mischievous look came over his features. “While I’m here, you want to show me your dorm room?”

I stared at him, a completely emotionless look on my face. Then I crossed my arms. “How about I go see my room, and you go jump out a window.”

“We’re on the third floor though.”

“That’s the point.”

He looked hurt, then grabbed my elbow and drew me closer to him. “Lina, I was only kidding.” His eyes, soft and brown, were coaxing me to believe him. “Now, why don’t we find a way to get out of here and go on our date?”

I half-smiled. “Fine, let’s go. But when we get there, you have to tell me what on earth was going through your head when you sneaked past the dorm moms to get up here.”

He grinned. “Sure.”

I had been going on one date a week with Drew ever since I met him in the coffee shop, but despite the fact that most young couples would have kissed by this point, we hadn’t even held hands. I felt like each time I met up with him, I left feeling the same toward him as I did when I arrived. But I also felt like I was leaving a piece of me with him each time. Every date, he could batter me with a constant flurry of questions, not leaving me enough breath between each answer to ask him a question of my own. He probably knew more about me now than my own mother.

This time, I was going to make him answer me; but I would wait until after the movie, for while we were eating dinner.

The movie we saw was tolerable, and we acted like any responsible couple would: we kept our hands to ourselves and our eyes on the screen.

After the movie, we settled back into his old Ford truck and drove to an old hamburger joint, where the waitresses were friendly, and the sweet tea was amazing.

I eyed him curiously. He was acting rather strangely tonight. He seemed . . . Distracted.

“Is something the matter?” I asked him as we slid into an old booth with red padded cushions and a red and white checkered tablecloth. “You seem kind of quiet tonight.”

He half-snapped out of his reverie. “Do I? Sorry. . .”

This was definitely not like him. He was usually as chatty as a woodpecker on a spring day, and tonight he was quiet.

“Well, it’s a shame you’re acting so weird. I really wanted to ask you some questions.”

His eyes squinted in caution. “About what?”

“Well, I don’t really know much about you, and I think if we’re going to continue dating, you need to be open with me. Don’t think I don’t notice when you deliberately avoid all personal questions directed toward you.”

He hesitated, then sighed, “I guess I have no choice then, do I?” He took a deep breath. “This is difficult for me to talk about, and I don’t appreciate it when it’s spread around.”

He gazed intently into my eyes for a moment, searching. He must have found what he was searching for, because he continued talking, “There’s a reason I don’t tell people about me very often, especially people I’m dating.

“Last year, I was dating a girl named Anna. She and I dated for almost a year, and we became extremely close. We knew everything about each other. Well, I thought I knew everything about her. She certainly knew everything about me. She knew every single secret I had ever had, and I trusted her explicitly. I finally decided that I was going to ask her to marry me. I bought the ring and prepared a nice dinner. When she came, I proposed and she said yes. I was very happy . . . Until the next night. I drove by her apartment to drop by as a surprise, and when I looked into the window, I saw her and another man kissing on her couch.”

While he had been talking, I could see the pain on his face. And I had thought he was emotionless and insensitive. Now, I understood that he actually felt real emotions like love, but he also felt hurt, and that was why he could barely bring himself to talk about those things.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered. I reached out to lay my hand on his, and was faintly surprised when he didn’t flinch away.

I could now understand why he didn’t want to be so open with me. He was afraid that he would get too close to me, and then I would break him, just like Anna had.

He was gazing into my eyes, and I hoped he could see that I would never do that to him.

I started this date with the feeling that I knew absolutely nothing about Drew Alker, and now I felt like I knew everything there was to know.

He leaned forward -- I hadn’t noticed, but while we were talking, we had inched closer to each other. We were so close now, I could feel his warm breath on my face.

He turned slightly, while continuing to inch closer, then whispered into my ear, his voice husky with emotion, “You would never do that to me, would you? I know I’ve been asking you so many questions about yourself, but surely you can understand why I feel like I have to know. You have no idea how much it hurt.”

I knew I couldn’t possibly understand, so I just wrapped my arms around him in a tight hug. He brought up his arms and embraced me as well. It was a little strange and awkward hugging across the table, but it appeared to be lending him a trustworthy hand.

I knew then. I didn’t think it could happen so suddenly without even barely announcing it’s arrival, but it did. Love had invaded my heart right then, at that very moment. I didn’t know how or why so suddenly, but nevertheless, it came, and it filled me up to the brim with a kind of unknown and inexperienced warmth.




* * *
3-21-90
San Fransisco, CA

After that fateful night, Drew and I spent almost every waking moment together. He walked with me to breakfast, at breakfast with me, walked with me to my various classes, ate lunch with me, hung out some more, ate dinner with me, then we’d sit together and talk for hours. We had a wonderful, unbreakable bond formed by the connecting chains of trust.

The gap of his distrust of me had disappeared after that night. He was now completely open with me. We shared all secrets, cried together, laughed together (but sometimes he would just laugh at me), and that was a wonderful thing.

The next ten months passed swiftly. It was then, after ten months, that he proposed to me. It was beautiful and romantic, and, of course, I accepted his hand.

In another nine months, we were married, and took a trip to Barcelona for our honeymoon.

Even now, after years have passed, and we have a baby on the way, I still feel the unbreakable love I have for him, the love that started the night at the diner when he was first completely honest with me.

I’ve realized that love is so much more than mushy feelings. It’s honesty, trust, selflessness, care, sacrifice, and humility all mixed together. It’s what Drew and I have.





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