His name was David and I had known him ever since I was 14-almost-15. He had introduced himself to me in Sunday school, I was the new girl in town. . . . totally awkward and out of my element. He was one of the only people who attempted to be my friend, he spent three years talking to me and asking me how I was every Sunday, every single time we ran into each other. I developed a huge crush on another boy and David and I remained strictly friends. I was easy around him, comfortable. I couldn’t even fathom having a crush on him never mind falling in love with him.
And then in 2008 that fateful summer happened, the summer where it all began. He became the boy I would never forget. By then, he was 20 and I was 18, I was even more awkward and gawky than when we had first met. I had just graduated from high school, but I was wearing braces and I was all limbs. The chest that everybody said would come in by then still remained as flat as a board. Despite my lack of womanly physical changes, my heart and mind were starting to wake up and the boy I couldn’t even fathom having a crush on suddenly became very appealing as a man.
I fell in love with him that summer.
To this day I still don’t know how it happened. I have tried to figure it out, but looking back I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I knew. It was like I had loved him forever and I just hadn’t realized it because the friendship had been that good.
The first day he came back from college and started to help our youth leader out with our youth group, he singled me out and we spent 3 fabulous months doing every single church related activity together. We sat on the same couch every Sunday for Sunday school, we ate Wednesday night dinner together before prayer meeting began, during VBS he helped me tame the unruly bunch of 5-year-olds I had been assigned. On a mission trip, we built flower boxes together from scratch and planted flowers in them, being careful not to let our fingers accidentally touch while we patted down the soil. He gave me light blue Gatorade and spent hours giving me music and movie suggestions. He even lent me his absolute favorite movie in the world. When we went on our yearly youth trip, he sat with me every single night during dinner and we shared sweet tea from the same cup and at the end of the week, we were both sick with the same illness. The first day we were there, I got up early to eat breakfast. I brought my book because I was going all by myself and wound up running into him, we wound up meeting every morning for an early breakfast. I never finished that book I brought. Not that week anyways.
2008 is littered with memories like that. By September, I was deeply in love with him. It had gotten to the point where I could see myself spending forever with him even though we hadn’t even been on a real date yet. But I was certain it would happen, he was still hanging around because he was studying abroad and he didn’t have to leave until the beginning of October. He never asked me out, even though he was always telling me how nice I looked and talking to me every week and teasing me about reading chick lit.
I thought it was because he was still in school because he was going to go to seminary the next year and he was smart. It never happened though. He never asked me out, we never got together together. He’s engaged to somebody else now and I am trying to recover from half-a-decade of waiting for him to come back and pick me.
But even though it’s over between us, even though it never actually began between us I know that he loved me too for a few brief moments in time.
And I never will forget him or that summer I fell in love with him.