Friday, September 15, 2006

The Day My World Turned (Mr.) Right

Barb at A Chelsea Morning asked, but she may be sorry she did after reading my blovel. How I met Mr. Right is a bit of a novel, not because it's all that glamorous, but because I can't seem to tell it without adding all these details, but I'll try to do so here, but please don't hold me to it.

It was my sophomore year of college and I was at a Harding University, a Christian school in Arkansas. I was recovering from a sharp break-up with a guy that I could see being "the one", but he wanted to date another girl while he was dating me. I, having enough confidence in myself to not put up with that kind of nonsense, told him no and moved on, albeit heartbroken. But I didn't wait around for the guy to realize what a stupid mistake he just made.

But if you know anything about me by now, you can't keep me down for long. I ached, but I chose to live my life without looking back.

One spring day, I finally decided to play hooky from school with my friends. We went to Heber Springs to picnic and to play. While we were hitting the softball, I totally biffed a catch and wound up hurting my hand. Although it smarted, I didn't do anything about it until later that night. By that time, I thought that I had done more than bruise it, but I didn't want anyone to find out about it because I did it while skipping school. But since I didn't have a car, I had to go to a friend who did so she could take me to the ER. I went to Karen's room with strict instructions to NOT tell anyone, and as we were walking out the lobby, Karen yelled out to our friend Janie what we were doing and why we were going in the first place. And it just so happened that Mr. Right was talking with Janie at the time. I was so mad at Karen, but I yanked her out the door and headed to the ER. How embarrassing for everyone in the lobby to know that I was such a klutzy dork.

(Now, mind you, I didn't know Mr. Right very well at the time. What I did know about was that Janie really liked Mr. Right, a fellow art major and that he was very handsome. And that if Janie liked him, he had to be a nice guy. I also didn't know that Mr. Right didn't like Janie except as a friend. And that the first time he saw me, he turned to his friend who just happened to be the "big man on campus" who knew everybody and asked "Who is that?" Darren said, "I don't know, but I'll find out." Ever since then, Mr. Right had wanted to date me, but knowing that I was going out with someone else, (Darren was very thorough with his investigation), he never approached me.

He had talked with me a few times and once, at a club event, there was a time when I was on a team for a lip synching contest and a couple of us ran out into the audience and grabbed a guy with whom we danced. I picked Mr. Right out of everyone. I remember that... vaguely. Well, I remember dancing with someone, just not him exactly.

But God in His funny way, got word to Mr. Right that I was available - actually Mr. Right was standing in line at the student center when the guy in front of him turned around and said out of the blue, "Did you know that Shalee and ___ aren't dating anymore?" Now, you have to understand that Mr. Right hates gossip. But this time he totally perked up and said, "Really?" And he started looking for a way to ask me out since that news. )

Back to the story~

When I arrived at the ER, they put me in a back room by myself. After 40 minutes, no one had been in to see me. This struck me as funny, and I kept thinking, "Poor Karen. She has to sit out in the waiting room by herself." So I did what anyone who was bored would should do. I went to visit my friend in the waiting room. Imagine my surprise when I walk out and see Mr. Right sitting with Karen just talking away. I thought, "Isn't that nice that he would come and keep company Karen. What a nice guy." (Ummm, did I ever tell you that I'm not the first to figure things out?)

I started talking and cutting up, mainly because my hand hurt. Nothing like a little humor to take the pain away. Eventually the doctor came to find me and took me back (bruised wrist). When I made my way out to the lobby and he was still there with Karen. I thought, "They must be good friends." We walked out to the cars and said our goodbyes, and I thought nothing of anything.

The next day, I received a card in the mail from Mr. Right, telling me that he hoped that my wrist was better and that he was praying about it for me. I thought that he was nice to think of me and went on my merry way to class. (No. I'm not as bright as you think I am. Don't comment on that last sentence, please.) When I got back from chorus, I had a few minutes to change and go to work in the student center. My roommate told me that Mr. Right had called to see if I would like to go eat lunch with him. I, again, thought "How nice that he would ask. He doesn't even know me." I instructed her that if he called back, tell him thanks, but I had to run to work.

She did.

Later at work, I noticed that for some reason it was dead, which was really weird because when it rained at school, everyone ended up there playing spades or chatting. I asked my manager if I could leave early since they clearly didn't need me. She said for me to fill up the condiment area and then I could go. So I went out to do the mindless job, and I started thinking about how nice it was that Mr. Right had inquired about me and asked me to lunch. Suddenly I turned my head and there was Mr. Right sitting in a booth, smiling at me. I broke out in to a grin and said, "I was just thinking about you."

He brightened up and said, "Really?" (I don't think I've seen a brighter smile... ever.)

I told him that I thought it was sweet that he invited me to lunch. I also told him that I was about to get off work since no one but he was at the student center. He invited me to talk with him for a while. So I did. We talked easily and readily. Eventually some others came and joined us, and being the social butterfly that I was, I didn't mind. Later, I noticed a downpour and remarked that it was a perfect day to play in the rain. So I got up to do it. Mr. Right was the only one to join me. We were getting soaked and laughing. With his one foot he completely drenched me. I just took off my shoes and filled them from the puddles and tossed them at him.

I asked for the time, and he indicated that it was 5 PM. All the sudden I said, "I've got to go. I've got a date!" (It was a church date for Wednesday night. Someone had asked me to his club banquet, and I was getting to know him better.) Mr. Right asked to take me to my dorm and I said no because I didn't want to mess up his car. (You do remember that I said I wasn't too bright when it came to a guy liking me, right?) Mr. Right, ever so persistent, asked to take me to lunch the next day. I said sure, and then I ran back to the dorm, feeling all happy about the fun time we had and quickly readied myself for the evening.

We ate at Pizza Inn the next day. We talked a lot, but then I had to go to class. It was a great time, but again, I didn't think anything about it.

That Friday was such a gorgeous day that tons of people brought blankets out on the lawn to bask in the lawn, "studying" with good friends. Of course I was one of those people. Some of my friends joined me, one of which was a guy from my hometown. I looked up to see Mr. Right walking into the Library, so I ran into the building, thinking it would be nice for him to join us. When I finally found him at a computer, I told him that I was searching all over for him. I took him to the window and said, "Do you see that guy on the blanket by that tree? That's my blanket. Come join us there." I noticed his face fell a tiny bit. Then it struck me that Mr. Right liked me. I quickly followed with, "He's just a friend from my town. You'll like him." (Smooth, aren't I?) He joined us and all the others who were goofing off that day. Mr. Right asked if I would like to eat dinner with him and I said yes. Then my friend Cheri asked to come along.

How do you get rid of a third wheel? I didn't know how. Both Mr. Right and I said sure. We had a great time, despite there being one too many of us. When Mr. Right dropped us off at the dorm, he asked if he could call on me later that night. First he needed to go take a nap. (On a Friday night. Who does that?) I said I'd be waiting for the call later, even if he was an old man who couldn't stay awake past 7 PM. He smiled and took off.

When he picked me up and we walked around for a while and then we went to the cliffs. It was there that he told me that he thought we should go on a date-date.

And then I laughed.

And he did not.

I rapidly asked if he saw the comedian who was on campus last week who said that girls always change the meaning of things by repeating the word. Like: Do you like him or do you like-like him? or Did you kiss him or kiss-kiss him or Was it a date or a date-date? I'm pretty sure it was said in one breath.

He stared at me. I took it as a no. I apologized to him for my laughter and suddenly realized and related to him that I couldn't date him for I remembered that Janie liked him... a lot.

He calmly replied that he did not feel that way towards her, and he had told her so. He wanted just to be friends. I said that I'd still have to talk with her about it because she was a friend and you just don't treat friends badly. He understood what I was saying, but he didn't agree. He asked that he still be able to spend time with me the next couple of days and I could talk to Janie when she returned back to town on Sunday. Of course I said yes. I liked him. We spent the weekend playing, picnicing and reading together; all the while I was praying that Janie wouldn't be too mad at me. I knew by then that I needed to talk to her - and soon.

When I talked with her on Monday, she was hurt, but she said that she would not let it come between us. She said, "My saying no wouldn't make him like me more." (That is a good friend, I'm telling you.) She cried but gave her blessing which I needed.

I told Mr. Right that I would go on a date-date with him. It occured the next night, which happened to be $1 night at the movie theatre. (We watched Silence of the Lamb.) There was also this uncomfortable moment when break-up guy tried to figure out why I was out and about and enjoying myself, giving great indications that he wanted to retract his earlier decision. I think he thought I should have waited for him to "make up his mind." I smiled and asked how he was doing and then wished him a good evening with his date. (Oh, wasn't I all nicey nice? I did have an opportunity to talk with him later, but that's another story all together.)

Mr. Right and I left the theatre and wanted to talk, so we pulled into the BRIGHTLY LIT church parking lot. We didn't want to go to any of the "parking" places and I only had a few minutes until curfew. There we had our first kiss. It was wonderful and perfect and breathtaking. It left me speechless. (I'm serious! Quit laughing!)

As he dropped me off at the dorm, he said, "Well, when you know, you know." He smiled and took off.

Which stopped me dead in my tracks. Know what? What did he know? I don't know so how could he know anything? What exactly did that man mean? What kind of guy says that as he's leaving? He must be demented to make such a comment. It's a first date for goodness sake! I went into the dorm telling my suitemate Dawn that I was not going out with him again.

The next day I received a card from him that began and ended with the words, "I met one of God's creations today." All the words inbetween were about me. I really loved the card, but how do you go out with someone who makes such odd statements? I showed it to Dawn and she said, "Shalee, if you don't go out with him, I will!" She knew just what to say because, even though I knew she was teasing, I turned slightly jealous and said, "No one is going out with him but me!"

And that's just what I did. I may not be quick on the uptake, but I'll get there eventually.

We were engaged in 10 months and married in July 1992, 15 months after our first kiss. I'd love to say that we've had the storybook "happily ever after", but we've had our ups and downs, our ins and outs, our tugs and pulls. That will happen when two opposites marry, by the way. But I will tell you that I would not miss this marriage for anything or anyone in the world. He has always been Mr. Right-for-me, even during the times that I thought he wasn't. And there were a few, I'm sorry to say. I don't think so now. I've matured and seen his true worth since then.

God most certainly knew what He was doing when He made brought our hearts together. And with that, we have our version of happily ever after that I would not alter a bit.

Taken last spring BEFORE Mr. Right turned 40. Isn't he a handsome man! (Not that he isn't now. Oh, you know what I mean.)


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