Finding my valentine, part 4

February 15, 2012 at 4:53 am

There I stood… Reid to my left—mysterious, humble, thoughtful, older man with a stunning smile. Isaac in front of me—silly, loud, hilarious, younger man who was much less threatening to my carefully-laid plans for my future. Should I accept Isaac’s invitation for a drive and enjoy an evening of laughter and silliness? Or should I decline the invitation and continue my conversation with Reid?

The truth is, it wasn’t really a tough choice at all. I knew the instant that the words came out of Isaac’s mouth that I was going to disappoint him. Remember, I was high on those giddy twitterpation hormones, and I was dead set on getting into Reid’s head, so it only took me a moment’s thought before I looked at Reid and then looked at Isaac and said, “Umm, I think I’m actually going to stick around here.”

I’ll never forget the look on Isaac’s face. He was clearly shocked. He had been given no warning that anything inside my head had changed. I am sure he had expected me to smile and cheerfully accept his invitation. He was stunned into silence for a minute. Then he looked at Reid and back at me, and I watched it dawn on his face that he understood what must be happening. He said something like, “Oh, okay,” and slowly turned and walked away. I felt a little bit bad, but mostly I was relieved to have Reid to myself again.

He and I ended up talking and walking around until about 11:00 that night. I found out later that, while I was clearly attracted to him and being forward in my pursuit of him, he was virtually oblivious to that fact. To his credit, I was the first girl who had ever really shown an interest in him. He had only been home from his two-year mission (to Germany) for a few months, and he wasn’t looking for marriage or even a girlfriend. His previous time at BYU had been fairly unhappy because of his living situation and lame roommates, so he was just glad to be making some friends. We parted company after a lovely evening, and I went home to spill my guts to my journal.

I woke up the next day, got ready for school, and started the long-ish trek up the road to campus. It was a sunny morning. I was still enjoying the after-effects of the previous night’s pleasant conversation with Reid, looking forward to the next time I would see him, wondering when that would be. After walking for five minutes or so, I heard someone on a bike coming up behind me. I turned, and my heart started beating wildly in an instant. It was Reid in a bright orange button-down shirt. We exchanged hello’s while I tried to retain my composure. He slowed down to my walking pace, and we chatted. Then he got off his bike entirely and just pushed it along. It was a sweet, shy, magical, fortuitous moment in our history.

And then it happened the next day.

And the next day.

And the next.

We just kept bumping into each other on the way up to campus. Every morning. Eventually Reid dispensed with the bike, and we started just planning to walk together. Then, after a while, we figured we might as well walk home together too. And we might as well hang out together while we did our homework. And why not eat dinner together too? Added bonus… I had a new means of transportation. Reid’s beat up Nissan Sentra (whom we affectionately called “Smokey”) soon got me and my roommates to the grocery store and anywhere not within walking distance.

For our first official “date,” Reid and I (and some friends) went to a German Bach concert at a cathedral in Salt Lake City. Then, we finished off the night at the Varsity Theater to see the midnight movie–Star Wars episode 1. And that guy with the stunning smile held my hand. Sigh.

At first I was just giddy and twitterpated, but the more deeply I came to know Reid, the more deep and real and penetrating my admiration of him grew. On December 5, 2000, I wrote in my journal:

Reid and I talked for hours tonight. I think we’re growing closer everyday. He is such a good listener. He let me talk out my frustrations and pain and concern and my emotions. He offered helpful insights where needed. He is such an example to me. He is an example of true selflessness. He is so Christ-like in the way he treats others… no criticism, no defensiveness, no pride, no deceit. He is simply accepting, loving, looking to make others happy. I admire him so much. I’m grateful for him.

Reid was the most humble, genuine, and kind young man I had ever known. Being around him made me want to be a better person. He brought out the best in me. In fact, I think we both brought out the best in each other. A complimentary pair in so many ways. Before I knew it, I had fallen totally in love with him.

Eventually, I realized that I had a decision to make. Was I going to go on my mission, travel the world, and finish college before settling down (as I had been planning for years)? Reid had always been aware of my plans and supportive of them. But there were unseen forces at work, persistently calling me in a direction I had never imagined I would go. After much deliberation and prayer and pondering, I knew exactly what I had to do.

And it was the smartest thing I have ever done.

Instead of graduating single, we graduated together…

And someday we’ll travel the world together too. But in the meantime, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here…
After ten and a half years, I only feel more and more certain that I made the best possible choice when I chose this man. He’s my best friend, a truly remarkable father, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s also darn gorgeous.

I love you, Reid.