A few days later my friend calls. “Mike broke up with me. He wants to date you.” I didn’t know what to say. “It’s ok. I’m not really into Mormon boys.” I still didn’t know what to say. “He wants your number. Can I give it to him?” I find my voice. “Yes.” My stomach immediately starts hurting. Ten minutes later the phone rings. After an awkward exchange of hellos and silence he finally speaks.
“You know why I’m calling?”
“Yes…why did you break up with her?”
“Because the minute I saw you, I knew you were the girl I wanted. The one I dreamed about. The one I prayed for.”
I honestly have no idea how to respond to what he is saying.
“So, will you date me?”
I bite my lip. Take a deep breathe and say yes.
“Thank you. So, you want to go on a date right now?”
I know how to respond to that…YES!
We make plans to meet at the park between our house. I tell him I’m babysitting my sister and I’ll have to bring her with me.
“That’s fine. I’m sure I’ll love your sister.”
My sister is excited to go to the park to meet my new boyfriend…or maybe she’s just happy her big sister is finally going to spend time with her. We ride our bikes to the park. As we get there my sister crashes her bike on the gravel. Mike runs over to make sure she’s ok. I’m impressed. So apparently is she. We take her to the swings. I’m brave enough to hold his hand in front of my sister. We talk about his family and his dreams. He asks if I’m returning to the school I went to last year. I told him no, I wasn’t going back to school. He says I can go to school with him. We’d probably have many of the same classes and we’d graduate together. I think it sounds like a great plan. I just know I’m not going back to THAT school.
My sister is quickly bored hanging at the park watching me and the boyfriend talking beneath the big tree. She wants to go home. I tell Mike we need to leave before my father gets home. He walks us down the path. I tell him good-bye and he responds with a kiss. Now my stomach is completely killing me. This boy has my head spinning. My sister starts teasing me. I glare at her. “Don’t you DARE tell mom and dad. It’s our secret, ok?” I know my sister will probably end up telling them, but for now she’s impressed enough to be the keeper of her sister’s secret.
Our relationship progresses quickly. We spend most of the day talking on the phone. We have a lot of park dates. He tells me he loves me and makes a tape that I listen to every night. I realize at some point I’m going to have to tell my parents I have a new boyfriend. It doesn’t quite go the way I plan. My father is incensed I’m dating the Mormon boy. I don’t tell him I already said yes to marrying the Mormon boy. I figured we’d have that fight only when it was necessary. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how this is going to work. I have no intentions of becoming a Mormon and he has no intentions of not being a Mormon.
One day as we are walking through the park he tells me about his plans for our future. He is going to join the Navy as soon as he turns 18 in the fall.
“We’ll graduate, then get married. Here in this park. Then we’ll go to Hawaii for a honeymoon. When we get back we’ll have to leave for Seattle.”
I stop walking. “Seattle? I don’t want to live in Seattle.”
“You’ll be with me. You’ll like it.”
I’m not sure I really know if I like Seattle or not. I just know that I don’t want to leave Idaho and my family.
“I will have to be on the ship for months at a time. It will be more convenient if you’re there when I’m not at sea.”
I look at him. “But I don’t want to be alone in Seattle.”
The more he talks about how great it will be, the more I realize that I really don’t want this future. Then he says the dumbest thing ever. “It’s like you’ll be a wife of convenience.”
I tell him I have to go home. I’m upset and confused. I try writing but all that’s coming out is angry words. The phone rings. I ignore it. My sister answers. It’s Mike. I tell her to tell him I’m sleeping. She says, “She doesn’t want to talk to you right now.” Sigh. Now I’m mad at Mike AND my sister.
My father is home. He tells me that he ran into my friend’s family. They had moved to Oregon when we moved to California. They were in town visiting family. Now they were on their way to see us. I am excited to see Paige. I really need her to tell me what to do about my life.
Paige arrives and immediately starts lecturing me. I show her my shaved head beneath my long hair. I tell her about the boyfriends and the parties and the horrible report card. I tell her about Mike. She tells me I need to come to Oregon. Now. I tell her I’d like that but don’t think my father will let me. I cry when she leaves.
Amazingly within a week I’m on my way to Oregon with some friends for a visit. Mike is unhappy that I’m going. I tell him he has nothing to worry about. I’m coming home and then we’ll start on our future together.
I do not make a good liar.