Welp, here is the second installment of Brian’s and my love story. I bet you thought I’d never get around to part 2! If you need a refresher (I did!), part 1 of our love story is here: http://wp.me/p6XR29-xi
I had left camp early that first summer (2011) to go photograph my first wedding in Ohio. Contrary to my expectations, Brian had gotten up extra early to say goodbye to me and we shared the awkwardest side hug ever (100% my fault, btw). This friendship was off to a stellar start.
That weekend in Ohio is a bit hazy in my mind – all I remember is that I was staying with complete strangers, that I shot my first wedding, and that Brian kept in touch, even though it became increasingly difficult to do so. See, he had been texting me all weekend (a blessing because I was an introvert staying with total strangers.) At some point that weekend, I ran out of text messages. (This was well before unlimited texts were common and let’s be honest, I had a Tracfone sooo…) I remember thinking, well, if he really wants to talk, he’s just going to have to call! Sure enough, he called. Again and again.
After the wedding festivities, some good friends from Cleveland picked me up and brought me to stay with them for a few days. During that visit, I did one of my favorite photo sessions ever, found out that my dad had almost died the day before due to a previously undiscovered bee sting allergy, and got a call from Brian telling me that he was considering joining the Navy. It was a very up and down week! At that point I was just surprised that he was going out of his way to share his future plans with me.
Little did I know that we would talk every single day over the next month! He kept in touch through the rest of my summer break, even Skyping me when I got home and ran out of calling minutes. Then I was off to South Carolina for college and the fairy tale seemed over…but he just kept calling! I got better at rationing text messages and cell phone minutes and he persisted. We talked about life and God, read parts of the Bible together and prayed together over the phone. (At the time, my college had a rule that you couldn’t video chat anyone in the dorms – you had to go somewhere public. Needless to say, we didn’t Skype often!) Btw – we still weren’t officially dating!
I’ll never forget the first time we discussed which portion of the Bible we would read together. I joked that anything sounded good as long as it wasn’t the book of Numbers! His response, “Ok, let’s read Numbers!” Dork. Chapters upon chapters of genealogies later, I was not about to forget his tenacity.
All of this happened in the space of two months. Meanwhile, Brian was hatching a secret plan of his own, even as I was completely in the dark as to the nature of our relationship. In September of 2011, Brian planned a surprise visit to South Carolina that would just *happen* to coincide with my 20th birthday. To throw me off, he arranged to have hydrangeas delivered to me the day before my birthday. (As it turns out, I managed to figure out the surprise in time to tag along with our friend Anne to the airport to pick him up!)
The morning after his arrival, we met on campus at a quiet bench outside the field house to do our Bible reading. Brian seemed super nervous for some reason but I was too – I hadn’t seen him in two months! – so I didn’t think anything of it!! Then all of a sudden he basically said “So where do you see this relationship going?” and I said, “Well honestly…”
(Now picture Brian internally freaking out as I pause, all kinds of terrible possibilities running through his head) MEANWHILE I am completely freaking out because he has never ONCE to this point said that he likes me! (And you’re saying, duh Amy that should be obvious, he talks to you every single day and just flew down to visit you BUT GUYS I had never dated anyone before and I really really need things to be spelled out for me sometimes!) Anyway, after the initial freakout, we managed to figure out our words and realized that we both wanted to make it official.
To this day, we have conversations about this conversation. Brian maintains that that was a perfectly acceptable way to ask a girl out and that my wording was cruel and unusual. I still maintain that further clarification from him would have prevented much inner turmoil on my part and spared him a few moments of pure panic.
Oh and I haven’t even gotten to the awkwardest part yet – Y’all we had to wait ALL DAY to find out if we could officially date because Brian couldn’t call my dad until that evening! So we awkwardly hung out with friends that entire day, while inwardly bursting to share our news. Did I mention that our entire relationship thus far had been fraught with awkwardness?! Long story not much shorter but my dad finally gave us permission to date. Yay! we were official!
Before Brian left SC, we went on our first “official date”. It was super romantic – we had a chaperone per school rules. 😉 Thankfully, Anne is pretty good with a camera so she snapped a few photos of us that I truly cherish! (Yes, we went to Ihop. Yes, I still love iHop. Give me all the carbs!)
Brian’s short visit ended and we were back to a long distance (now official) dating relationship. We made it work by prioritizing communication on the phone (for us it was daily, except for Thanksgiving day because I had a crazy sore throat – a fact Brian still reminds me of!). We eagerly anticipated Christmas break because we had big plans – I was going to Wisconsin for the first half of break to meet Brian’s parents and then he was coming to New Hampshire to meet my family! To be continued…