Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Anchor-Part 7

The summer months wore on and just as the sun deepened our tans, our time together deepened our relationship. You could actually compare what our relationship was to a nice tan. All aglow, but in the back of my mind I'm worrying I might later develop skin cancer. Skin cancer and love. Such a nice comparison. But at this level in the game, love can be about as scary a thing as skin cancer. A girl isn't to know if she'll permanently be bronzed by love or end up in a lot of pain. We said 'I love you' for the first time on a warm summer night and the 'I love yous' grew to be more frequent. It felt nice. Then school started and with it, I started to get nervous. Nervous about all this 'love' and where it was taking us. Or where it was not taking us. And I didn't know what I wanted. I didn't know if I wanted a boyfriend. I didn't know if I wanted to be single. And I didn't know if I wanted a fat diamond ring on my hand either.

* * * *

Labor Day. A day we don't have to go to school. A day Brian and I were going on a hike. We originally had a group of friends going on the hike but, of course, everyone bailed. So now it would just be Brian and I climbing to the top of Naomi Peak.

I shove the bag full of my delicious homemade trail mix inside the backpack. I doubled the recipe, which ended up being a pointless move on my part. I stare disgustingly at the bulging bag and think about how Brian and I will now have to eat this all by ourselves.
"You alright?" Brian's eyes are searching me as he climbs out of his truck.
"Oh, just peachy. I'm just wondering why no one wants to hike with us. Do we have a disease? Are we insanely annoying and we just don't know about it?"
Brian laughs and takes the backpack from me, "We probably gross them out. With all our PDA."
This is obviously a joke since Brian and I are rarely affectionate in public.
I smile and take in the view around me. The lake at Tony's Grove is beautiful. I can't wait to see how everything looks from the top of the peak.

We begin our climb up the trail. At first there is light conversation. Then silence. I have a lot on my mind. Maybe that is why I am so bitter that I'm doing this hike alone with Brian. Because we do things just us two a lot. However, things have been weird the last few days. I know he senses it. I also know I need to talk about what I'm feeling, but I've never been good at that sort of thing. Talking about my feelings. No matter how hard I try, they always seem to come out wrong. And when they come out all wrong, well, then it ends up confusing me about what I'm even feeling.

All I do know is that with the start of school, my other girlfriends have been running around with guys. New faces. But I'm not. I can't. I have a boyfriend. And I've dated this boyfriend for almost 8 months now. I absolutely love him. However, I feel it is getting to that point where something must happen. We need to decide what we are doing, because just plain dating for the heck of it might not cut it. I am beginning to think we need to either break up or start talking the 'M' word. Marriage that is. 

I then realize as we stop for our first water break that today is the day I must tell Brian these thoughts. Maybe no one came with us for a reason. That reason being that just the two of us need to have a serious talk. I silently pray to God, begging Him that I'll be able to bring up what I'm thinking and not totally slaughter my thoughts when putting them into words.

After our water break ends and we begin again up the mountain, I tell myself I'm going to bring it up by the time we make our next stop. I keep searching for the right words to start with. And you can bet I keep praying. Looks like God knows me all too well though, so He had Brian start the conversation instead. Brian turns to me with a serious look on his face,
"Kelsey. You've been acting different the past few days. I've been waiting for you to tell me what's wrong, but I think I'm going to have to ask. So. . .what's bothering you?"
Even though I have broke a sweat from this hike, I suddenly feel cold. Chills run up and down my legs. I force words, just any words, to come out of my mouth.
"I don't know if I can date like this anymore."
Brian looks at the ground. After a moment he mutters, "You don't want to date me anymore?"
"Well. . .not the way we are. I dunno. It's just. . .we've been dating a while now and I think we need to figure some things out," we again start climbing up the mountain and I slowly keep talking,
"And if we don't figure them out. . .maybe we shouldn't date anymore."

I feel as if Brian is not listening to me. I have probably hurt his feelings. Or maybe. . .maybe he doesn't feel the same. Maybe he doesn't intend to ever marry a girl like me. After all: I'm awkward, I'm kind of tacky, I'm not exactly the most colorful social butterfly on the block, and I am a little bit strange. Maybe he doesn't want a lifetime of that. Or should I say an eternity of that.

Maybe he wants a blonde-haired, tan, white-teethed girly thing. One that didn't grow up in the sticks like me. Maybe he wants someone that is friends with everyone and can whip up dinner like it's no body's business. Maybe he doesn't want me.
Maybe I'm just something different for a while. Something entertaining.

I don't know what to do anymore so I do the only thing I can think of. I grab Brian's hand and turn him toward me, "Brian. . .I love you. I love you so much." My voice starts to crack and I know I can't say anything else. So I don't. I just begin hiking again. Brian doesn't say anything either. We are quiet most of the way. I know we are both thinking. Reflecting.

* * * *

When we reach the top of the peak, I am in awe. The view is amazing. It seems from up on that peak, we can see the whole world below us. I feel myself smiling and I let out a deep sigh. Brian is doing the same. After taking some pictures, we find a place to eat our lunch. We perch ourselves on some big rocks overlooking the edge of the mountain. As we pull out our sandwiches, we keep discussing how amazing the hike has been. How incredible the view is. What a beautiful area we are living in. Then we go silent again as we eat our food. It is as if we remember again the conversation I brought up earlier. The conversation that led to nowhere.

Brian takes a gulp of Gatorade and then looks at me hard. I have never seen him so serious in all my life. I find myself fearing what it is he might say next. The thought again creeps in, Maybe he never really wanted me. . .
"Kelsey," Brian says, "I can't imagine myself being with any other girl."
The wind on the mountain feels quite chilly. I zip my jacket up to my neck.
"You make me happy. I've never met a girl quite like you. You're a free spirit. You make me want to. . .to live life as big as I can."
I wish I could zip this jacket up over my mouth to cover the smile that is forming on my lips.
For a moment, Brian turns and stares at the horizon. When he looks back at me, he says, "I want you to be my wife, Kels. I want to marry you. I just don't want it to happen quite yet."
I look into Brian's crystal clear blue eyes and let out a little laugh, "Me neither. I don't want it to happen yet either. I just wanted to know," I look out to the horizon where Brian was focusing moments before, "I'm not saying we have to get married next month or anything. I just wanted to know if you. . .felt the same way as me. Because I want to marry you too."
We both then let out laughs. Here we are. Sitting on top of the world. Knowing that we're going to get married. Eventually. And it feels good just to know. To have some closure.

As we clean up our garbage and stand to make our way back down the mountain, I think about how silly I was to wonder earlier if Brian even wanted me. I hope he knows how much I want him. Forever. "Brian," he turns and looks at me, "I want you to know that you are my best friend in the whole world. I have never felt so accepted by anyone. Thank you. . .for being a great person. You really are."

Brian smiles and I know he means it. I was wrong earlier. Brian wants to marry someone that makes him happy. Someone that can turn simple and ordinary things into adventures. Someone that is a little out of the ordinary. Someone who has flaws. And that someone is me. And I'm so glad that I'm his someone.

My hand reaches out and softly slides into his. I feel happy here. I feel safe.     

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