"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more. And that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that's what you've given me. And that's what I'd hope to give to you forever." The Notebook
I'll never forget sobbing uncontrollably when The Notebook came out. Who didn't?! He looked over at me and just smiled. Then he got up, walked to the bathroom, and grabbed me a box of Kleenex. "You probably think I'm a big baby, don't you?!", I asked him. He just smiled and shook his head, but he had this look like there was some secret he wasn't letting me in on. It was the first movie we watched when we got back together. It was the first time I remember wishing someone would love me like Noah loved Ally in that movie.
I let Corey play his little hard to get game for a little while. I still said hello, and kept letting him know I was around without making any kind of direct moves. Now that I'm 32, I'm like who has the time for that?? Why not just go right up to him and say, "Hey dude! I still like you! Do you still like me?!" But noooooo. I thought I was being a sly little thing. *Insert laughs here* It was January 2005 when things would finally shift in a different direction. Now, don't ask me why, but somehow Corey and his family managed to get crawfish in January. I know what you're thinking and I questioned my own memory but I swear it's the truth. Corey had a crawfish boil and invited a girlfriend of mine to it along with a lot of other folks. He invited me, too, but through my girlfriend. Not directly. So, here we go, bouncing up to Corey's house like no big. We said hello and made the rounds. Corey and I chatted a bit but it was super casual. I'd been there for a little while when my would be mother in law and her friend asked me when it was Corey and I were going to get back together. PAUSE. What??? Does she know I still like him? How would she know that? Is she just saying it because she thinks we were cute together or because she knows my parents so well and thinks we'd be a good match? There was no way Corey still liked me - I didn't think. I was on the spot and just laughed it off the best I could. "You know he still likes you!", she said. I was thinking, no way, Jose! But it did give me a little confidence that he might. So, I put my big girl panties on and decided I was going to find him to actually talk. Oh, I found him all right! I was standing on the back porch looking at him through the glass doors when I see him seated in his kitchen with another girls arm thrown around him. *Major sad face here* So much for what Shelia knew! I took that as a cue to peace, and so we left.
Defeated. That's what I was. I'd missed my chance and it was my fault. He was clearly with someone else. He wasn't in to me either way. Time to move on. So I started hanging out casually with other folks. And was bored to death. I was the kind of girl that I either had a boyfriend or I was alone. Casual dating wasn't my thing. I was bad at it truthfully. It was one night in later that January that I came home from a date and I said a prayer. I still remember it as if it was yesterday. I was lying in bed with my tv on when I closed my eyes and prayed: "Lord, when you are ready for me to have a meaningful relationship with the man you have prepared to be the one for me, my heart will be open. Until then I will just wait on you to send him my way." Super simple. Nothing long and drawn out. Just totally honest. It was then that a peace came over me. "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still." Exodus 14:14. And so I was still. For one month.
It was the end of February when I got the text message. The sun had just set one Thursday evening when he asked if I wanted to grab a bite to eat. Totally out of the blue. Totally random. "Sure.", I replied. When he picked me up, I still couldn't believe it. It was like I was watching myself from outside of my body. Here I was, just climbing into Corey's gray GMC just like any other thing. No nerves, and I had no idea why I wasn't nervous. It was so comfortable. We shifted into small talk and when he asked what I wanted to eat, I said chinese. China Wok to be exact. We had dinner and ended up sitting at the restaurant until they closed just talking and laughing with each other. "I don't really feel like going home, do you?", he said. "No, I'm not ready yet either.", I replied. We made our way to Buffalo Wild Wings in Hattiesburg and hung out with some friends. I think it was around midnight when we finally pulled into my driveway. It was the most fun I'd had in such a long time! I said all the things you typically say - "I had a blast! Thank you!" Blah, blah, blah. But boy, did I want him to kiss me! And so he did. He leaned in with that same grin he had the night we would watch The Notebook together. That grin that said I have a secret and I'm not going to tell it. "So what does this mean?", I asked. His reply was "What do you think?" I didn't even want to say it out loud. Please still like me I was thinking. "I never stopped liking you, ya know.", he said. It was like dude was reading my thoughts or something! It was there in that truck a little after midnight that we agreed to give it another try but I had one small request - that we not tell anyone.
Why didn't I want to scream it from the rooftops that Corey and I were going to start hanging out again? Here's the truth: I was scared. No, more like I was terrified. I was out of my wits with fear that this kid would decide I wasn't exactly what he expected anymore and turn around and run. If that was going to happen, I wanted it to be just between us. And so we didn't tell anyone. Except we did tell one person. The exact same person. Neither one of us knew that the other had told our mutual best friend that we had started hanging out together again. Of course when I finally told our friend a couple of days later, he just laughed and said, "Oh yeah, I know. Corey already told me." Of course he did. But he'd told no one else. Just this one person that to this day is still like a brother to both of us. It would be a couple of weeks later when we would make everything official and finally start telling folks that we were dating. March 5th is still a day we celebrate as our dating anniversary. Yes, I get TWO anniversaries and there isn't a thing wrong with it! Everyone should get two, I always say. We'd spent that day riding his motorcycle to Hattiesburg, grabbing a bite to eat and doing some shopping. It was that night when he would look at me with a grin that said he knew something I didn't while he brought me a box of Kleenex. "I wish someone would love me like that one day.", I said. Again, the smile.
Next week, I'll tell you guys all about the first time Corey said those three little words and how he gave me the best present I would ever receive! See ya next week! Big hugs, Shea