Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tree Nostalgic

Dalton and I met in our dinky little residence hall.  It wasn't exactly love at first sight but I remember noticing him and thinking, "I could date that boy."  I guess he had the same thought process because he made a mutual friend introduce us.  He also made her swear that she wouldn't  say anything, so of course she spilled everything to me.  "Dalton thinks you're way cute and wants me to invite you to hang out so he can get to know you."  I laughed, a little embarrassed, and agreed, wondering if this slightly High School approach was normal for college.

It took a little while before anything happened. I started actually crushing on him around Halloween. Eventually he got my number and invited me to go slacklining.

Then he escorted me through a haunted house - a perfect opportunity to hold hands.  I should probably remember the exact day he asked me to be his girlfriend.  This was, after, my first official boyfriend.  But I don't.  I remember going to a midnight movie, climbing onto an elementary school roof, and a lot of late night walks.  But I can't for the life of me remember that official date.

Ironically he was my home teacher.  But he never came once.  Officially anyway.  I don't know if macking counts.

After the first semester he went home to work until he left for his mission.  We visited each other a few times over the break, but ultimately I couldn't handle dating someone while I was at school, seven hours away, and he was working towards a mission.  Let's be honest, commitment scares the crap out of me.  So does actually falling in love.

And I don't think I ever loved him per se.  I may have been caught up with the idea of it all.  A college boyfriend.  Pre-med.  An easy transition from, hey I like you, to actual dating.  But he was really wonderful, not just an image.  Here was a boy who, instead of teasing me about my ACT score (something I was really self conscious about) made me feel smart.  We studied together.  Here was a boy who, instead of being reluctant to invite me home (because his family hated that we were dating) couldn't wait to introduce me to his family.  And I loved his family.  I practically would have married him just to marry into that clan.  We clicked right away.  I was joking with his dad, talking with him mom, and learning about the middle school life of his little sister.  It was an entirely new world to me.  I felt so grown up, driving a few hours to see my boyfriend - although I never really got used to that word.

We had so much fun together.  We went sledding and he showed me around town.  I introduced him to my friends back home, and they actually liked him too.  Or at least, they said so.  I believed them, because they had not been quiet about disliking the last boy.*  He made me a blanket for Christmas, one I still use almost everyday and I went crazy over-analyzing and trying to figure the perfect gift for a first boyfriend.**  

 We stayed in touch after that semester.  He's on his mission now in Brazil, and we write on occasion.That first semester was a lot of fun. 

Thank you for pleasantly surprising me when it comes to how great a boyfriend can be.  Thank you for kissing me in - actually in and not just under - a tree on campus during one of our late night walks.  I can't walk by that tree without remembering, and smiling.  I'm going to miss that. 

 (The sign reads: always kiss me goodnight)

And thank you for not actually looking like that when we kissed.

*you know who you are chica

**apparently it's a shirt.

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