During a dinner at my inlaws with a couple of missionaries last week a funny story came to mind about an old college room-mate. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best story to tell a 21 year old getting ready to head home in 4 days, but then again, at least now he's prepared!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I went to BYU for one whopping whole semester. I didn't love it there. I had a hard time finding my niche. My room-mates were actually mostly great, except for the one that I actually shared a room with, she wasn't always very nice, and as it turns out, very sane. But it took me a while to figure out that she wasn't just PMSing as she'd always blame her unkind moments on, but that she was a total and complete whack job.
What finally clued me in?
The following little adventure.
It all started with a calendar countdown. You know the kind where a specific date is circled heavily in brightly colored ink and each preceding day is carefully marked off with an X through the box. I'm assuming she had started the countdown about 22 months before I met her. The calendar was hanging in our room from the day she moved in. Each night she would mark the calendar, every week she would write a letter, every day she would check the mail. She was a girl in love! And she was waiting for her man on a mission.
She told me all about him, how funny and cute he was, how she just couldn't wait for him to get home and start planning their wedding. She had bridal magazines with pages torn out of the cutest dresses, she knew exactly which ring she wanted, where to get it and how much he'd have to save to purchase it for her. She had already picked the colors for her bridesmaids, and flower arrangements. She had decided which part of town she wanted to live in, how many babies they'd have and what he'd do for a living! She had everything down except for the actual proposal which she fully expected upon his exit of the airplane he would arrive home in.
The day drew near and she began to plan a road-trip home to Denver. It was a several hours long drive, and not really dangerous, but being young and not an experienced driver, she didn't want to make the trip alone. I had never been to Denver before, so I said "heck yeah! I'm in!" We packed the car, filled up the tank and set out on the road to Denver. I drove her car most of the way while she freaked out about it being illegal to travel in the left lane...I still have no idea she was talking about! But she was definitely too nervous to drive, she was about to be proposed too after all by the man of her dreams!
We arrived in Denver about 1:00am, let ourselves in to her mother's house, got some sleep and prepared ourselves for the big day. The next morning we woke late and ate pancakes made by her mom and then began to prepare for our big excursion to the airport. She had signs, flowers, balloons, and a belated Valentine bear complete with cheesy red-satin heart to give her love. We were on the countdown and it was down to hours.
I began to realize that something wasn't quite right when she started frantically trying to figure out who to contact to find out what time his flight arrived. I kind of figured he would have sent her that information if he was intending on proposing at the airport! (of course she said she wasn't supposed to know that he was going to do this, it was supposed to be a surprise.) She made phone call after phone call after phone call. Nobody seemed to really have the information she was looking for, or maybe they just weren't volunteering it, I'm not sure. Finally after I don't even know how many phone calls, she was able to get one person to talk to her. That person told her that she had missed his arrival by plane and that he was now home with his family. I honestly have no idea what else that person said to her, but I have sneaking suspicion that they at least intimated that she should leave him alone, but no, this was her missionary and they were getting married! Somehow she knew his address, I'm not exactly sure how, maybe a friend of a friend, or something. Keep in mind here that I had only just begun to get suspicious, I didn't KNOW anything wasn't the way she said it was, I had just begun to realize that things weren't really adding up. But away we went, off to the young man's home to pay a visit and witness the most romantic thing that ever happened...a "fresh from the mission, haven't even been released yet" marriage proposal. (That the girl had to hunt down the returned proposed groom for by way of dozens of phone calls.)
I'll never forget pulling up to the curb as she practically leaped from passenger side, the car just barely put into park. Her arms were full with all her gifts, her palms were sweaty (we laughed about the cheap white Valentine Bear fur sticking to her hands), her blonde curly hair poofy and bangs perfectly formed into the much coveted and often copied "Claw" hairdo of the late 80's/early 90's. I'm pretty sure her jeans came all the way up to her ribcage, and that was totally cool.
She stood at the door, rang the bell and was greeted by someone I couldn't see. ( I had been asked to stay in the car since this was such a private moment between her and her expected fiancé.) She entered the home, was gone about 10 minutes, and then came bursting out in a mad dash covered in black mascara streaking down her face, sobbing like a girl who just found out her fiancé was a lying, cheating, scum-maggot.
It took a while, but she finally calmed down enough to tell me what happened inside the house.
The returned missionary was there, just as handsome as she remembered. Only he didn't remember her.
He had apparently opened one of her very first letters and as a new missionary thought it was great to get a letter and wrote her back, but apparently at some point had begun throwing away her letters without opening them. (I'm guessing she said something that weirded him out, you think?) She was madder than a hornet and was ranting and raving and cussing him out and acting quite decidedly as though he were one of the devil's minions and that his mission had done him no good at all.
At some point I asked her "how long did you guys date?" She said "we didn't really date, we just kind of had a connection, but we never went on an actual date." I'm sure I asked her several other questions, but what I remember most about the whole story was the bombshell confession she laid on me only 2 hours into our trip back to Provo. SHE HAD ONLY EVER DANCED ONE SINGLE DANCE WITH THE GUY AT A YOUTH DANCE THREE YEARS EARLIER! THERE WAS NEVER ANY RELATIONSHIP!
So what's the moral of this story? If you're a young man on a mission and getting strange letters from girls you don't know...fully expect her to show up at your house when you get home looking for a ring! AND when you're away at college, if you go on a road-trip with a room-mate you didn't really like in the first place, expect it to get weird. There's a reason you didn't like her.
Posted by Goob at 8:36 PM