Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Beginning

It was the point in the week long summer camp when the kids needed less attention.  Routines were mastered, new friendships were forged and old friendships rekindled.  Sleep deprived staff members could enjoy a little downtime; a game of catch here, a quick chat with another adult there, all the while I found reprieve by standing between two trees and staring into space.  My introverted soul needed some alone time before the next activity- the Slip-n-Slide.  Despite the noise and activity in the camp around me, I was perfectly content in the fortress of my mind.  Quiet, mental oxygen, just for a little bit.

Several minutes in, I held an internal debate with myself regarding whether or not I would actually join the campers on the slip- n-slide or watch from the sidelines, yet again, knowing all the while I would choose the latter option.  There has never been anything particularly enticing about the idea of flinging my body at the ground with only a thin tarp protecting my skin and bones from the jagged terrain.  It scared me a little.

Mind made up, I decided to come out of my shell again and participate in the conversations around me.  Before I could engage in one of my choosing, a voice behind me said, "So, what do you do for a living, Jess?"

Conflicting emotions surfaced.  On one hand, I love talking about my career and the company I work for.  On the other hand, the question was being posed by a man who I was pretty sure didn't really like me but who probably felt the need to give me another chance since we were both staff members at a Christian teen camp.  The only other conversation we'd had, earlier in the week, involved me staunchly stating that "I don't date in this church" (for very sound reasons, I might add) and "I love being single because I do what I want, when I want."  This man, Charlie, laughed at the time of the conversation but seemed intensely uncomfortable around me every day following.  I was sure he believed I was too forthright and outspoken.  Sigh.

Oh well, I thought,  this guy lives in Idaho.  Who cares what he thinks about me?  I don't have to justify my personality to him.

I took a few careful steps back and sat on the bench, a comfortable distance away from Charlie, one leg tucked under the other, my body weight on my right arm.  Here we go. 

What began as a topical discussion about our careers, the agriculture of Idaho- specifically beet sugar, and my ongoing internal debate of whether or not to slip-n-slide (his vote was that I should), turned into something unexpected- it became comfortable.  He laughed, genuinely, at my dry wit.  He didn't glaze over when I elaborated about seemingly dull subjects with my own research findings.  In fact, he had some research and opinions of his own on those very topics.  I realized this guy was cool and could possibly be a very good acquaintance. I realized that he didn't hate me; we were both cursed with not being awesome at initiating conversations.  His only real downfall was that he expressed a passion for snowmobiling and water sports to which I blurted, "I hate snow, water sports, and being cold."  Oh Jessica, you have to get this blurting thing under control.    I expected him to roll his eyes or look at me like, Seriously?  Do you have an opinion about everything?  I really do!  He did neither of those things.  We just kept chatting.

Our conversation lasted probably all of about 15 minutes.  By the end of it, he had convinced me to Slip-n-Slide.  "The kids will remember that you joined them and especially since they know it makes you uncomfortable."  We parted ways and I walked away happy to have forged a friendship, but as the distance between us expanded, I felt a peculiar, intense energy pulling at me.  I even turned around hoping to see where this energy led.  It was like a live wire, extended across the gap from me to him; not just from me, but from my core.  It was like our souls had been engaged in a much deeper conversation and were not quite ready to part.  Our physical bodies, filled with logic, walked away anyway.

Once back in my cabin, I sent a text to my best friend
I think I am attracted to Charlie. . . 
To which she immediately responded
I never would have thought of him for you {because of the geographical distance} but that actually makes total sense.
That was the first inkling that my life was about to change.  In order to be interested in a man from Idaho, you have to immediately consider potentially relocating to Idaho.  The scary part was, the thought of that didn't scare me and neither did the thought of throwing myself at the ground to slip and slide with a bunch of really awesome young people.

Interested in knowing how the Slip-n-Slide went?  It was fun!!  I did end up throwing my neck out, though, which made for a really painful two weeks after camp.  I haven't decided if the fun was worth the pain that ensued and if I will ever do it again, but I'm glad I took that leap. . .literally.

1 comment:

  1. Jess, loved reading this and couldn't be more happy for you. Sounds like you've found a soul-mate!