Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Love Story, Part II

When we left off, Paul and I had started emailing and IMing a lot.

Wait...I forgot a tidbit that belongs in the last post.  The night after I interviewed him, Paul and I ended up sitting outside the conference dance and chatting for hours.  Topics included a debate over the correctness of the term "States' Rights," the evils of low-flow toilets, and a hefty dose of making fun of Presbyterians...it was a very "us" conversation.  When I left (my school never stayed in the conference hotel; we all just drove home at night), I went to the cast party for a show I'd crewed.  There, I said to some friends who'd attended Model UN in the past, "hey, do you remember Paul, the guy who represented Papua New Guinea last year?  [They did.  I told you, he was kind of a big deal in Youth in Government circles.]  Well, I'm going to have his babies."
Spoiler Alert: I was right.

Ok, back to a month after that.  At Christmas break, Paul was flying into Nashville, so we arranged to meet up.  My family was convinced that he was going to carjack me if I picked him up from the airport by myself, so my best friend came along.  We hung around until Paul's dad made it into town and then met up with him at Cracker Barrel.  Let's see...brunch with a boy I like but don't know if likes me, my BFF graciously third-wheeling to appease my paranoid family, and the boy's dad who...can be kind of intense.  Not the most cohesive party ever, and Paul and his dad did this thing (I now know) they always do, where conversation gets awkwardly heated even when everyone agrees on the topic being discussed.  I left thinking my chances were sunk because I was clearly too dumb for these people.

Apparently I held my own well enough, though, because Paul kept emailing me.  Because of a few mentions he made of another girl, I assumed he wasn't interested in me that way, but we had some great conversations and I figured I'd settle for just being friends.  He passed back through Nashville on the way back to college after Spring Break.  His flight was early pretty early, so he came up the day before and stayed on my couch.  It also happened to be my school's Sadie Hawkins dance, so he went with me.  I don't think we actually danced at all, but we did have a pretty good time afterwards on a Walmart scavenger hunt with a group of my friends. 

A couple of months later, it was time for Youth Legislature, the mock state government conference.  I was pretty giddy that he was going to be there.  I'd gone into the office to make copies for the newspaper when he arrived to check in.  He greeted me by picking me up in a hug and spinning me around.  "Hmm," thought my terrifically observant self, "maybe he does like me..."  My position in the press corps meant I could pretty much hang out with him all day and still get my "work" done, so I did.

After the dance on Saturday evening, we walked up the steps of the State Capitol and sat at the foot of the statue of Senator Carmack.  We huddled together (it was cold out!) and had a good define-the-relationship talk.

Youth Leg dance, 2004.  Super flattering photo.
On Sunday morning, I went to Mass with him.  It was Palm Sunday, and this was the first Mass I ever attended.  After the conference was over that afternoon, he had several hours before his flight back to school.  We went to Centennial Park and wandered a bit before finding a bench swing to occupy.  We talked about the future and our mutual desire not to spend time/effort on a relationship that wasn't going to go somewhere.  Then I dropped him off at the airport and cried my eyes out over his having to leave.

We filled the time after this writing letters to each other (on paper!  with stamps!) and continuing to email/IM.  He came to Nashville for my high school graduation and for a few other weekend visits over the summer.  During the last visit before I went off to college, he gave me his class ring.

Funny story about that ring:  On one of my first nights at UTM, I went to play a game with my Big Sis from the honors program and a friend of hers.  She noticed the ring and asked what school it was from.  When I told her, she and her friend blurted out Paul's name in unison.  I was dumbfounded.  "Um...yeah, it's his.  How did you know?"  They didn't.  Big Sis had done UN and Leg and had told her friend about Paul, and he was their only association with CBHS. 

In the third installment:  Paul takes back his ring and then gives me two more.
(Be sure to read all the other love stories linked over at the Camp.)