(If you’re looking for links to other parts of the story, scroll to the end of this post.)
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I was in love with Randy and I knew it with confidence deep down in my soul.
It was simultaneously the most surreal and the most natural emotion in the world. I used to wonder what “being in love” would feel like. How amazing it would be to have a man, a real life man, and love that person!
I had him. It was just Randy! My best friend Randy! But wait – I have someone who wants to love me, maybe, forever. Natural to surreal, surreal to natural. I was in a daze!
August brought the best kind of adventures. Almost every night we were on a date, a drive, a walk somewhere. We were holding hands and kissing and talking and loving each other more and more with every passing day.
We attended two more weddings as a couple (and yes, they went much better than the first wedding where I spent half the reception crying and saying I didn’t know if I loved him) and saw Hunter Hayes in concert at the Lynden Fair.
(Omgosh, I love petting animals. For real.)
We drove to Bellingham for Mexican food and bookstore browsing and Woods Coffee.
We went to the PNE with friends, road on the ferris wheel together–I still remember what Vancouver looked like that evening at dusk, that spectacular mountain view.
When I traveled to Tofino for a destination wedding, we were apart for a few days. I’ve never minded being away from home, never said “no” to a few hours alone to read but I missed Randy so much on the trip. One evening, I was laying in a bed in a rental apartment and there were unfamiliar noises upstairs. It was close to midnight and I know it was another group of people. For some reason, I started to get scared.
I reached for my iPhone and texted him. “Are you awake? I just want to read your words. There are strange noises here.” I exhaled when I saw the “dot dot dot” on my screen, knowing it meant he was there, he was texting something. From hundreds of kilometres away, he made me feel safe. For one of the first times when we were apart (I was usually quite content!) I wanted to be with him right now.
In September, we traveled to Oak Harbour, WA with a couple of our friends for the weekend.
Another evening, Randy drove me to Vancouver for an engagement session and scouted out a place for take-out while I worked. We sat on a park bench in Olympic Village as we ate, the chillier air reminding us summer was on it’s way out.
We adventured in Lighthouse Park when my friend Sarah came to town and enjoyed lunch in Gastown. Hanging out with Randy was my favourite thing to do.
Soon, we found ourselves in the best kind of place.
We were honest and could laugh at parts of our story looking back. In both of our hearts, I knew we knew this was forever. We walked the pier in Port Moody together as the sun was setting behind the mountains, shading the wooden pier. It was the first time we’d been back to the exact spot Randy said “I like you” a few months ago in April.
We reminisced about that evening, sharing what we could remember in the greatest detail. Following a few minutes of silence Randy said quietly, “Sometimes I wonder if you’re going to step back again. And say it’s too much. Say you aren’t in love enough. I’m not sure.”
I squeezed his hand, feeling terrible for all of our past conversations. (I felt terrible during them too! But it didn’t make them untrue!) “I don’t think I will.” A pause.
“I really don’t think I will. I’m 99% sure.”
He laughed it off… even though I was being genuine about that lingering 1%.
We had a comfortable love.
On the rare evenings we weren’t able to see each other, we would Facetime for an hour and it always felt like five minutes.
We started playing Scrabble, content to hang out on a Sunday afternoon on the couch, staring at our seven available letters. My every day included Randy and my heart felt constant.
I knew I loved him and I was starting to believe this love would never change.
(I wrote the following journey entry sometime in September:)
I’m in love with Randy. I no longer only cognitively think I love him. I feel I love him. I love spending time with him. I love that I can be myself with him. I love holding his hand, resting against him. I love how he cares for me and encourages me and always seeks to serve me.
I love his heart for people – how hard he works for what he believes in. I love his humility – how when he fails, he’s teachable and willing to learn. I love how he communicates what he feels. I love how he’s stuck by me through over months of ups and downs. And I love him.
I’m tearing up writing about him right now.
It’s been a slow process, this falling in love.
It’s hard to pinpoint how I got here – and that’s just the thing, it wasn’t a pinpoint. It was him and I, patiently building conversation upon conversation, trust upon trust, and all of that turned into love. For me, a trust that the love Randy communicated in May was truth. He did love me. Differently than he does today and differently than he will next year. But he did and he does.
I didn’t trust that – and over time he’s proven his love.
I fell in love with how he handled my hard conversations. My tears about introversion, my tears about love languages, my tears about being tired and handling sickness and figuring out what I was “feeling.” I fell in love with his care for me (his morning Starbucks, waiting for me in the kitchen at his mom’s house every morning we were there) he woke up early to work, drove to Starbucks to fetch me tea and returned. Because he knew I liked their green tea.
I fell in love with his ability to listen honestly. I fell in love with the comfort of having him near, with the comfort of knowing I could be myself with him – my teary, sometimes dressed lazily/ugly self – and have him whisper “you’re beautiful” for the 25th time that day.
I fell in love with his thoughtfulness – his hand-written words, his cards. I fell in love with his ability to make me feel safe. To be beside him on the couch, six hours into painful turn-your-face-white cramps and feel his hand on my lower back and know there’s no place I could feel more comforted.
Randy, I fell in love with you that afternoon on the Island at Brent and Carley’s house. I fell in love with the man sitting beside me at the kitchen table, sweaty, catching his breath, four energetic kids flocking around him, climbing on his back calling “Randy, Randy.”
I fell in love with you on the rainy walk to the river with Brent and 3 of the kids. When the sky opened up and it started to pour and your simple words of encouragement to the 2 kids as they peddled and Cohen as he shielded himself in the stroller from the rain. I fell in love with you, your jeans soaking wet, a fresh t-shirt from the truck on, your forearms still damp, us resting against one another on the couch in their living room.
I fell in love with you in their driveway, on the way out. When you put the brakes on, leaned over and grabbed my hand and said “Thanks for coming.” My eyes filled up with tears as you drove away. I fell in love with you that evening, driving to Atlas, the restaurant where we first met, singing “Mine Would be You” by Blake Shelton at the top of our lungs.
When we put the truck in park behind the restaurant and you leaned in close over the console to stare at me, I fell in love. We talked and laughed and whisper and kissed and stared for an hour… and I was falling in love. I started crying that day, leaned in close to your forehead, feeling your breath on my cheek, feeling like I loved you. Feeling like you were something I wanted in my life. I laughed softly, “I’m crying. I’m happy. I just know that I love you.”
We started driving back to your mom’s house and when we arrived, we changed and sat on the couch in front of the fireplace. It was a wood burning fire, crackling, your feet up on the coffee table, my feet against your legs. I loved being with you. I loved watching you at home with your mom. Your playful relationship and how you care for her and help her and serve her when you’re home. I see so much love for you in her eyes. Respect, admiration, love. I love who you are.
I fell in love with you in Tofino – in a studio basement suite, with you hundreds of kilometres away. I was struggling to fall asleep, and I needed to hear from you – about something, anything. I texted you what I was feeling and you said you were praying. Something about those blue rectangles appearing on my iPhone from you, in Langley, they made me feel at peace. I wanted you there in that moment but texts would do.
And I fall in love when I think about our future; praying together, making meals together, going on vacation together, laughing together, mornings in bed together, adventuring together, challenging each other, having a family together. I want to fall asleep beside your arms I love so much and wake up in the same place. I want to encourage you and support you and learn how to sacrifice more of my self every day to bless you. I want to be the woman God designed me to be for you. I want to commit to you.
I was talking to Mom about marriage today, about being here, a simple four months in and thinking you’re the one for me. Is that crazy? I love how we communicate and I love how patient you are and how you allow me to safely share.
I see my life with you and I trust you.
That’s the silly thing.
I think I’ve trusted you since July. Known you. Believed you. But I didn’t trust myself. I knew you were A, B, C, all these great things since February, but I didn’t know if we would work together.
We do work together. I trust whatever we face, whatever challenges we come up against we’ll face together. I trust you’ll love me, I trust you’ll encourage me to be better woman.
I want to love you better.
The introduction of Forge can be found here and Part One can be found here. Part Two can be found here. Part Three can be found here. Part Four can be found here. Part Five can be found here. Part Six can be found here. Part Seven can be found here. Part Eight can be found here. Part Nine can be found here. Part Ten can be found here. Part Eleven can be found here. Part Twelve can be found here. Part Thirteen can be found here. Part Fourteen can be found here. Part Fifteen can be found here. Part Sixteen can be found here. Part Seventeen can be found here. Part Eighteen can be found here. Part 19 can be found here. This is Part Twenty.