Sunday Morning. Church. He was going to meet me there.
We had been dating for just a few months. (We did start dating several months after that night in the study lounge.)
I spent extra time this particular morning getting ready for church since he would be there. I curled my hair, wore a new outfit and new shoes, and did what girls do when they're trying to impress their boyfriend.
I pulled into the church parking lot and darted up the stairs to the gymnasium where our friends often met to munch on donuts and drink coffee before church started. My eyes caught his and I walked over to where he was standing with our friends.
One of his friends looked up, "Sarah, you look really great today. I love your hair like that." I don't remember how I responded to him because my attention was focused solely on Jason - the only one I really wanted to notice me.
He was looking away. I couldn't catch his eyes. He looked so uncomfortable.
I wanted him to chime in and whole-heartedly agree with those statements. "Yes...she looks so beautiful, doesn't she? I'm the luckiest guy in the world." In my mind, that would have been perfect!
But nothing. He said nothing. And, I was so hurt.
I quietly stared out the window as we drove up to his parents for lunch. I didn't understand.
In his soft-spoken and tender way, he asked, "Sarah, what's wrong?"
I immediately unloaded. (And in true "girl" fashion, I was so glad that he finally asked.)
"I don't understand you. I was so excited to see you today. I wanted to look really nice because you were gonna be there. I walk into church, and [your friend] compliments me on how I look and you didn't say anything. You just stood there. I feel like you purposefully said nothing, and I don't understand."
I will never forget what he said next.
"I did do that on purpose."
What? I was totally stunned.
He continued. "And, I'm so sorry that I hurt you. I love you very much. And, you are incredibly beautiful to me. But, when I get married, I want my wife to know that she is the only girl I ever doted on that way."
From that moment on, I wanted to be that girl.
I knew that I wanted to marry this boy who loved his wife before he even knew who she was. And who was saving his doting words, and deepest feelings for her. And only her.
I would have to wait 3 1/2 more years. But, one cold winter evening, Jason would ask me to be that girl...
(A friend's wedding. August 2000)