Levi and I married each other in June of 2012 after only six months of head-over-heels, foolish-about-each-other love. Our story, like every love story, has its own unique and sweet moments and timings. We continue to marvel at the way God orchestrated our lives to bring us together, and though it included pain and trials for both of us before we met, we wouldn't change anything about it.
Everything that happened and every way that we grew led us to this moment.
Levi and I had decided it was time to tell each other our romantic histories, both of which were heavy and difficult. He'd sent me his in a letter and was now calling to talk about it . . . and, I had just learned, to talk about meeting for the very first time . . .
Chapter 15: History, Part II
Sitting on the carpet in my living room, I gazed down at my phone with a mixture of excitement and sheer terror. That fragile device, blinking and whirring and warbling out its little ringtone, was going to be the instrument by which my fate was decided. Yes, I know that sounds overly dramatic, but come on, people. Can you honestly say that you haven't felt the exact same way when you've been expecting a big phone call, and then that first ring bursts out of your phone and your stomach simultaneously drops and leaps into your throat?
That's where my stomach was residing as I picked up the phone. I held it in my palm and stared down at the blinking message, "Incoming call . . . LEVI." I reached over to my laptop, adjusted the screen, settled back against the bottom of the couch, took a steadying breath, and answered the phone.
"Hey, you," I said.
Thus began the most serious conversation we'd had to date. It was hard to know how to proceed. Did we chit chat first about our days? Did we dive right in to what Levi had written me? Did I tell him my baggage first and then just muck out both messes together? Or did we jump straight to the fact that Levi was going to ask about meeting each other face-to-face?
We began with chit chat. "How was your day?" "Oh, pretty good." "Yeah? That's good!" Now, I love Levi more than any human being on earth, and, even then, I held him in very high regard, but I was dying with that conversation. Come on! This huge, heavy stuff was hanging over our heads ready to drop any second, and here we are talking about what we ate for lunch that day. We did our best to sound casual and carefree, but neither of us was fooling the other.
"So," he finally said, pausing meaningfully. "I guess we've got a lot to talk about tonight, huh?"
"Yeah," I replied. "Where do we start?"
We decided to start with his letter, or, at least, the first section. It was a strange feeling, asking him deeply personal questions about his life and his experiences. We'd never spoken so deeply with each other before, and, in a way, I still felt a bit like an outsider. Of course, that was the whole reason we were telling each other those things. You know the kind of feeling I'm talking about, gentle readers? You're a good friend with a person, and then suddenly some crazy real stuff gets brought up. The kind of stuff you've either got to live through with a person or never ask about. And you don't know what to say, and you're feeling awkwardly excited because you're at a true heart level of sharing, but the things being shared are rough.
That's how I was feeling as I asked Levi questions. Actually, I only had about two or three questions that night. His letter had been so thorough that I wasn't left wondering about too many things. And as for the actual details about how his life had progressed, well, it might have been presumptuous, but I was hoping that I'd have plenty of time in the future to hear those details.....
Then it was my turn.
"So," I said, pausing with the same meaning he'd paused with earlier. "I guess it's my turn to tell you my stuff."
"Only if you're ready," he said. "I don't want to push you."
"No," I hastily replied, "no, it's ok. I'm ready."
"Oh, and one more thing," I stammered. "I'm not good at talking about these things off the top of my head, so I wrote a letter and I'm just going to read it to you word-for-word. Oh, and I'm definitely going to cry. But it's not because I'm really upset, it's because I always cry when I talk about deep heart things with people. Is that ok?"
"That's just fine," he laughed.
I began, my palms sweating and my heart thumping against my ribs. My stomach was back up in my throat again. About halfway through the letter my nose began to tingle--my body's sign that the tears were not far behind. Sure enough, about thirty seconds later they began to fall in earnest. So I finished my letter to Levi, crying and sniffling and trying not to sound too much like a bullfrog croaking into the phone.
I was relieved to finally tell him the hardest things of my heart. The deepest things. Like he'd said to me in his letter, I found myself wanting to be vulnerable to him.
He was quiet for a moment. And then that moment turned into a long moment. And then that long moment stretched into what felt like eternity. A voice inside my head started chattering, "He's not ok with it. You've scared him off. He thinks you're gross. He can't believe he'd get involved with a woman like you. He'll never want you now. You're damaged goods." The voice swirled around and around in my head, getting louder and louder until...
"Thank you," he said.
"You're..." I hesitated, "you're, welcome."
"Did you have any questions for me?" I asked.
"No," he replied. "Not right now. Not yet."
Another pause. And then I could help myself.
"So, are you ok with what I told you?"
And I actually heard him smile over the phone.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm very ok with it."
I almost did a cartwheel. I decided against it mostly because I was on the phone, but otherwise, this girl would have been spinning circles. I settled for a Tiger Woods fist pump. Then the silence began to stretch on as I realized that we'd come to the next part of the conversation. The exciting and huge part.
"So," he drawled. "I guess that bring us to the last part of my letter..."
"Yeah," I said, trying to breathe normally. "I guess so."
"So," he paused, sounding like he was gathering himself up, "I'd like us to meet each other. How do you feel about that?"
"Levi," I replied, a smile creeping across my face, "I feel really good about that."
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