Falling in Love with The Love of My Life
The first two times we met not much came out of them, as you read in Our Love Story: Part 1. But the third time--the third time proves the old saying "third time's the charm". Brighton and I got our third chance, and this time around, we didn't let the moment pass us by...
On Friday night, November 30, 2012, I had just gotten home from my Mai Thai kickboxing class and had very important plans to sit on the couch and read a book and drink some tea. I know, I am such a party animal. But I had a long day at work followed by an intense self defense workout session and just wanted to unwind with some peace and quiet.
While I was settling into the couch and getting comfy, my phone buzzed. It was a text from Hailey. She wanted me to meet her at Sundance Saloon for a night out with some of her friends. I'm not much of a night out kind of person so I texted her back.
I think I'm just going to stay home tonight. I'm too tired.
Within seconds I got a response. Brighton is going to be there.
And my mind changed. A night out might do me some good, I thought to myself. While I didn't want to admit Brighton's presence was the only reason for going, it really was the only reason. I felt bad for agreeing to go because of him instead of wanting to hang out with Hailey. However, little did I know, this was all just a set-up from the beginning. Hailey had invited Brighton to Sundance at the same time she invited me and he turned down the invite. So Hailey told him I was going before I agreed to go and told me he was going before he agreed to go. Did you follow that? So crafty and manipulative. She's lucky we both fell for her lies and decided to meet up at the bar.
I feel like I could write an entire book about our night of dancing, but I'll save that for another time. But I will tell you, Brighton and I finally clicked that night. We danced, we laughed, we flirted, we talked about more interesting topics than goats. I remember at one point Brighton wandered off and some of the girls in Hailey's group of friends started asking me how long Brighton and I had been dating.
"Um, we're not together. We just met." I suddenly felt all too aware of how much I was into Brighton.
"You're not?" One of the girls looked at me in shock. "You guys look so perfect together, though. Do you want to get together with him?"
"I don't know. Maybe."
And it was at that very moment one of the girls poked my shoulder and pointed to the dance floor. "Isn't that him dancing with that brunette over there?"
Brighton says he only went and asked another girl to dance to make me jealous. Well, it worked. But I was also devastated and embarrassed. Here were these girls asking me how I felt about him and if we'd get together and there he was dancing away with a pretty brunette across the room. Even though I was bummed out, I just shook it off and shrugged.
"See, I told you we weren't together."
The conversation switched and I was out of the spotlight. After a couple minutes of small talk I ducked away and stepped outside for some air, all the while feeling quite stupid. But it wasn't long before Brighton joined me. He sat down next to me and struck up some conversation. He didn't mention the brunette and I acted like I never saw anything, although I was much more guarded. I didn't need some player in my life. I'd been burned by someone like that before. If he wanted to dance and flirt with all the girls, so be it. But I wasn't going to be one of those girls any longer.
But Brighton was too easy to talk to and open up to. And when he asked for my phone number I found myself spewing out my real number before thinking it through. And unlike most guys, he texted me that same night to tell me he had a great time and wanted to hang out with me again over the weekend before he had to drive back to Wyoming for work.
We ended up spending both Saturday and Sunday together along with Hailey and some other people from the church group. And by the end of Sunday, Brighton drove me home and as he walked me to the door, he asked me out.
A week later we had our first official date. He took me to a Greek restaurant where we played twenty questions and got to know each other a little more. The waitress gave us some old plates and let us throw them at the wall to break them and shout "Ope!" and after supper we went to a Jazz swing dance class in Old Town, Fort Collins. Even though we couldn't figure out how to Jazz dance and ended up country swing dancing to Frank Sinatra, Brighton literally swept me off my feet on our first date.
In a matter of a few weeks, we were madly in love and voiced it without shame. Over the next several months we were inseparable on the weekends. He'd drive the three hours every Friday night to come back from Wyoming and we'd spend every waking moment together until late Sunday night when we'd take so long to say goodbye the clock would roll over to midnight and it'd be early Monday morning.
We'd both be dog tired for our first day back to work for the week, but neither of us cared. We had fallen in love and wanted every chance to be together. We'd talk or text every evening during the week, and every Friday I'd count down the hours until he'd get back into town. Eventually, Brighton gave up the job he adored in Wyoming for a job in Fort Collins so we could be closer together. We talked about marriage and moving back to his home town in Minnesota someday. We talked about having kids and growing old together.
Up until this point, our relationship was picture perfect. We never argued apart from jovial yet sarcastic bickering and teasing. When we'd go on walks in the park, random people would stop us to tell us how adorable of a couple we were. My heart might as well have been a balloon on a string that floated in the air above me I was so smitten with this man.
A photo collage I made back when we were dating.
But I would soon learn no relationship is picture perfect.
About ten months after we started dating Brighton went back home to Minnesota for a friend's wedding. I'll admit, I was hoping his attending this wedding would trigger Brighton to propose to me when he got back. We'd been talking about marriage and spending the rest of our lives together since the first couple months of dating (talk about a whirlwind romance, right?). Many of our other friends who had started dating around the same time as us were already engaged or had even tied the knot, too. I was ready to start officially committing to our future. And I thought Brighton felt the same.
Well, while he was gone, he didn't call me or even send a text. I know that's a typical guy mentality. Men don't long for conversation with their girlfriends as much as women long for conversation and attention from their men. But when I'd text him to check in to see how the wedding went or how things were going he didn't respond. It was like he vanished out of my life. I tried not to make a big deal out of it, but a pit formed in my gut because something about his silence felt off.
When he got back in town from the wedding, he sent me a short cryptic text saying he was back. I ignored the pit in my stomach and texted him back with forced enthusiasm.
That's great! I've missed you. Can I come over and we can hang out for a bit?
Sure. A one word answer. The pit in my stomach deepened.
I met him at his house in the early afternoon and he greeted me with a hug and a kiss. The hug lasted longer than normal, but there was sense of finality to the hug, like this might be the last hug we have for a long time--or forever.
"Is everything all right?" I searched his eyes for answers. Was I making this whole situation up in my head? Was I being overly dramatic. (I do have a tendency to do that.) But the more I searched his eyes, the deeper the pit in my stomach grew. His eyes were so distant and almost sad.
"I want to talk to you about something." He pulled me in closer and drew in a deep breath. "I think I'm going to move back home. To Minnesota."
Like a pin piercing into the side of the floating balloon, my heart fell and the vision of our picture perfect romance shattered into pieces.
"Don't you think it might be good for us? I could go back to Minnesota and get things set up for us. Get a job, save some money and stuff." Brighton grabbed for my hand but I pulled away.
"But you have a job here. And we can save money here." This couldn't be happening. He wanted to leave? Why would he want to leave? How could being apart when we loved each other so much be a good thing? What was the point of dating a person if you weren't going to be around them? The questions marched like an army on the warpath through my head.
"But, I don't know, maybe some distance would be a good thing for us. We've never really been apart before."
Okay, I know long distance relationships are not a bad thing. People have them all the time. Sometimes, that's just how life goes. But in our own situation, I didn't think it made sense. Why did we have to be apart? Hadn't we been talking about marriage and spending the rest of our lives together? How did separating ourselves coincide with wanting to be together for the rest of our lives? It's not like he already had a job lined up out there or any job offers. And couldn't he at least wait until we were engaged before going back home to "get things set up for us"? To me, this sounded like roundabout way to put up some distance so we could slowly drift apart and break up without having to have the "I'm breaking up with you" conversation.
All these feelings came out, and I'll be the first to admit, they came out very emotional and irrational. I cried. I got angry. I was hurt. I physically pushed him away from me. He dropped this on me out of nowhere after being gone and acting like I didn't exist. How was I supposed to believe he'd keep in contact with me if he moved out there permanently?
Our disagreement escalated rapidly with neither of us backing down. He thought moving away was best. I disagreed. There was no compromise in sight. So I walked away.
"I can't do this, Brighton. I have to go." In tears and with my heart breaking into pieces I ran out to my car and drove away with Brighton standing in the drive in silence letting me go.
This was the make or break point of our relationship. We were either going to come out stronger, or we were going to be forever broken. As I was driving away I prayed out loud to God begging Him to save our relationship. I cried out to Him for some magical answer to save us. But deep down, I was already trying to figure out how I was going to move on and heal from a broken heart.
To find out what happens next in Our Love Story, stay tuned for Part 3!
This is like the coffee talk corner. Sometimes I give organization tips or relationship advice, but a lot of times I'm just sharing about the everyday moments that make up my life.