The next week was a blur. Every night we were together, sometimes until 3-4am. We went Putt-Putt, we went up to our mountain again, we walked through the park, we talked and talked and talked. Then June 4 came. It was one of the hardest goodbyes I have ever said. It was a Monday morning, and Paul came over, early, just to say goodbye one more time. Paul had been transferred and was moving back to Wichita Falls. Neither of us said anything, we just stood there in each others arms, and I cried (crying was getting old!). He walked out the door, and I went back to bed, and cried myself to sleep.
We talked several hours later, as he was driving home, and thus begun the phone marathon. Over the next month, we logged over 7500 text messages and over 3500 minutes (Thank goodness we had the same phone carrier, so we had unlimited of each!). By the time I flew to Wichita Falls for the Fourth of July Weekend, we already knew that we were going to be together forever, however, we weren’t quite prepared to share that with everyone else just yet. It was this weekend that I met Paul’s parents and best friends. It was also this weekend that I had the “Zeke Bonfire”. We took an old coffee can, and I burned everything that I had that linked me to Zeke. There was my old journal in which I wrote many of my thoughts and prayers for Zeke and about Zeke. It was the journal he gave me for Christmas. There were some pictures of us, as well as the information we had designed for the “Band”. Paul said nothing, just stood there as my pillar of strength as I lifted up a burnt offering to the Lord. It was healing. Little did I know that it was only the first step of many in this healing process.
Those 5 days felt like just 5 hours and all too soon I found myself on a plane, headed back to Albuquerque. I cried as I watched Paul drive away from the airport. I cried all the way through security. I cried on the plane. Would crying ever come to an end? Seriously? But it was only going to be 2 weeks until I saw him again. I could make it, right? We continued our phone marathon, talking every waking moment, plus some.
And we began to talk more openly about our plans, and Paul began to shop for rings, which raised some eyebrows. Those who knew us best counseled us to seek counsel, but most also believed that God was doing a good thing in both of us. It was moving fast, even for us, but we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were smack in the middle of where God wanted us. What we didn’t know is that much of our lives would follow this same pattern. It was just the beginning of the whirlwind.
Stay Tuned for Chapter Ten: I will to I do