Sunday, July 01, 2007

48 Days.


That's how many days until I visit with Mat.

I feel like I should probably blog this experience - this engagement, these months leading up the wedding, to the marriage, to the beginning of my life with someone. I don't even know where to begin, except at the beginning.

I met Mat when I was 11 and he was 10. This is just an estimate - when you've known someone since before you hit puberty, things get fuzzy. We're assuming we met in 1992. We're basing our assumption off of this -- in 1994, he went to summer camp with me, and we already knew each other by then. And we know that our first summer camp together was in 1994 because we shared a schoolbus seat together, our heads smashed up against each other as we listened to my brand! new! Crash Test Dummies tape, laughing at the dirty lyrics to "Swimming in Your Ocean":

When I kneel before you bounty
Sometimes I wonder if there could be really
UFO's that come from other planets

And when you let me taste your fingers
I take them like fruit and as I linger
I Wonder if my seed will find purchase in your soil...

Did I mention that our first camp together was a church camp? And that we weren't allowed to have music, but I smuggled it on the bus anyway?

Things about that week are dim. I remember he followed me and my best friend Sarah around everywhere, that he would introduce himself as "Doormat" and at one point he told us that he was "3/4 mature".

I remember his baby brother before the kid could walk - he turns 16 this month. I was with them when they had a family photo done when Monore was 3 (making me 14). We were at Sears, and he and his two brothers along with their cousins Jodi and Jeremy (two of my closest friends growing up) and I were hanging out, and I was holding Monroe, and he shoved his face between my breasts and shook his head.

That's still a joke with all of us.

After that though ... summers meant Mat came to visit. It would mean hanging out at Jodi and Jeremy's house at night while the adults played volleyball, and we sat on a porch swing and would talk for hours.

Then we graduated high school. Mat joined the army, and I stayed here to be with Joe.

And then Mat got very involved with a girl named Yvette, and about the same time I got pregnant, Yvette broke their engagement.

I don't remember much about this one evening - it was not long after I lost the baby, right before Jeremy and Jodi's parents moved to Arkansas. Mat and I stayed up the entire night, sitting on the same porch swing that we had sat on for all those years before, and he let me cry. He let me cry, and he let me yell, and he let me feel beat down and torn up and he just ... listened. He held me, and he was there for me in a way that no one else had attempted to be there for me, because no one in my life knew me and understood me like Mat did (and does).

And then I did the same for him. And the two of us, broken hearted, beaten down, already feeling worn out and barely in our early 20s, we had no idea what was going to happen to us, how things were going to evolve.

I left that morning crazy in love with Mat. And I promptly shoved all of that way down, buried deep as far as it would go because he lived in Seattle, and I lived here, and there was no way. I was scared, and he was scared, and when I left that night I felt like I was leaving a huge chunk of me behind.

Once that evening was done, our conversations grew more spaced out. We would go months without talking to each other, and we very rarely saw each other. He met another girl, and he eventually moved in with her, and he had a relationship with her for 2-1/2 years. I met Jon, and I went through all of that crap with him.

The last time I saw him before this past month was at Jodi's wedding. I was with Jon at the time, and he was with the other girl, and we were both in these miserable relationships, we hated where we were in our lives. I saw him for 10 minutes, hugged him, and I drove home wishing. I went back to the tiny studio apartment I shared with Jon at the time, took off my bridesmaid dress, took the pins out of my hair, and I crawled into bed and curled up next to Jon and cried.

I told him it was because I was happy for Jodi.

Then I quit answering Mat's phone calls. I would answer occassionally, and I would find myself sucked into a three hour conversation with him, and we would laugh and swap stories and have a blast, and I shut everything down, each time, and for a split second I wanted to find a way to see him. Jodi and I planned numerous trips out to see him, and I would always back out.

In March? Maybe April? Jodi's family planned a family reunion, and they bought Mat a plane ticket as a birthday present. And in the weeks leading up to before Mat came down, he would call every day, sometimes twice a day, sometimes three times a day, to talk. I wouldn't answer, because I couldn't do it.

I haven't been in a good place lately. Things with Jon, with Gregg, with everything, where you stop and you wonder what the hell you're doing in life, all of those questions was getting to be too much for me. I had all of these thoughts bouncing around in my head, all of these issues, and I just didn't want to talk.

But one time I did answer the phone, and I agreed to see him one night while he was here - Saturday night.

That Saturday he called me at least 5 times, making sure I would see him. And as the time got closer to see him, I was thinking of excuses not to go. When we finally nailed down plans to meet up at his grandmother's (Nanny, as she will forever and always be), I still didn't want to go, but in the end I went. I sat at the edge of the pool while he swam with his family for a few minutes, then he hopped out of the pool, pulled me over to the table, and he and I shoved two lawn chairs up against each other, and we talked.

As everyone was starting to get sleepy, he and I were just gearing up for one our marathon conversations, and we decided to go to a bar to get a drink, something that we had never done before but always joked that we would.

I should pause for a second here to tell you a sidenote - before when Mat would visit, we did this often. We would pick up and leave - go to the mall, the park, McDonalds, whatever. We always left everyone behind for awhile, and even when we were younger before we could drive, we would run off to the woods behind his aunt's house and talk. Us leaving that night was nothing new to his family.

Later, after we announced the engagement, the people at the pool that night - Jodi, Jeremy and his wife Jennie, Michael and Monroe his brothers, they said they knew. They said that when we were sitting there talking in the chairs, and I didn't move when his wet swim trunks were smashed against my leg, they said they knew. They knew that this time it would be different.

We didn't realize it though, I guess. It WAS the first time in the history of our friendship since we were of dating age that we were both single.

Oh, so we drive to Tulsa to go to a bar, which is 45 minutes away, when there are bars in Muskogee. We talked the entire way. I wore my hair down, and he was playing with the ends of my hair as his arm rested against my chair, and at one point I looked down and my hair was wrapped all through his fingers, in one big tangled mess.

At the bar, we found a table at the back, and even though the music wasn't too loud, we were again smashed up against each other, and it was then that I thought ... "Maybe ... "

When the bar closed, we drove back to his grandmother's house, and we sat in her driveway and chatted, again. And we reclined the seats all the way back, kicked our feet up on the dashboard, and kept talking, always talking. We did this for 3 hours, watching the sky lighten, and I thought it would never happen, that I was dreaming it.

Until ... I pointed out the moon, how it was still up, just outside my car window. He leaned over me to see it, and I looked down for a second, just as he was looking up, and we kissed.

When we pulled apart, he said, "Was that weird? Is it weird to be kissing me?"

"No, surprisingly it's not weird. I kept thinking in my head, oh my god, I just kissed Doormat! but it's not weird."

"It's not weird to me either."

And we kept kissing. We went back to the house where I staying, and we kissed some more, until it was officially morning. We made plans for that evening, to see each other again, to kiss some more.

I'll speed up here - he didn't see me on Sunday until 11pm. We talked even more, for two hours, until we kissed again, then made love. I figured he would leave afterwards, but he didn't. We sat on the front porch, talked about what we wanted in our futures, how we wanted things to go, how we dated people completely wrong for us, but we did it anyway.

"If I moved back, would you date me?" turned into, "When I move back, will you elope with me?"

"If you knew me like you said you did, you would know I want a wedding. I want one day with some attention on me."

"Then when I move back, we can have a wedding."

"Uhm ... did you just propose to me?"

"I think I did just propose to you."

My heart stopped beating, I swear. It stopped, frozen for a split second. Here's what I thought I wanted, here's the person that knows every thing I've ever done, things that no other friend knows about me. He was there for me when other people couldn't or wouldn't or just didn't have time. He knows all of the dark and twisty parts of my life, and he never judged me, and the same goes for me. I knew all of the bad stuff about him, how there are years in his life he wish didn't exist.

I only paused for a second. "I think I just said yes, then."

His face broke out into a gigantic smile, and he kissed me. For the next two hours, as for the second day in a row we watched the sun rise, we talked about how to tell our families, when we wanted to actually have the wedding, who we would invite.

"We're really going to do this?"

"Yes, we're really getting married."

"So ... does this mean you love me?"

He laughed at that question. Who proposes before they love someone? He kissed me and said, "I've always loved you, ever since I was a doormat and 3/4 mature."

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Blogger Lisa said...

Sweet story, Looce. I love it.

However, I must point out that all your boys have misspelled names. Jon is missing his H, Gregg has a surplus of Gs, and Mat is missing his extra T. That makes me giggle.


11:45 AM

Blogger Ericka said...

hahaha. mogs, you crack me up.

looce, I'm happy you're "blogging" again

4:06 PM

Blogger LC said...

Yay for Looce blogging. Even if it got me a little teary-eyed.

I love the 3/4 mature comment.

8:33 PM

Blogger Bubbles said...

Oh gosh... I *like* this one. I'm so glad you two finally matched up. *sniffle* So cute.

11:26 PM

Blogger Tarn said...

Hee! I was totally going to say the same thing as mogs. You have a type, looce! Boys who can't spell their names right. :)

Seriously, though, the story of you and Mat is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it! It makes my heart soar to hear that things like this can actually happen. I wish the best for you both!


4:45 PM


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