PERFECTLY IMPERFECT


Chapter one: Secretly in love

Their story starts in High School like any worthwhile and long lasting love story always does. She was secretly in love with him. He was secretly mystified by her—what is a ridiculously good-looking guy to think when she has dated everyone else but him, not to mention that most of guys were his friends. However, unbeknownst to him, she was, in fact, very much smitten by his unbelievable charm and dashing good looks, just as he had figured. Actually, so much so that she would sometimes freak out like an Elvis groupie when he walked into a room or just simply passed by. But that is beside the point. What is important is that she always loved him, but he never knew it.

Eventually, they graduated and he went off to college at Brigham Young University in Provo, while she stayed home and attended a nearby college. Oh yeah, he was a Mormon, and she wasn’t. That part is important later.

They had many mutual friends but hardly ever talked, and when they did, it almost felt forbidden, though this tension was never acknowledged. He was such a stud muffin that she was too embarrassed to ever start a conversation, and she was such a mystery to him that he would have never approached her. It was an unfortunate combination that kept these destined lovers from interacting throughout their four years of high school. But fate would have her way, eventually. They continued their lack of a relationship until things began to change toward the end of their senior year. They started to interact more than they ever had, yet still very much at distance.

Chapter two: Love & Basketball

A year goes by and the next thing they know it’s Summer. That meant he was home, but only for a few days, though that is all the time they would need.

To be honest, it really all began with a phone call.

Ring…Ring.

The voice of one of her friends, one of the few who knew about her secret crush in high school was heard on the other line: "hey want to come play b-ball with us?"

She answered back with hesitancy: “I don’t know… it's kinda out of my way and it's getting late.”

"Lyle will be there." (Lyle is the dashing, ridiculously good looking forbidden love, just in case you hadn’t caught on).

She then quickly answered: "I'll meet you guys there in a little."

Click.

The girl was a bit of a tom boy, and like usual, she found herself the only female amidst a group of boys, but she could hold her own on the court. As the games commenced, to her delightful surprise, she was assigned to guard him.

After playing around for a bit, the uncomfortable years of unspoken tension melted away, as the scenario of guarding one another brought them closer, physically, than ever before. Eventually, as the two overcame the awkwardness of the moment and became more involved in the game and consequently, each other, he began to fall for her. Perhaps, though, it wasn’t just the game that had initiated his interest in her, but rather the fact that for the first time in their lives, she wasn’t currently dating one of his friends.

Either way it was a good combination that now had him falling for her.

Chapter Three: Busted Lip

As the game progressed, he found himself guarding her less and less and looking at her more and more; she was so beautiful to him. Is was at this moment, for the first time, he thought maybe he could have a chance with her—at least she seemed to be showing some interest and having fun on the court with him. Yet all is fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Just when the excitement of a possible romance was brewing and the game was growing more intense, her elbow accidentally caught his lip and split it open.

The event, however, would prove to be more fateful than unfortunate.

Despite their growing interest for one another, after the game that night they probably would have gone their separate ways and ever wondered what might have been. But his bleeding lip opened a few previously locked doors; in essence, it was the perfect excuse. After feeling bad and embarrassed for given him a fat lip, she realized she now had a reason to send him a text later that night.

Though her text was nothing more than a mere apology, it was the perfect door opening for him to ask her out to get to know her better. He was quite a prude when it came to woman and would have never initiated a conversation, but her text made it easy for him to act upon his desire in a less conspicuous manner. (God forbid she knew he liked her at that time). Their outing would just be as friends, friends who never really had the chance to get to know one another; or so they assumed.

The rest is really history, but I’ll tell you the story anyway.

​Chapter Four: Beneath The Stars

After a text-message date proposal, the girl was nervous but giddy, this was, after all, her high school crush.

The next night he took her to dinner and an inappropriate movie—he wasn’t the best example of a good mormon boy, but he thought it would be something she wanted to see. He was wrong, but thankfully their date wasn’t ruined.

After dinner and a movie, they ended up back at his house. After some casual conversation intermixed between late-night tv viewing, the boy took a fateful leap: "want to go and look at the stars?" he asked. (wink, wink!) She responded casually on the outside "yeah," but could hardly contain herself on the inside. They walked down to the elementary school only four houses from where he lived to find a spot. They lay side by side atop a baseball field near the playground of the school. The field was dark, empty and quite, but enough light was provided by the moon and start for them to still see one another. If the boy thought the girl was cute on the basketball court, he could hardly resist her on the baseball field that evening.

As they lay there, they openly discussed their perceptions of one another from high school. Their open dialogue brought nervous tension of romance to both, but especially to him. He kept asking himself, “am I really going to kiss her, tonight?”

On her end, the feeling was mutual, yet perhaps more disbelieving, “Is my forbidden high school crush really going to kiss me, beneath the stars on our first date?’ This has definitely been a date. At least I hope he feels the same.”

As tension mounted with the expectation of what now seemed and felt inevitable, the conversation diminished as thoughts were directed towards the potential kiss. The boy began to noticeable shake as his heart pounded within his chest. He knew what he wanted to do, and he knew that she wanted him to do it. But he just couldn’t. It was as though his body was frozen. He lay there in silence, still shaking for what seemed minutes at a time. The girl patiently waited. As he lay there thinking of both how he might kiss her and how he might get himself out of the situation, his mind was struck with questions to carry the conversation along: “What kind of music do you like?” The girl would answer and wonder if he really might not kiss her. But after each question and answer, the tension of the inevitable kiss would rise again. It was only a matter of when.

The boy hardly paid attention to her answers; he only asked because he figured it would buy him time and spare him from the awkward silence which revealed his nervous beating heart.

“Ok, I’m going to do it,” he would tell himself. Just kiss her. You know she wants you to. But what if she doesn’t? What if she is totally weirded out, backs away and slaps me, like they do in the movies. At least know one else will see it. But she’ll tell everyone, and that could possibly be worse. Ok I’m going to do it right now.

Chapter Five: Shalalalala my oh my, look like the boy too shy, he ain't gonna kiss the girl

"No!" He almost said out loud. "I can’t kiss her." This is crazy. Besides its our first date. At least I think this is a date. She is way more experienced than me. She’ll compare me to all the other guys she’s kissed. Even if she wants to kiss me now, as soon as we start, she’ll be grossed out and that will be the end of it. Maybe if we never kiss, we can at least stay friends and we can always wonder. Sometimes to wonder is better than to know, right…?”

“Are you ok?” Her question interrupted his thought process, and made him fear he may have spoken out loud.

"Yeah, why?"

“You’re shaking”

“I think I’m just cold… You’re hogging all the blanket anyway!” he said with a smile.

“Here, why don’t you scoot closer so we can wrap the other end around us.”

“Ok. That works for me. I mean I guess we can get closer—though this is just a first date. ” (still grinning on the outside, yet wanting to shoot himself on the inside.) He couldn’t believe the words had slipped out of his month.

But now he knew she most likely would not back way or slap him. It was really all he needed to quell his doubt. For the first time in life, his mind was blank. No more second guesses. Like an instinctual reaction, he was leaning in to kiss her.

Reaching her lips shocked him into consciousness and he realized that he had done it. He wasn’t sure how he got from scooting closer to interlocking his lips with hers, but that didn’t matter now.

Nothing matter, except for that fact that she was kissing him back.

Chapter Six: Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Unfortunately, after that night, they only had one more day together before he had to go back to Provo for a spring term. The distance for these younger lovers surprisingly did not hinder their relationship; in fact, it seemed to only strengthen it.

This is where the part about him being a Mormon comes into play.

He being in the distant and very foreign land of Provo undoubtedly sparked a few questions, most notably about the peculiarities of the Mormon religion. As they began to talk more and more on the phone, the subject of Mormonism could hardly be avoided. Unknowingly her curiosity about the quarks of the religion opened the door for him to explain what he believed and why. In the most natural manner he could, the boy bore his testimony of the gospel, and a newfound interest of the possibility of what Mormonism had to offer became apparent to the girl.

If he had done everything by the book, he would have continued to teach her the gospel but somehow avoid falling in love with her; he did, after all, have a mission to serve in the next few months.

But staying out of love proved impossible.

Love, much like testimony, grows, at times, seemingly out of our control. As the months passed by, her fire for the gospel and their love for one another continued to flourish. Eight months later, in one of the greatest days of both their lives, the boy had the opportunity to baptize the girl he had fallen for. It was an experience that bonded them closer together than ever before. In celebration of their love, her baptism, and in out of the sheer adventurous spirit which so often connected them, they took a trip to New York City together the week following the ceremony.

However, perhaps the trip was more of a farewell journey and a climax to the end of what became an eight-month summer love.

The trip was amazing, though very cold, as they both often recall.

Things moved quickly when they returned from their trip, and before they knew it, they were driving on the way back to Provo, this time together with his family to see him off on his mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for two years. To say the least, it was a difficult time. Not a day had gone by that they hadn’t spent together for eight months straight, and now, they were going to be parting for two years, separated by the half the world’s continents and oceans, only able to write by email once a week.

Distance is often said to make the heart grow fonder, and such was the case at the start. They fell more madly in love with one another those first few months apart. Promises of faithfulness, commitment, allusion to marriage, and a future life together filled the pages of the letters they sent back and forth.

But as distance makes heart fonder, time has a way of wearing on love. And despite their passion for one another, letters became shorter; they had fewer things to say. She had a life to live back home and he was meeting and interaction with new people every day.

As their love faded, he suggested that she date other people. He could no longer ask her to wait as she had for nearly a year. And so she did. First, she dated others with hesitancy, always having him in the back of her mind, always comparing. Yet still slowly, she gave her heart away to others. She felt she had to. She thought this is what he wanted. And at that time, for the most part, it was what he wanted.

Chapter Seven: Dear Lyle

Soon after, she began dating seriously. They had nearly made it one year still committed, though ever waning. When her “dear Lyle” letter came, he was fine. They still continued to write here and there, but the love was no longer there. However they both still thought that maybe, things might work out. But such was not the case.

A few months later, she became serious with one of those friends of theirs from high school, who had returned home from a few months before he did. They ended up falling in love, and were soon married for time and all eternity.

They were happily married by the time he came back home from his mission. At that time, things were much like they were back in high school between them, yet perhaps they acknowledged each other even less. Two years is a long time. It was almost as though they had never known each other, as though they had never loved one another. But that is the way it had to be.

In time, however, it became apparent that her marriage to this friend was unhealthy, to say the least. They had their differences and simply were not right for one another. After a year and a half’s time, they filed for divorce.

This was a great trial in the girl’s life, and she immediately looked to those she could trust as friends to confide in. Though their love had faded and though they had hardly acknowledged each other’s existence, she came to him. He was a spiritual help in her life—he always had been. At this point, the boy knew it was a difficult and potentially messy situation to become involved in, but he felt he had a duty to be a rock in her life, if only for a time.

They did things together occasionally, usually relating to the gospel; he kept his distance as much as possible, and saw her in a different light than he did when they first fell in love. He now saw her much like the people that he fell in love with on his mission—a love not of romance but of compassion and caring: the love of a friend.

Chapter Eight: Where Is This Going?

Slowly on her end, she began to see him as she always had. And spark of a could-be rekindled fire was ignited. However, he did not feel the same. Aware of this tension, he began to keep his distance even more. Yet she maintained her interest, though kept it concealed, until one day she took a fateful leap. She confessed her love and asked to know where he stood. To her chagrin, he maintained his ground and as politely as he could, denied her advance. She was troubled, but not crushed. She figured if nothing it was worth knowing. She still hoped to stay close friends.

Not long after her text confession and his denial, she remembered that his birthday was coming up, and she mentioned that she would like to take him out to dinner, just as friends of course. He fearing the awkwardness didn’t respond for a few days.

Shortly thereafter, another school year ended and they both traveled home to California, but didn’t see each other. He had finally resolved that he was not going to pursue her and he assumed that she would do the same towards him. But as he got to thinking, he figured that he could at least take her up on her offer to have dinner as friends for his birthday.

When he got back to Utah a week later, they met up of one of their favorite restaurants. The second he first saw her that night, something was different. At first he couldn’t quite put his figure on it, but as the night wore on he came to realize that they were feelings of attraction. He couldn’t say why but something about her, or both of them, had changed—it was as though a switch had been flipped, and he didn’t know how to turn it off, and frankly he didn’t want to.

While driving after dinner to drop her off, he felt a desire for the first time to initiate something. He wanted to turn this friendly dinner experience in to something more, if not a date.

“Hey, do you want to go the grocery store,” he asked awkwardly.

The question took her by such surprise she wasn’t sure how to respond: “sure, I guess. Is there something you need?”

“Just a few things, and I just don’t feel like dropping you off yet, really.” he tried to say it as causually as possible, still wondering what in the world he was doing.

As ridiculous as it may seem, he probably hadn’t done something so spontaneous since the first time he kissed on that baseball field.

Chapter Nine: Can Of Worms

Friendly conversation then turned to pure fun as they meandered their way through the store, stopping to flirt in their own subtle ways every chance they could.

A simple trip to the store confirmed to him that he was definitely feeling something for her again and before the their time was up that night, they had made a second date to see one another that weekend.

That date, too, was nearly perfect. But she wasn’t yet sure if it was really a date, or just friends playing catch up. On their drive home late that night they spoke openly about things most married couples would consider taboo. As once it felt they had never knew one another after his mission, now it felt as though a day, half the world, and even an eternal marriage had never separated them.

They continued to talk and talk but as it neared 2:00 in the morning the boy halted their conversation, and took it in entirely new, very unexpected direction.