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love notes: [young love part 5]

if you're new to this series, start here: 
part 1  |  part 2  |   part 3  |  part 4

so i don't know about your high school,
but we went to a small christian school that's affiliated with a baptist church. 
which meant no dancing
[secretly a relief for me, right? because if you've been reading, you know i dislike dancing because i'm terrible at it.]
you could dance, but the school could not sponsor or put on an event that included dancing.
so that meant there was no prom or homecoming dance or sweethearts.
so what do the baptist high school students do?
we have "banquets".
we dress up pretty and take pictures and ride in limos
and go eat.
for real. that's it.
all of you who went to CHS is nodding your heads and giggling a little.
luckily [for everyone else who enjoyed it] someone always had an after party 
where the dancing happened.

but needless-to-say, for girls who didn't have prom, banquet was very important.
remember how i stayed with my freshman-year boyfriend longer than i would've wanted to,
so that i could have date to banquet? i know. it's a big deal.

obviously i assumed Joel would ask me to banquet.
i mean, if he wasn't going with me, he wasn't going at all. obviously.
but it was still cute that for our 2-month anniversary, 
he wrote me a note and asked me, in red, to go with him:

[i honestly, for the life of me, cannot remember if we actually ended up going. 
there's a very good possibility that i ended up having to go back to PA for my grandpa's funeral, 
or at least to visit because his health was failing? so i don't think we ended up going, 
and i think we talked on the phone all night that night because of course i was devastated, 
and of course was not going to suggest that he go with another girl.]

during one of our many phone conversations, i told Joel my philosophy on love.
as borrowed from a friend who i considered to be much more wise and insightful than me.
i told him that i believed:

you can love anyone.
but you're not "in love" until it's the one you're going to marry.

like there's some magical difference? 
silly high school perspectives, i know.
needless to say, he totally went with it.
i was older and wiser and prettier...
and it sounded right.

aside from the phone talking, one of the best parts about having a boyfriend
was always having someone to write a note to.

i'm sure you carried fine point markers in your backpack, right?
and wrote someone a note in each class?
and alternated colors for every line? 
and doodled out the recipient's name really cute at the top?
and wrote about absolutely nothing important?
and folded it all tricky and fun?
oh. that was just me and my silly friends? ok.

so, given my obsession with notes and my philosophy on love, 
you can imagine my surprise when i read this, 
about 5 or 6 months into the relationship:

yes my friends, he wrote a note
to say that he loved me... 
but that he didn't think he was "in love"
just he loved who i am as a person :)
don't you love the arrow pointing to the words "don't freak out" in the left margin. ha!
[he still says that when he has something important to tell me.]

let me tell you a sad little secret: i didn't say it back.
i remember analyzing the whole thing with my girlfriends at the coffee shop later that day.
and i decided i really wanted to be sure before i said it back, right?
plus i would hold a little bit of power if i didn't say it right away, and that was a good thing.
poor guy. seriously.

about four months after that, he said it again.
we were sitting in the jacuzzi this time, obviously chatting about serious stuff.
he told me he loved me again, and i still didn't say it back.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  [click here for part 6] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


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