Getting To Know You...

I knew Ashley from track Sophomore year but I started getting to know her more in other places. The more I discovered about her, the more I became attracted to her.

This was Ash, just before junior year

This was Ash, just before junior year

We had a project in geometry together once. I went to her house to work on the project and I ended up staying for dinner. I got to meet her parents and her sisters for the first time. They were kind and welcoming.

We were in a church youth group together and went on a mission trip to Mexicali. I started to see Ashley’s heart for the poor and the needy. We danced next to each other in a “human video,” which was an early 2000s church thing. I remember dancing and laughing together, even though dancing in public was not my thing, I think I impressed her with my moves.

We started talking more. Junior year we had all of the same classes together. We always paired up in Forensics class solving mock crimes. She laughed at me because I could not figure out how to prick my finger to test my blood type. I kept poking the wrong part of my finger but I did not want to show how much it hurt because she poked her finger with ease and I did not want to get shown up. Finally she must have felt bad for me so she showed me where to poke on my finger to get enough blood.

I let her borrow my sweatshirt when she was cold. Pro tip: I would spray the inside of my sweatshirt before going to school with Axe Body spray, anticipating that I would let a girl borrow it when they were cold. That way when they put on the sweatshirt it would smell good.

Ash pictured here with her sisters, junior year

Ash pictured here with her sisters, junior year

When I look back at our classes together, we always seemed to be close by one another. She is beautiful physically, but what also attracted me to her was her compassion. She was friends with everyone, especially the kids that would have been considered outcasts in high school. I never heard her say a harsh word about anyone. I was safe with my preppy jock group and I did not venture far outside of that. She was adventurous and befriended whoever needed a friend. She did not judge, but took people as they were. She loved people better than I did. As an insecure high school kid, I think I knew that she would like/love me for who I was and that I did not have to be something I was not. I was what I think a lot of boys in high school want to be. I was smart, good looking, starter on the basketball team, and popular. But those things were not who I really was. I knew that Ashley would like me, even if I did not have all of those other things, and that is what drew me to her the most.

All of those things led to a conversation we had on Friday, February 13 that shaped the future of our relationship.

-Tim

I Met Someone Else

Sophomore year had left me ready to move on. I had a big mission’s trip to Mexico City planned, and I was ready to forget about you and Liz. I left Phoenix feeling excited about the future. When I landed in Dallas and took the bus to our training camp, I couldn’t help but wonder what was in store for me. When I arrived at camp, I immediately met my team who were all super friendly and just as excited to be there as I was. There was a boy on my team who immediately singled me out. Jackson was a southern boy who lived in white t-shirts and jeans, played guitar and sang like an angel. He wasn’t you, but he was really into me.

 
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I remember thinking, “But…I’m not the prettiest or coolest girl here, and he’s obviously the prettiest coolest guy here, maybe I’m imagining things.” But nope. That kid was totally into me. So I leaned into the feeling and thought, “Well, if I can’t have Tim…this guy is pretty amazing, maybe I should go for it.” So I did. Jackson and I agreed to continue our relationship long distance. He called me every night and for a few months, it was perfect. I had a boyfriend. He would sing to me over the phone, tell me about his football games, and say, “I love you” in his southern drawl. We made promises to each other to wait for each other and reunite in college and then get married. He was trying to persuade his family to come to Arizona on vacation. I talked at length with his Mama on the phone, got to know his little brother who adored me, and generally felt like this could be it. It wasn’t you, but at least he had wanted me, and this felt easy.

As with most high school relationships, Jackson and I slowly drifted apart. I got the sense there was someone else, and to be honest babe, I never really got over you. You and I became closer during the first semester of junior year, and I started to relax around you. We dissected cats in Anatomy class, joked around in Chemistry class, and solved crimes in Forensics class. You got flirty, but I convinced myself you were that way with every girl, and tried not to think about it. After all, I was still dating Jackson.

Eventually, Jackson called me one day to tell me there was another girl and he wanted to take her to homecoming. I had a mixture of emotions, part of me was relieved. Things had grown tense between us, and I was ready for the relationship to end, but I also felt like, “Was I not enough? He found someone else when he told me he wanted to marry me!” I hung up the phone with a pit in my stomach, feeling both relieved and sad. And alone again. Back at square one.

I hadn’t been enough for Jackson. The guy I had dated my sophomore year left me for someone he swore “meant nothing” to him, and I had convinced myself that You were never going to be into me. November ended with me feeling like I never wanted to date again. And then something shifted with you that left me reeling…

-Ash