The summer flew by and before I knew it I was a college student. And I had to make my decision – to date Whit or not to date him? Even though I liked him, I felt like the Lord was leading me in a different direction. The night before we met up in person, I messaged Whit that I didn’t think I was going to say yes. He had been banking on me saying yes, and it caught him really off guard. So off guard that he absentmindedly walked down to get a burger from the to-go restaurant near his dorm and walked out without paying for it. We met up the next day at the dining hall, me again with food I couldn’t eat, and telling him that I didn’t want to date felt so surreal. I had been wanting this for so long! But it didn’t seem right. I wanted to give him some hope, and thought things might change later, so I promised him that MAYBE ONE DAY in a LONG TIME I would be open to dating him. I was thinking, like, senior year. After leaving West End I grabbed my journal and took it down to the Duck Pond to pray. I knew I had made the right decision, but some part of me still hoped that we would get together one day.
The weeks went on and we stayed friends. I talked to him, one of the only people I knew, after Cru. He was such a good friend! I couldn’t believe that we could still have such good, friendly conversations. Little did I know it was, duh, because he still liked me. I found myself talking about Whit all the time – I just always had something to say about him! My roommate and another friend even launched a “Whit for Boyfriend” campaign because they thought I should be with him! My feelings turned around – much more quickly than I had expected – and I found myself wondering what to do. I had told him that I didn’t want to do anything for awhile, but now I had changed my mind. He had told me to let him know if things changed, but I was the girl in the relationship – I couldn’t ask him out!! I figured I would let things play out and see what happened.
He ended up asking me if I wanted to drive to our church fall retreat together. I thought it was a dumb idea, being that we had kind of “broken up,” but it made a lot of sense as it was a 2.5 hour drive and we were the only ones from Tech going. Well, that 2.5 hour drive ended up taking six hours!! I had handwritten the directions (thanks, Mapquest before smartphones existed) and Whit misread my ‘1’ as a ‘7’. We decided to make the most of it while we were lost – in some creepy farmland in the mist in the dark, I might add – and had a few adventures along the way. We both had so much fun on this road trip, and I knew that we both knew we liked each other.
Because road trips turned out to be the thing that brought us together, we ended up carpooling from the Cru winter conference in DC to meet up with our youth group in Richmond. We drove 2-3 hours in the middle of the night to meet the van leaving early in the morning for Passion Conference in Atlanta. We had great conversation again, I don’t even remember about what, but it seemed serious and with an undercurrent of strong “like.” At Passion, we sort of let our feelings go. We hung out with each other the entire time, always sitting next to each other and goofing off in the hallways. On the van ride home, we shared headphones (awww). (He showed me some videos of Phish that he had on his iPod.)
Back at home, it was only a matter of days before we were back together, hanging out with all of our friends at my house. Whit wore a v-neck undershirt, showed off on guitar, showed us YouTube videos of Victor Wooten playing bass, and we played a ridiculous game trying to throw poker chips in a cup of water at the bottom of the stairs. Later that night or another night, we stayed in the basement after all our friends had left, watching some goofy kids’ movie. He put his arm around me and stroked my shoulder the whole time with his fingers. When the movie ended, he finally asked, “So what are we going to do about us?”
We knew that we liked each other, but wanted to take it a little bit slowly. We semi-dated for the next few weeks, which felt like FOREVER. We tried to have a friend with us when we were hanging out and tried not to sit too close. We played computer games, went caving, and binge-watched the Office before that was a thing.
Finally he asked if I wanted to make it official by becoming boyfriend and girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. I thought that sounded nice and formal, so we planned a whole day of dates. We met for lunch at Owens and he brought me white roses. (He was going to bring them to my Statistics class but I guess it didn’t work out.) That night, he picked me up outside my dorm to take me to Outback Steakhouse in Christiansburg. I had bought him a new Bible, but at the last minute decided that would be too much for a first date (geez, you think?) and saved it for his birthday the next month (it’s still his primary Bible!). We went to a free concert of a solo jazz guitarist (Cyrus Pace) at Burruss, and then did something stupid and embarrassing, but that seemed like a good idea at the time – we went caving, ALONE, at 11:00 at night, to a random cave by a river that was not legal to go to! Whoops!! It seemed very romantic at the time, of course, but looking back it was such a dumb decision!! We brought blankets and found a room where we could lay down and talk.
As they say, the rest is history! 🙂