Tag Archives: friends

Walk With Me: Our Story, Part V

Welcome to Sunday Stories, hosted by The Annoyed Army Wife. If you haven’t seen her fabulous blog yet, please go check it out! While you’re there, link up and share a story of your own.

Read Our Story from the beginning.

Our first date was on a Friday afternoon. At the end of our lunch, T asked me to see him again. Ignoring his upcoming deployment to Iraq, I threw caution to the wind and said yes.

On Sunday night, T picked me up at my apartment and took me to see The Legend of Zorro. The next day we were both back to work, but met at lunch for a walk. On Tuesday we walked again. Wednesday, T left for a long drill weekend, but the following week we continued to meet during our lunch breaks. At the time, I was working a second job, or we probably would’ve spent some time together in the evenings as well.

My friend K, of course, got regular updates on our progress via email. Anxious to keep things moving, she asked if T and I would like to have dinner with her and Joe at their house that weekend. I told her I’d ask T. I also told her that a couple of things were bothering me.

One was that we’d been seeing each other for a couple of weeks and T hadn’t yet mentioned the upcoming deployment.

On the one hand, I could understand this. We had only just met and I’m sure he didn’t want to either scare me away or suggest that more was happening than really was. To bring it up would be to imply that we had a future together and that could be scary for both of us at this stage in the game.

On the other hand, it was clear that things were going very well and that we enjoyed being together. There was no one else in the picture…and the countdown clock was ticking louder all the time. I was starting to feel like there was a taboo topic between us and I didn’t like that. I wanted to clear the air.

I’ve never been known for my patience.

The other thing that was bothering me was that he hadn’t yet kissed me. I know that he was being gentlemanly and considerate, but the wait was making me nervous. I was impatient about that, too.

On our next lunchtime walk, I brought up the subject of dinner. T agreed that it sounded like fun, so on Saturday, he met me at my apartment and we drove over to our friends’ house together.

We stepped through the back door to find K and Joe bustling around the kitchen chopping vegetables and browning meat for tacos. Little K, blue-eyed and brown-haired, came running and threw herself on me with all the tiny strength of her six years, shouting, “Sarah!” I picked her up and hugged her spindly frame.

She peered shyly through my arms at T. He gave her one of his bright smiles and within minutes, Little K was shrieking with laughter as T tossed her into the air. Baby Blue came running in on two-year old legs to join the fun.

T seemed to have the kids under control entertained, so I went to help K get supper on the table, kicking Joe on the way by. He retaliated with a cold soda can on my neck.

Once we were seated at the table and had passed the taco toppings around, we began to talk and laugh. The kids, of course, finished eating long before we did. Having cleaned her plate, Little K got up from the table and walked around to stand next to T.

In a moment that seemed to fall completely silent, she looked up at him through her long, dark lashes and said clearly, “You’re going to Iraq.”

I froze, not knowing how to react. My eyes sought K’s across the table, then darted back to T and Little K.

“Yes, I am,” T said easily.

“Well,” said Little K, “my daddy’s going, too, so at least you’ll have a friend over there.”

My heart broke into thirty-seven pieces. Not only had Little K broached the subject for us, but here she was, comforting this United States Army lieutenant about his upcoming deployment.

Little K, I love your heart of gold.

After dinner, K and Joe put the kids to bed and the four of us played Cranium until the game faded into more talk. K and Joe sat together on one couch and T and I on the other. I leaned into him, worn out with emotion, and he put an arm around me. It was our first real physical contact and it felt very right.

We got back to my apartment late that night. I was exhausted, so T saw me inside and we stood in the kitchen talking for a few minutes. T leaned against the counter and reached out his hand. I took it and he pulled me to him.

I knew then what was coming, but before I even had a chance to get nervous, T was kissing me so softly and gently that I melted into him. Too soon we broke away and he drove home, but the air had been cleared.

One date, two issues solved – not a bad night’s work. But then, things tend to happen faster when there is a deployment looming on the horizon…

A Pleasant Hike

Yesterday I hiked Pleasant Mountain with our friend Denis and his daughter, A. I had originally planned on taking Owen along. The moderate 5.8-mile roundtrip would have been perfect for him, but, alas, Owen has been sidelined for the rest of the summer hiking season. He has a shoulder injury that has put him on the DL indefinitely. Doctors orders.

(The doctor has also ordered pain meds, massage, controlled activity, physical therapy and 5-10 minutes of icing per night. Let me tell you a little something about how much Owen enjoys having his shoulder iced: he doesn’t. But if his limp improves, the struggle will be worth it.)

The hike went off without a hitch. It was a beautiful day (I forgot my hat and my sunscreen, so I got a little crisped), the views were phenomenal for a 2006-foot peak and we had a lot of fun.

Care to join me for a pictorial tour?

Southwest Ridge trailhead

There are several trails leading up to the peak. We took Southwest Ridge Trail, which has a total elevation gain of 1,800 feet. Not a bad little workout.

A Pleasant view

The trail was not as wooded as we were anticipating, which meant that 1) the views were plentiful and 2) I got sunburned.

Denis gets a closer look

Here we have the North American Outdoorsman in his natural habitat. He seems pretty focused on something. Let’s take his picture and see what he does!

(It’s a lot funnier if you read that with an Australian accent.)

Summit sign

Oddly enough, after this summit sign, we made a steady decent for a good third of a mile or so. There is a smaller peak that we hit before heading down into the ravine and back up to the main peak.

Pleasant summit

The “shoe-around-the-summit-marker” shot is a tradition.

Den and A at the summit

Den and A are checking out the view westward into the White Mountains. Look at those misty shapes – just beautiful! There is something almost spiritual about being out there for me. It is very humbling. Very therapeutic.

You can’t see it in that picture, but the summit was literally a-buzz with dragonflies. Iridescent blue and green wings were darting everywhere. It was very cool.

The bonfire

Gondor calls for aid!

That was all I could think when Den and A scrambled up on this rock slab where someone had built a deadwood would-be bonfire. I hope no one tries to light it anytime soon. The area is so dry that the leaves on all the trees are wilted and sad-looking. The whole mountain would go up like kindling.

All in all, not a bad way to spend the day. I almost forgot, for a few minutes, how very, very ready I am for this deployment to be over.

Walk With Me: Our Story, Part I

About a week ago, I started typing up T’s and my story. When I got to three pages in Word and hadn’t even made it to our first date, I realized that it might end up being a little long for a single entry. What can I say? I like writing about us!

Annoyed Army Wife solved my problem for me: I could put it out in segments and use each segment to link up to her Sunday Stories. Perfect!

So, here we go!

Walk With Me: Our Story, Part I

The year I turned 29 was a good year. I had quit smoking and had taken up running. I felt great and I looked pretty good, too, if I do say so myself.

Soon after my birthday, I turned to my friend K and said, “I’m going to kiss a lot of boys this year.”

She looked at me in surprise. This was understandable, as I was considered the prude of our bunch. My worst enemy couldn’t call me promiscuous.

“Oh, I don’t want to sleep with them,” I told her. “I just want to kiss them. I want to have some fun.”

To this point in my life, an almost debilitating shyness had prevented me from doing much dating…or much of anything, actually. But through running, my confidence blossomed.

So, I started dating. I dated Chris. I dated Jason. I dated Brett. I dated Dan. Some of these guys were nice. Some weren’t. Most wanted more than I was willing to give.

The dating pool stagnated. I became discouraged, then downright disgusted. Eventually I gave up altogether. I would rather be alone forever, I decided, than dip into those algae-infested waters again. I’d had my fun, but I was done.

Meanwhile, I’d turned 30 and the leaves started to turn on another fall. K and her husband Joe talked about climbing Mount Washington before the hiking season ended. One day Joe, a member of the army National Guard, mentioned that his platoon leader lived close by and also liked to hike. I did an internal eye roll.

“Is he good-looking? K asked.

“I don’t know,” Joe said.

“Oh come on. Don’t give me that,” she told her husband. “I know if a girl is attractive or not. You must know.”

“I don’t know,” Joe said again. “He’s kind of goofy-looking, I guess, like me.”

We laughed.

“Do you have a picture?” K asked excitedly. “You need to bring us a picture first. Then we’ll decide if he can come.”

I laughed again, but Joe agreed that he’d try to get a picture next drill weekend.

This is what he came home with (minus the other guys cropped out).

T's picture (pre-meeting)

“How old is he?” I gasped, looking at the face he pointed out to me. “Eighteen?”

“No, he’s my age, I think,” Joe said. Joe is a few years older than me.

“No. There’s no way. He looks twelve. Are you sure?”

Joe told me he was.

Whatever, I thought. He might come with us, but it didn’t matter to me one way or the other. The face in the picture wasn’t my type and I wasn’t looking anyway. I just wanted to climb Mount Washington.