Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Sweet Significance of Smarties

Some moments are so significant in our lives that they will never disappear from our brains no matter how much time passes. Sometimes we don’t know that certain moments will change our lives forever, but when we look back and realize just how important those moments were to shaping the rest of our lives, we cherish them and hold them closely to our hearts. I am now realizing just how important one night was to my life, and I thought you all might want to hear about it. One night changed my entire life forever, and here’s the story:

October 12th, 2008 was a cloudy, cool Sunday. It was the type of day I just adore; the clouds hung low in the sky and it was raining on and off.  I was fifteen at the time and in love with a boy that I wasn’t sure even liked me as more than just a friend. (Ben, in case any of you were confused!) Our relationship confused me; we were like best friends, and everyone asked if we were dating. Of course, I wished we were, but someone seemed to be oblivious to the fact that I thought the world of him. (Ben again, in case any of you can’t follow me.) Everyone else on the planet knew I wished we were more than friends, except for the one person I wanted to know. (You guessed it…Ben again!) But, I was and still am old fashioned. I wanted him to pursue me. Way back when MSN was the popular form of online chatting, I would anxiously log on at night just to see if he was online, and if he was I suppressed my extreme desire to strike up a conversation with him. Didn’t want to come off super eager, folks. He still didn’t know I liked him and I wanted to keep it that way, at least until he told me he liked me first. He needed to make the first move, and if he wouldn’t have done that I wouldn’t have even considered dating him. Luckily for me, that all changed on October 12th.

Even though it was rainy and chilly that day, I made plans to spend time with Ben’s little sister Samantha. Samantha and I have always been close and at this time I was helping her sort through some issues. Mainly I just listened to her talk, which is what we all need at times. So on that chilly day we were sitting out at Gavins Point beach in Yankton, just hanging out and removing ourselves from the stresses back at home. I don’t remember how long we sat out at the beach, but when we were getting ready to go she mentioned that she had something for me from Ben. I remember my heart doing a weird little lurch inside me as she gave me an envelope with my name on it. I think I opened it up right then and there and let her read it to. And guess what people! I still have that letter. It is ripped, fragile, and falling apart, but it is an important piece of our history and I plan to keep it for as long as I can. All it says is that he wanted to meet with me after he got off work at 8:00 that night to “talk to you about something.” Of course when I read that to my parents and sisters that night they all raised their eyebrows and guessed that he was going to ask me out, which of course caused me to blush( I blush super easily!) and disagree. I was positive that he still only thought of me as a friend and told them he probably just wanted to talk about something that was bugging him, since we were best friends and talked about everything.

To my pleasant surprise, this visit was more than just a friendly chat. The funniest thing about this whole ordeal is that I had to have my mom drop me off at HyVee, which is where the conversation took place. I was only fifteen the night my entire life would change! Too young to even drive myself to the conversation that would change everything. That was one of the weirdest drives of my entire life. But when I walked into HyVee and saw Ben in his cute little work uniform-khaki pants, white button up shirt, and a bright red tie- I got really excited. Because I immediately knew this was more than just a talk from how he was sitting. He was praying-leaning forward, eyes closed, probably nervous out of his mind. Sitting on the table was two bottles of Mello Yellow and a bunch of Smarties candies. (HyVee hands them out to kids, but Ben stole so many of those when he worked there!) I awkwardly sit down and he looks up and smiles, but I can tell he is super nervous. We make small talk for a while, but he had just spent his entire six hour shift rehearsing what he wanted to say to me so we didn’t waste too much time just chatting. I am so mad that I can’t recall the exact conversation, (you’d think as a writer I would remember something so important!) but it went something like this:
            *awkward silence after awkward small talk ends*
Ben: So um, I have something to tell you. (nervously playing with Smarties wrappers)
            Sara: Okay. (gets super excited)
Ben: Well. I think I might like you…as more than a friend…and I was wondering…if you felt the same way too? (extreme crackling of Smarties wrappers)
Sara: Yeah. I do.
Ben: Oh. Okay. Well…cool.

I am literally laughing out loud as I recall this, because no one will ever understand how incredibly awkward this night was for both of us. We were already so close, but we avoided the fact that our relationship had quickly turned into more than just friendship. We ignored it, but continued getting closer and closer. We even talked on the phone a few times! Still, that night was weird. It was the first time anyone had told me he liked me, and it was the first time Ben had told anyone that. We were newbies and didn’t know what to do with this new information. All I know is that after he told me he finally relaxed, and we sat there chatting for quite a bit before I knew I had to get home and report to everyone that they were right. Although I would argue with them that he hadn’t really asked me out; he’d just told me he liked me. He knew I wasn’t allowed to date until I was sixteen, and at the time I still had six more months until I was sixteen. But Ben is detail oriented, and he calculated how many days between October 12 and April 24, my birthday, and told me he would wait. That is what I will always remember about that night. He wanted to wait for me. Isn’t that every girl’s dream?

Along with that, I will always remember the walk back to his rusty little Toyota pickup so he could take me home. He was so happy that he started running and jumping and making these absurd little shouts of joy. Then he turned around, now running backwards, and grinned that silly grin that still makes me laugh even now, four years later.

And my life has never been the same. I wouldn’t know it until years later, because even though we were best friends, I knew high school relationships didn’t often last. But as a year passed, I think we both knew it would. Two more came and went, and a beautiful engagement ring sealed the deal. So as we approach the anniversary of the night he told me he liked me, I view it differently now. It wasn’t just the first time a boy told me he liked me. It was the beginning of my marriage, of the rest of my entire life. That is pretty significant, folks. And you can bet we will be celebrating by cracking open some Mello Yellows, enjoying some Smarties, and laughing at the awkward, sweet, and life changing conversation that started us on this crazy adventure.

I just love October, don’t you? 

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