[All photos from Unsplash]
Karen continues: “After the video ended, I asked Jeremy how he was doing. He said, ‘Well, it’s hard to be rejected.’”
“That’s so true,” says Kristina.
“Oh, Kristina, we all know you haven’t been rejected,” says Karen, rolling her eyes, and smiling at me.
“I have,” says Kristina.
“When?” says Karen. “Probably, like, elementary or middle school when we all had teeth and hips sticking out everywhere,” says Karen, shimmying her shoulders. I smile.
“By Anthony,” says Kristina.
“Oh, right,” says Karen.
“Really?” I say.
“Yeah,” she says. “I guess you haven’t heard the story yet. I forget that you’ve only been here a few weeks – it feels like you’ve been around forever.” I smile.
She continues: “We met at a post-grad training program – I had just finished college – and he still had a semester left. We dated long-distance for a few months, and then he called me up and dumped me.”
“After all that making out in the hallways that I’ve heard so much about…” says Karen chuckling. “A lot of our friends went to the same training program,” she explains to me. “That’s how we all know each other.”
Kristina blushes and says, “Well, yeah. He’s the hottest guy in the universe.”
I smile. “But now you’re practically engaged, right?”
Kristina smiles. “He contacted me out the blue and just said he was ready to give it a try again, if I’d have him, and that this time, he wanted to marry me. I couldn’t believe it,” Kristina says.
“God especially likes her prayers,” says Karen, elbowing Kristina, who laughs.
“I can see why,” I say, smiling.
“I begged God to give Anthony back to me,” she confesses.
“Do you think that kind of thing will happen with you and Jeremy?” I ask Karen. “Like a revival?”
“Oh, no, not at all,” says Karen. “I just can’t see it for us. I do hope that Jeremy can recover though – I mean, he has liked me for such a long time, you know?”
Kristina nods. I cough and sip my tea. The rest of the evening passes uneventful, and I beg out early.
On the drive home, I let my eyes fill, the orange dash lights illuminating the streaks on my cheeks as the dark evergreens fly by my windows. I stay quiet, taking slow deep breaths, praying the Jesus Prayer in my mind. When I finally turn onto my aunt and uncle’s paved street, I speak out loud into the darkness: “I’m so sick of falling in love just to be disappointed. I can’t do this again. You have until August to do something…
I am writing and serially publishing scenes from my falling-in-love memoir, about the anguished, beautiful, and spiritual way that my husband and I met, fell in love, and married.
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