Today is Jacob's and my fourth anniversary and in honor of that I wanted to post our story. I started writing it months ago, but I always felt a little weird about posting it. And I still do. But I SO love reading other people's stories that I felt that it was only fair to share ours.
FRESHMAN YEAR (in which we don't date)
Jacob and I met in college at the University of Dallas during Freshman Orientation.
I was bumming a ride to the Super Walmart with a buddy of mine and so was he. My friend was very pretty, and he was SO crushing on her. (He admits to this crush, but assures me it only lasted for three days.)
By the end of our Walmart trip we were friends enough to sit at the same cafeteria table, stop and chat around campus, sit next to each other in class, etc. But Jacob had lots of friends on campus. His older brother had plowed the way for him to be in with the upperclassman. He was a social butterfly.
I'm not very good at making friends, I'm better at making friends. I'm like a robot: Make close friends. Share all secrets. Die for them. So I had my little clan, and I would occasionally hang out with other people, one of whom was Jacob Rhodes.
Pretty soon into first semester Jacob began developing feelings for me, but he was quiet about them because he knew I didn't reciprocate them, and as heartless as it sounds he was right.
Jacob was my friend. I didn't feel an ounce of chemistry between us. But as my friend, he was awesome.
He was infinitely interesting. Evey week I'd find out some new astonishing detail about his childhood. Like how he spent his junior year of high school living with his horse'n'buggy Mennonite relatives in Kentucky sans electricity. Or how he'd grown up on Maui and literally lived in a tent on a beach while his stepdad did accupuncture on horses. Or how his family had followed a guru half way around the world before his hippy mother returned to the Catholicism of her roots. To a little girl who'd lived in one house in one town of 6824 people her whole life, Jacob Rhodes was totally exotic.
Our friendship grew, but no romantic feelings were mine. Talking with some of my girlfriends one day freshman year, I told them the kind of love story I wanted to have. I said that I wanted to one day wake up and realize that I'd fallen in love with my best friend. But that wasn't very simple because for that to truly happen, the friend would have to be just that, a friend. He couldn't be someone I already had feelings for. So I sat there perplexed because, as delightful as it sounded, this plan automatically excluded all of my current crushes. And then I said: "That would be like me falling in love with Jacob Rhodes, and that would never happen."
I said this to make a point. Not to tempt Cupid. You see, as far as I was concerned, Jacob and I were just friends. He took me to Spring Formal freshman year. But we were just friends. We wrote letters over the summer and over the next year when we spent alternating semesters abroad. But we were just friends. We talked a lot. We talked about important things, family and faith and dreams and heartaches. But we were just friends.
SOPHOMORE YEAR (when we still don't date)
Not much happened sophomore year except for vaguely staying in touch since he spent that fall in Rome and I spent the spring. Summer after that year though Jacob finally told me how he felt about me. Never mind that we basically hadn't seen each other that year because of studying abroad or the fact that I was dating someone else or the fact that he was about to spend eight weeks bunking with my boyfriend in Chicago at a summer program they were both working. Never mind any of those things. I let him down easily enough I think, but our "friendship" was ruined.
We didn't talk at all that summer, but whenever I talked to my boyfriend he would frequently update me on Jacob-happenings since they were living together. Jacob was over singing and jamming with some of the guys. Jacob was out smoking on the fire escape. Jacob was in the street doing some stylized photo shoot with some friends for a wedding gift. This photo shoot actually.
There was one story my boyfriend told me that stood out from the rest.
All the guys from the summer program were on a rafting trip one weekend, and Jacob, his brother John, and my boyfriend wanted to do some cliff-jumping. After a few hours they came upon the perfect spot, the cliff was high and the water was deep. The three of them made the treacherous trek to the top and just before jumping, my boyfriend stopped them. He was a city boy - a brave city boy but still a city boy - and he was a little spooked by the extremity of what they were about to do. He said he couldn't stop thinking about how all the people who get paralyzed from cliff-jumping have the moment - this moment - right beforehand when they are just fine. So he asked the Rhodes boys if they wanted to say a prayer with him before they all made the precarious leap. The three of them bowed their heads, and my boyfriend led them in a prayer. Immediately after the "Amen," Jacob tore himself from the huddle and flew off the cliff with a holler.
This story still means so much to me as I reflect back on Jacob's and my beginnings. Jacob was so...fun. I didn't drink, I made straight A's, and I lived for academic recognition. Jacob was goofy and not very academically inclined and had this recklessness that I found endearing and refreshing, but he wasn't boyfriend material. The guy I was dating was a philosophy major and was going to law school and was completely boyfriend material. (Or so I thought...he's now a monk.)
JUNIOR YEAR (when something almost happened)
Junior year I was plagued with school and a rocky dating relationship, and Jacob was determined to get over me. We hardly spoke. He even transferred out of a class because I was in it.
In January - on a Thursday - I broke up with my boyfriend. The following Tuesday I was at the cappuccino bar on campus when I heard Jacob's voice behind me, and I got butterflies.
I was shocked. The unexpected jolt had me glaring at my stomach and reminding my jittery insides that that was Jacob Rhodes. I was in a very confusing place in life, but I knew one thing: I didn't feel that way about Jacob Rhodes.
He walked over to me. Word wasn't out that I'd broken up with my boyfriend, and Jacob had hardly talked to me all of Junior year, so I knew he wasn't making a move, but there he was sauntering over in all his lanky glory and my stomach was in a knot. He sidled up to me and asked how I was doing. We made small talk for a couple of minutes before - in all the delicious little twists of fate that make up these types of love stories - he said excitedly: "So I have a friend coming into town for Groundhog this weekend, and I can't wait for you to meet her."
And there it was. My puppy love Jacob had gone and found himself a girlfriend who wasn't me.
And I'll cruelly leave you on the edges of your seats till tomorrow.
How will it all end?!?
Answer: you already know the answer, and it's babies.