The Love Story Pt. 2

13 June 2013


So at the end of yesterday's post, I left you in the cap bar during a crucial five minutes when I'd realized both that I was falling for Jacob and that he had just started dating someone else. 

But it was just as well. I met Jacob's bubbly new girlfriend from Notre Dame, and told myself I wasn't jealous at all when I would see them walking around campus holding hands. My boyfriend and I got back together and spent the rest of the semester on again and off again.
 

That spring semester of our Junior year Jacob ran for Student Government President. I was pretty surprised because it seemed so unlike him. Sure - he'd been active on campus and in student government, but it still surprised me, in a good way. As a concerned member of student government, he had asked several classmates who he thought were qualified to run for SG president, they all declined, and the last one turned the question around and asked Jacob why he wasn't running himself. So Jacob thought about it and did it. 

And he did it right. 

He threw himself into the campaign. There were posters of him all over campus. They were witty and funny with the perfect amount of self-deprecation/adulation. I couldn't dig up the actual campaign posters, but I did find some of the photos he used for them to help you get a picture of it.


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Fine. He didn't use this last one, but it would've fit the essence.
And the way-too-self-conscious-to-ever-do-something-like-that me...well, I just loved it. I was so proud of him. I wore his pin for weeks. And he won. (Of course he won!)

I remember toward the end of that semester I called him to get his apartment number because we were taking a final the next day and had decided to study together. We stayed on the phone and chatted idly as I wound my way through the shady apartment complex. Talking with him came so easily. We had a connection and a naturalness when we were together that I was beginning to get tired of ignoring. I turned a corner and saw him, but he didn't see me. He was sitting on a stairwell, all lank, elbows resting on his knees, one hand holding the phone and the other rubbing the top of his head as he stared at the ground. My heart lodged in my throat, and I paused and watched him as he chatted with me. I stood there marveling at the feelings I had for this character even though he was dating somebody and I was (I think?) dating someone else too. I'll never forget that image of him. I'll never forget how I stalled in the dark so the moment wouldn't end. 


Summer finally came, and I headed off to Chicago to work the girls version of the same program Jacob had worked the previous summer. And guess who I'd be working with: Jacob's girlfriend. (Ready for the drama? You know it. Not really.)


By the time the program started in July, Jacob and his girlfriend had broken up. But the awkwardness wasn't averted: she and I were living in the same house, and she was like the queen bee of the program. Jacob was working the boys program again across town. I had no idea if she knew about Jacob and my "history" since she was sweeter than sweet to me. Turns out she knew about all of it because his lingering feelings for me were instrumental in their break-up. He hadn't told her that, but she'd figured it out. She also knew that nothing "real" had ever happened between us. I found all this out in a late night heart to heart after which we were fast friends. Perhaps it was one of those "keep your enemies closer" situations, but she was all around a pretty dear soul, and we genuinely got along well.

She didn't know that I had feelings for Jacob, but that was something I hardly knew myself. I wasn't surprised that he still had feelings for me, but I was very happy to hear it. But since I wasn't a boyfriend stealer, for the rest of the summer program I had to keep up the farce that I wasn't falling in love with my friend Jacob.

Jacob and I still managed to hang out casually a few times that summer. We ran into each other at a coffee shop once and spent the afternoon chatting away about various things including the end of our respective relationships.  Another afternoon his sister - wily one that she is - invited me on a picnic with them.


When we got back to UD senior year things heated up rather quickly. We started hanging out all the time, and it was awesome. Tons of flirtation and dollar theaters and late night conversations and stolen kisses.

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I loved it all, but I was squeamish about dating. I'd successfully ended my other relationship only a few short months before, and I wasn't interested in jumping into another one. And I was scared. I didn't trust my feelings for Jacob, and I didn't want to hurt him. I'd spent years convinced that he was just a friend, and I was afraid this new affection would disappear as quickly as it had appeared. So we trotted around the idea of "dating" for a couple of months.


One Saturday in September, he took me to UD's 50th Anniversary Gala, and afterwards we were hanging out and he showed me this rock. It was about the diameter of a quarter, grey and smooth. He told me the story of this rock. On a trip to Croatia during his semester abroad sophomore year, he'd picked this up at the Marian shrine at Medugorje. (Neither of us were Catholic but incidentally joined the RCIA program together our Senior year.) So he was praying on the mountain and picked up this rock. As he tells it, he was praying for me while holding this rock...and he was praying for me, that is, praying that we would end up together. It was rainy and cold and he made his way down from the shrine and by the time he got to the bottom he noticed that he'd held this rock so tight it was now warmer than his hand. So he carried it everywhere, all over Europe, and had kept it with him for three years. This rock had signified his hope for me, his hope for us. He told me he wanted us to be together, he always had, and he wanted me to have this rock, unless we couldn't be together, in which case he wanted to keep it.


I held the rock in my hand for a couple of minutes. I turned it over in my hands. I couldn't believe such a thing existed, a little incarnation of how much he cared about me. After a few minutes, I handed the rock back to him, and we sat in silence. I was too afraid to make a commitment to him and his feelings for me were too strong to ask for anything less. He took me home, and we didn't see each other for a few days.


But we couldn't really stay away from one another and within a few days he'd started coming around again. Fast forward a month and we'd fallen back into our old habits of hanging out all the time, and one Friday night we had a frustrating conversation that ended with him getting out the rock and handing it to me and telling me he never wanted to see it again.

And finally. Finally. This got through. 


I looked up at him and saw in his face that he was ready to give up on me. It suddenly all made sense, and I could see the narrative of our relationship. He was the nice guy in the show that everyone wants the jerk-girl to notice even though she doesn't deserve him, and I was the jerk-girl who was happy to leave the guy hanging, so long as he stuck around. And everyone knows in that narrative what's truly at risk, and it's not that he won't get her. He's swell, and he will find someone better if this girl is too stupid. The real risk is that SHE will miss out on him.

I looked up into the face of someone whose conversation and input I valued as much as any friend I'd ever had; someone who made me feel more like myself when I was with him than I did when I was alone; someone who had cared about me undaunted for so long. I took that rock, and I kissed him long and good. And I haven't stopped kissing him since.

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This was us at our Senior Formal
The rest of our dating relationship was not without tedious bumps, but that night was the pivoting point. Perhaps someday I will tell our engagement story, but I think I will give you all a break for now. This certainly is a good enough stopping place, and I should probably seize the opportunity for all of our sakes.

Well, one last thing.


I lost the rock. A few years ago. I don't remember how or when exactly. Somewhere between moving to Irving or Rome or New Jersey or LA, I lost it. When I realized it was gone, I felt sick and went to Jacob sobbing. Very entertained by the amount of emotion I was displaying, he looked at me and said: 


"Katie, it was just a stupid rock."



If you still need more gushing: I wrote our Engagement Story Here

30 comments :

  1. That sweater picture is mantel worthy.

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  2. No, no, no ...it's just getting good. Please continue with the engagement story. *said in least creepy and stalkerish way possible*

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  3. just found your blog from grace's mention. what a great story! so cute. and "just a stupid rock" made me laugh out loud! :)

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  4. yay! I love happy endings. Now it's Jacob's turn to tell his side! :)

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  5. So lovely to read this. I'll have to write down Jim and my story some day!

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  6. I love a good love story...and this is SUCH a good one!

    (I too found your blog through a link at Camp Patton. Glad I did!)

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  7. Oh, that was wonderful. I loved those two little moments you highlighted, where his voice gave you butterflies and where you saw him talking on the phone. Thank you!

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  8. I so enjoyed this story Katie. Happy anniversary and happy move! Hoping to see you all in Texas soon.

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  9. Loved it, and loved every picture. Those are priceless. What a great love story! And baby makes 4...woohoo!

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  10. This is beautiful. And it struck me as crazy and really cool that we both were inspired to share a lot of nitty gritty details about our respective lovestories within the same week! Okay, I guess its not thattttt crazy since we have close anniversaries (ours was the end of May, but we didn't celebrate it til last weekend).

    I love this story. And I love seeing another wife just flat adore her husband.

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  11. This is the sweetest. I have a friend studying at UD and I sent her the link to Part 1 last night. You never do know what lies around the corner, do you?!

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    1. As it happens, I know this friend of yours too. She and I are buds here at UD. And when she linked it on her fb page, I had the delight of telling her that this was the story of my sister and brother-in-law...

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  12. Thanks for sharing Kate!!! Loved it and I want to see your engagement story soon. You and Jacob are awesome and I'm so happy you ended up together!!! And those photos brought back fun UD memories. Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

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  14. This was SO great!! Do the engagement story! The writing was so awesome I found myself momentarily praying that you ended up together.....! :)

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  15. Here from Camp Patton, too, and practically crying over your rock! I would have been upset to lose it, too.

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  16. Awwh, love! I'm here from Grace's mention also and this story is just so beautiful! So sweet.

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  17. I found you via Camp Patton, and LOVE your story. Seriously read both parts and it was awesome---looking forward to reading more of your blog! Congratulations on your anniversary!

    Julie
    www.thechirpingmoms.com

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  18. Kate, this is a beautiful story. It's ironic that I know more of it now that y'all live halfway across the country than I did when y'all were living on the other side of campus. I hope to see you guys in Houston. When I do, don't be freaked out when I know the whole story even though you never told me. I'm a religious reader of your blog.

    Happy Father's Day, Jacob!

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  19. I was up feeding the baby and found your story through Grace. Of course I had to read part 1&2 before going back to bed! Such a sweet story. Now on to the engagement!

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  20. My husband and I met at
    Ud as well. First day of law school

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  21. LOVED reading this, Kate! You guys are so fun!

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  22. So beautiful! I love hearing this from you, because I hadn't heard it before, but even the little snippets I did know were filtered through family, and it's just not the same! Plus, you're a wonderful writer.

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  23. Just discovered your blog. I loved your story... not only is it a movie worthy love story but you told it so beautifully! The goofy poster pics were hillaroous too! Thanks for sharing!

    Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose

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  24. I love you guys! I remember that time junior year when you were sitting in Alexis' and my room and we were saying "Just date Jacob already!!!" Haha!

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  25. This is an appropriate time and place to mention that I was living in Chicago at the time Kate was, while she was on the fence about her feelings for Jacob. I internalized her own excitement and confusion, evidently, because on the day I finally got to meet this man who would become her husband, I introduced myself as Jacob when I shook his hand!! (Jacob is not my name. Of course he took great pleasure in my being flustered and it certainly lightened the situation for my dear friend Kate, who burst out laughing.)

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  26. Bah! Cried. Thank you for putting so much detail in, they really made the story! My favorite part was you describing how you saw him talking on the phone to him. This was/is such a beautiful love story!

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