that time i fell in love, part 2

so october rolled around. another football season alone. i was doing better, not great, but knew i still wasn't where i needed to be to even consider being in a relationship. thankfully, said mutual friend (she does have a name, it's ashley) and i got closer. enjoying wine nights with our pups and talking through life as a 30 something single surrounded by a world of marrieds and babies. one saturday she texted me and said she and some others were watching football at her house. she has a pretty sweet set up with a tv under her carport outside of a little barn. it was a beautiful day so i happily told her i'd be there. a few minutes later i got another text from her that he would be there. i was ok with that, but wanted to make sure he was. she was his close friend first and if he didn't want me around then i'd respect that. thankfully, she said he was fine with it (come to find out she didn't tell him until right before i got there, but he handled it well, i think she was still playing matchmaker). so i showed up. dog in tow, beer in hand. it was surprisingly not awkward. we didn't really talk alone, but had pleasant group conversations and i remembered how kind and cute he was and wished that i was great and not just better. but i wasn't and i was not going to be careless with his heart again, if he'd even have me back.

then i saw him again in november. most of you know that he and his brother have their own landscaping business. i decided that my house needed a pick me up so i texted and asked him if he'd come look at it and see what they could do. i didn't expect he and his brother to show up that saturday morning. and i was a little deflated that his brother was with him. shelby and i greeted them outside and she was so excited to see him. he kept the interaction strictly business and i respected that given what had happened in the summer.

his birthday is november 8. that was the weekend of my life changing retreat, but i wanted him to know i remembered, so before i "went dark" (ie no cell phone, computer, etc), i texted him that i was going to be out of pocket on the actual day, but i wanted to wish him a happy birthday. i didn't get his response until after the weekend was over because i turned my phone off.

ashley's parents had an iron bowl party since her two siblings went to auburn and she to alabama. family rivalry big time and such a fun day. i have to admit. i was nervous to see him this time. i had chopped my hair and was still fat, but i'd been on the retreat. i'd found redemption in the sweet, saving arms of Jesus and was a different person. still gun-shy, but redeemed and free from shame and hopelessness. much closer to great than i'd been just a month before, but still not there. he was somewhat aloof (later found out he was super nervous), but not rude. we sat next to each other and chatted a bit and carried on with the group, both of us cheering loudly against alabama. it was as easy and nice as i remembered. i left after the game was over because i had to get shelby from my parents. i didn't hear anything from him.

and then may 4, 2014 happened...