|Jenny and I on campus|
When I was in high school I was genuinely scared of guys. Not scared of the male sex, but guys of the high school variety. These guys stared, they could say awkward things at any given second, and they laughed at anything you said. I strove to overcome my fear and perhaps be forgiving of the hormones that surrounded me (male and female alike... not to mention my own), but it was quite a tiring effort. Since I was brought into this very world, I dreamed of being a wife and mom with hundreds of children. I did not want to mess around with this dream and end up with some weirdo. But at this point, boys were weird, boys were scary. Why do we even mess with guy-girl relationships of any kind in high school? A question I cannot answer now and certainly could not answer then. I went through high school without a twitch of attraction to anyone, and I was proud of it. I sound like a snot (and I probably was), but I honestly couldn't figure out why these girls were dating such confusing people. By my senior year, I had somewhat learned how to communicate with guys without wanting to walk away and/or cry.
All that to say, I went off to college with a healthy fear of guys. The college guys were quite similar to the high school ones, except they had learned to exude confidence and many of them had learned how to be more forward. All of us had made it out of high school, and now our hormones weren't surrounding us like a sparkling cloud of smoke. In some ways, there was more reason to be scared. But I was a big girl, and I made myself speak to the boy-guy-man-dudes, and even found myself friends with a few (...because guys and girls can be friends... no).
One summer day in August - the start of my sophomore year - the sister, Jenny, and I headed to a local coffee shop to play Mancala and sip iced coffee while we got excited about another year of classes (I was actually only excited about new notebooks and fresh pencils). As we laughed, talked, and made fun of each other's Mancala moves, a young man walked up to the counter near us and ordered a drink. He was glancing over at us -- a normal college behavior. We continued playing. In my peripheral, I saw a blue shirt approaching us -- the same young man at the counter arrived at our table, and asked, "Are you all Stewart's sisters?" He had a friendly voice. We told him "yes," and asked how he knew our brother. We started to talk, when something very strange happened. I found myself pulling my purse off of the third seat at our table, and asked him to sit down. It was highly out of character, but this guy was so nice. He might have been cute, but I wasn't about to rush such a crazy notion. But his voice was deep. And he made eye contact. He made eye contact using brown eyes. He didn't interrupt us. He didn't even lean in and act like he had some kind of creepy expectations. He talked without the slightest bit of secret intention. As we talked, we learned that his name was Caleb, this was his first year, and that he thought the freshman orientation class he was participating in was pointless and weird. When people think things are pointless, my ears perk up. It means they think, they have an opinion, and they call it like it is. This guy thought something was pointless... that's awesome. Caleb was at the coffee shop in order to meet a guy-dude-man named Sean (spoiler alert! Sean would later be a groomsman in Caleb's wedding... but who would Caleb marry??). We happened to know Sean as well, and soon found out that we had many mutual friends, had both home-schooled, and had even attended the same church when we were young. We were off to a terrible start in getting to know one another.
Lie. It was a dreamy start.
To be continued.