Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Mormon Journey Part 3: The guy in my Spanish class

by heather

This section has actually very little to do with Mormonism, but it is completely relevant to my journey, so I’m going to tell the part of the story where my husband and I got together, and I was a silly teenage girl. On occasion people have asked me if I always knew that he was the one for me. That would be a definite ‘no’.

My earliest memory of Alan was that he was in my seventh grade advanced science class. He sat a few seats over from me. My friend was making fun of him for being so shy. (Kids can be mean.) I looked at him and thought ‘He would be really cute if he ever smiled.’ But I never saw him smile and I wasn’t bold enough to say anything.

In eight grade we started taking Spanish together. We were in the same class every year from eighth through twelfth grades. In a class ranging from 15 to 30 students, over the years we had many opportunities to have completely meaningless conversations about verb conjugations and trying to force as many vocabulary words into a sentence as possible.

At the beginning of our senior year, we each (independently) had friends convince us to join the marching

Now doesn't that one bring back memories?

band. Orchestra was my comfort zone, but I picked up percussion. He, on the other hand, taught himself to play the saxophone in a month with little previous musical experience, because he’s just brilliant like that. A mutual friend, ‘B’, decided that Alan needed to go to homecoming and be in his dance group of band nerds. Alan said “I don’t know who to ask.”

I was within pointing distance, so ‘B’ said “Her, you should ask her out.”

“She doesn’t know me. She wouldn’t go out with me.”

“Wanna bet?”

By this point I had walked close enough that ‘B’ stopped me. “Hey, have you been asked to Homecoming yet?”

“No”

“Would you be willing to go out with someone who you don’t know very well?”

“Uhhh…sure?”

“Great! I have this friend who is really shy, but he’s hilarious and awesome and I want him to come to homecoming with us and you’ll be in our group and we’re going to have a great time!”

“Ok”

I wasn’t even sure if he was talking about Alan, he had another friend who could have fit that description, but Alan was deliberately staring at his shoes during this exchange. I continued walking to my locker. When I got there a group of friends were planning a pity-party for those who hadn’t been asked to the dance, and asked if I was coming.

“Maybe not?”

This was a big deal. I was very shy and very seldom went on dates. And my friends (one in particular), made it into an even bigger deal. She went and told anyone who cared to listen that Alan was taking Heather to homecoming. This got back to ‘B’, who threatened to beat Alan up if he didn’t ask me out, because according to what he heard, I was really excited about this. Although apprehensive would have been a better adjective.

And as is the custom in high school in Utah county, he couldn’t just ‘ask me out’. He had to put together some

First Date

cheesy pun to ask me to the dance. He brought over a pizza with a pun attached. ‘If your answer is yes, eat the pizza and return the box. If your answer is no, eat the box and return the pizza.’ I wasn’t home, so my brother ate the pizza and my mom filled the box with candy and wrote ‘yes’ on it. So for our first date, he was forced to ask me out and I was forced to say yes.

A few nights later I had a dream. My grandfather (same grandfather that visited when I was small) came to tell me that I was supposed to marry that guy from my Spanish class. Not the message I was looking for. I spent the entire time arguing with him about why this was not a good plan. (Now I wish I had asked him some questions about all kinds of things, but silly teenage fool that I was, I tried to convince him that his message was wrong.) I had never had a conversation in English with the kid from my Spanish class. I had deeply pathetic crush on someone else. I was not interested in getting married, period. I wanted to go to medical school! I wanted to become a pediatric surgeon and spend my life touring the world and fixing cleft palates with Operation Smile. My grandfather just chuckled and told me that he realized that right then I didn’t agree, but he assured me that this was the best plan for me. He told me that one day this guy would leave and when he did I would realize that he really was the one that I was supposed to marry. I woke up with an awful ache in my chest and bawling hysterically. That lasted for about 30 seconds. Then I said to myself. ‘Ok, Heather, get a grip. You are crying about a boy that you have never had any kind of meaningful communication with.’ I spoke of this to 2-3 people and Alan was not one of them (or at least not until after he proposed). I did not want him to think I was some kind of lunatic.

Homecoming came and we had a good time. He really is hilarious. The next school day a friend cornered me and asked if we had a good time. “Yeah, we did.”

“Did he actually talk to you?”

“Yes…”

“I mean, like more than 10 words?”

“Yes…”

“Oh my gosh! You guys are totally getting married!”

This became an increasingly popular theory, but I wasn’t convinced. He was a nice guy, and as much as I adore him now, he was a dork. He was such a nerd and so many times he would say things and I would think ‘Have you never spoken to a girl before? What would compel you to say that?’ For the first few months I wasn’t even really sure if he liked me or hated me.  Meanwhile his parents started referring to me as ‘The Wife’ because I was the first girl that had ever interested him enough to momentarily set aside his typical pursuits of programming and video games.  However, as much as I wanted dismiss the dream with my grandpa, I still felt compelled to give this guy a chance.

After homecoming he started hanging around my locker multiple times a day, but it was a good six months before he got up the nerve to call me and another two months before he asked me out. I think we may have graduated before he tried to hold my hand. ‘B’, who was dating Alan’s sister, would invite me to parties at Alan house (yes, organized by ‘B’) to try to get on Alan’s good side. Alan’s parents work from home, and their place quickly became the place that half the marching bad went to sluff assemblies (and sometimes band). Any time he was around I noticed everything that he said and did (and in typical teenage girl fashion, over-analyzed it). His parents noticed me noticing him and would tease him mercilessly about me stalking him. I wasn’t stalking him, but if given that experience, how could I not be curious about him?

Over the course of our senior year we became best friends. I have never before or sense met someone that I am more compatible with in an intellectual way. We would talk about music and science. I loved it! I was suddenly sad that we had had classes together for years and because we were both so shy that we had missed out on a great friendship. He listened to what I said in a way that no other boy had, like he actually cared what I had to say. There were all these little moments where I would think ‘maybe’. I remember sitting in a circle with him and some friends and thinking ‘If I married him, he would always treat me with respect.’ He’d always come to my orchestra concerts; ‘I could probably drag him to the symphony without complaint’. Watching him with his younger siblings; ‘He’s great with kids.’ He was always respectful of him mom. I remember another time thinking ‘He really seems to care about me, and not in the superficial way that other guys have noticed me, but me as a person. If I married him, when we’re old and grey he’ll still want to be with me.’ Friends and even strangers would tell me ‘That boy is crazy about you. He looks at you like you are the only girl there ever was.’ Over time I started to like him, but I was still not totally convinced. He was a great boyfriend (once he stopped being afraid of me), however I had my reservations. I was leery of marriage in general and I realized I was young and wasn’t sure I was ready to make such a significant long-term commitment.

We started dating right before we graduated and at the end of the summer he left to serve an LDS mission. I told him that I would write to him and I had no intention of being married before he got home, so we’d see how things worked out a that point. The day he left I had that same awful pain in my chest and I knew that my grandpa had been right about him.


4 Responses to “Mormon Journey Part 3: The guy in my Spanish class”

  1. Camille says:

    A. OMGEEE THOSE PICTURES!!!
    B. Wow, remember once upon a time when class sizes in a public school were under 30? Those were some crazy times.
    C. Right before graduation? I thought you guys were dating waayyyy before that. Clearly, I was mistaken.
    D. These are not the juicy details I want and you know it…

    • heather says:

      A. LOL
      B. Yes. Remember that time when we tried to convert our families to Judaism for Christmas one year because we thought that Hanukkah sounded like a better present situation?
      C. Yes. Everyone seemed to think we were dating long before we actually were, because we hung out quite a bit, but never alone. Other than 2 dances there were no dates, and no hand holding or kissing before graduation.
      D. I pretty much bore my soul there, I’m not quite sure what juicy details you are referring to. :)

  2. Camille says:

    And we all know you’re writing this specifically to help me come to terms with my own faith crisis. Because everything in the whole world is about me, of course.

  3. […] personal stories, the tale of Heather’s journey continues with the story of her romance with her husband. Knotty recounted the time her MiL invited her husband’s ex to the family Thanksgiving […]

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