NOTE: A dear friend has been documenting the early days of her love with her husband. It is beautiful and inspired me to document my early days with Ted.
This contains names (and Facebook conversations!), real names, of real people. It's honest in feeling and as factual as I can be, 7-8 years later. It is what it is, friends!
November 2005 found me, one afternoon, in Flagstaff, Arizona working on a Nonverbal Communication project with my next door neighbor, David. There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," Dave called from the couch, not getting up to answer his door, in true, trusting Mormon Ghetto fashion. The apartment complex we lived in was ridden with young, single, LDS students and was occasionally endearingly referred to as the Mormon Ghetto.
Through the crack in the opening door popped a head. It was a long head with facial hair and thick rimmed, Drew Carry style glasses behind which sat uncertain blue eyes. "Does Jason still live here," asked the head.
|Ted, circa 2006|
Dave answered, "No, no one here named Jason. Jason who?"
"Tidwell," the head replied. "He lived here last summer when I was up here and I'm in town for the day so I thought I'd come by to say hey."
"We know Jason but he doesn't live here anymore," my friend replied. "I didn't catch your name. I'm David."
The attached body stepped through the door. He looked a little goofy. His classes, at least, gave him a sort of humorous, soft touch.
"I'm Ted. I'm coming up for school in January. Good to meet you."
"Kelly," I interjected with a smile, not wanting to be rude. If he was looking for Jason I assumed he was an LDS guy and I'd likely be seeing him around at institute and around, well, in general. Ted gave off a slightly awkward vibe but I instantly thought we could be friends.
We three exchanged some pleasant and brief conversation before Ted left.
That was that. Dave and I returned to our project.
I was home for a couple days, in Mesa, over winter break. I was absorbed in cable television one afternoon, taking in reruns of Gilmore Girls I had already seen and various forgotten Food Network shows.
One segment on one cooking show stood out. I had been busy with a full class load and working three jobs. For someone who normally cooked, I had been slacking a little and was trying to gather healthy recipes I could cook and then come back to for a few days. Teriyaki Turkey Burgers were coming together before my eyes. Loaded with vegetables and flavor. They looked divine.
It was a Monday night in January 2006, Family Home Evening at the institute building. As a FHE "grandma" I oversaw all the little mock families and was busy aiding all the "moms and dads," facilitating the lessons and activities of my "family." As the activities ended and the mingling commenced, I locked eyes with a boy I'd met recently at a New Year's party. His name was Pete. We met in the middle of the room.
Pete smiled his sort of pursed smile. "Hey Kelly. Good activity tonight."
I returned with a toothy grin, my normal. "Thanks!"
He fidgeted. "Hey would you like to go to the basketball game this weekend?"
Was this it? Was he asking me out on a date? I guessed so. I urged myself to stay cool, as I'd hoped he would ask me out.
"Yeah, that would be fun. My roommates were planning on going. Want to meet at my apartment?" He had been to my apartment to play games before so this would be a good jumping point.
We agreed and I immediately returned to my roommate Karin who had been watching from afar. But we barely had time to squeal, as I saw Ted heading over. The boy with the thick rimmed glasses who, since he started school here recently, had become nearly a friend during our few encounters.
He flashed a confident and suave smile. "Hey Kelly. Rockin' FHE tonight."
"Thanks, Ted." I smiled back, still reeling from the invitation I'd received a few moments ago.
"Hey," he said with a nudge, elbow to elbow. "How'd you like to get together this week and go salsa dancing? They do it on North campus. What would you say to me sweeping you off your feet for the night?"
I couldn't believe how over confident Ted sometimes spoke. His ego must have been large enough to fill the Grand Canyon. Still, he was a good guy and that sounded like fun.
"Sure. Sounds fun. Let's talk details later. Thanks, Ted!" I squeezed his arm and headed back to Karin to squeal about my upcoming date with Pete.
We sat in the rough maroon seats, low to the ground, giggling like two school girls, which, coincidentally, we were. I was too excited about my upcoming date with Pete to realize that I might have not only given Ted the brush off but also downplayed our date as I squawked loudly, apparently too loudly, with Karin.
Ted and Karin had a class together that they walked to with one another. The next day, on the way to class, Ted shared his disappointment that, moments after he asked me out, I returned to Karin to rave over my excitement to go on a date with another guy. Karin was embarrassed for me that Ted had overheard our gushing. We were nothing if not boisterous.
|Karin and me, January 2006|
"Kelly, I think you bruised Ted's gigantic ego when you were getting overly excited about your upcoming date with Pete. Ted totally heard you and he wasn't thrilled that you were gushing about someone other than him." Karin had a way of relaying Ted information that was uniquely poignant.
I felt to rectify the situation. Karin and I sat down at my work computer the next morning and wrote a Facebook message to Ted. I wrote, she offered moral support.
"I feel a little jerk-ish and I'm telling you this because it's in relation to you that I feel jerk-ish. Karin mentioned to me that it was really lame to be all "Pete, Pete, Pete" the other night at FHE. Yes, I want him to ask me on a date, but it's because I really want to get to know him better. But I also would love to go on a date with you because we would have a lot of fun. I'm glad we're friends and I hope you know that. So salsa dancing on a Wednesday night? Sounds AMAZINGLY fun! Let me know. ... I hope you don't think I'm horrible. Talk with you soon. Ü"
I felt this gave the impression that I was an equal-opportunity-dater and while Ted and I were already friends, I hope the date with Pete would further our friendship. This was of course a half truth. I hope the date with Pete would lead to another date. I hoped the date with Ted would lead to... no squished toes and maybe a delicious scoop of raspberry chocolate swirl ice cream from the Baskin Robbins across from our apartment complex.
I probably got just what I deserved. A reply via Facebook message several hours later:
"hmmm... friends are for hanging out and very safe group dates. if you want to be just friends then we're just friends. no dates."
It sort of ended there. We never did go on that date, salsa dancing. But we did dance, together, a few months later.