First and foremost, thank you ALL for your continued interest in my love story... This has been really fun and difficult and GOOD for me to get this all out. I have been touched by your emails and your comments... I hope this story continues to help some of you where you're at. Mmmkay. On with it.
Photo at Left: Chris and I at Hume Lake- before I left for CA. I had no idea my translucent skin could tan like that!
The first few months in California were incredibly difficult for me. I was living alone in an apartment and didn't have a friend within hundreds of miles of me. I remember having little to no energy to go anywhere or do anything... I just sat in my apartment and waited for Chris to call me. But Chris wasn't as desperate to talk to me as I was to talk to him... he still had his life and job in Reno, so when we did talk, I would get really upset because I always felt like I was 'bothering him'. We just didn't get along very well over the phone- and so I worried. I worried and worried and got angry because I felt like Chris was ditching me, and that he didn't love me anymore.
I did end up going to that church whose booth I'd stumbled upon with my mom, and it was amazing. It was a church filled with college kids, who were really in love with Jesus. The worship was full of life and joy, and I got plugged in right away. I started going to small groups and before long I was leading worship in those groups. The people were so passionate and were so good at welcoming me, a newcomer, into their midst.
Photo at Right: Another accurate portrayal of our young love...
I was so ready to start fresh and put my past behind me, that I didn't talk about Chris much to all my new friends in California. Chris had come to visit me a couple of times, and stayed with me for a week or so, but I was afraid to let my new Christian friends know that my boyfriend stayed at my apartment when he came to visit. I knew they wouldn't approve of it. So I kinda hid the relationship for the most part. There were also new, cute boys to meet. So instead of being honest with Chris or any of my new friends, I created a double life. One in Reno, one in CA. I figured I wasn't hurting anyone... it wasn't like I was being unfaithful to Chris by hanging out with other guys who may or may not have thought I was cute, right? Um... RIGHT.
I missed Chris like crazy, though, and we tried to see each other as much as possible. We had a seven hour drive between us, however, so it didn't happen as much as I would have liked. Chris even lost a couple of his jobs in Reno because he'd just drive down to SLO without getting the time off of work first.
The thing about double lives, though, is that they have a way of crashing into each other when you least expect it. While I was in love with Chris in Reno, I'd also developed a "like" for a guy named Jason and also a guy named Justin in CA. I'm such a floozy.
Photo at Left: Me looking at my new home, San Luis Obispo.
Needless to say, I felt torn. I didn't know where to let down my roots. I was excited about my new church and my new friends, but I had all these secrets that they didn't know about, so I could never get as close to them as I would have wanted.
It all came to a head when I decided to drive up to Reno for a few days in order to be with Chris for his birthday. Everything was going great, and Chris and I were actually getting along pretty well while I was there. He took me out to a fancy dinner on the night of his birthday, and then he said he was going to take me out for a drive.
We drove around in the crisp night air- leaving the bustle of the city behind us as we wound up a narrow road to the top of a mountain that has an awesome view of the town from the top. Chris seemed really anxious about something, but I just thought it might be because we didn't spend a lot of time together anymore, so he just seemed different.
We pulled off the road at a little lookout point and hopped out of the truck. It was a beautiful night. We gazed at the city for a minute or two, and then Chris hugged me and kissed me and started telling me how much he loved me. He was kindof shaking and flushed, and acting really strange.
Then he dropped to one knee. And the world froze.
He asked me to be his wife. I was nineteen. I looked down at the man that I loved and said "Yes"...
...even though my heart was SCREAMING "No"...
**to be continued...***