I was just getting out of an ugly divorce in 2007.
One that left me completely crushed and made me feel totally worthless.
I didn't see myself the way God saw me - the beauty he saw in me.
I saw a used young woman, tossed aside, unwanted.
I didn't see what man (who was worth dating, in my eyes) would want to date me, also.
I wasn't set on dating anyone any time soon, but even so, I found myself in conversation with my father one day about future dating. He told me to write a list. He said that I needed to write things that I wanted in a husband, and things that I needed in a husband. He told me to write it out before I met anyone and had anyone specific in mind. (I wrote a list that included 27 things, sometime early 2008.) He also told me that he really felt like I shouldn't seriously date for 2 years - that I needed two years to really process everything and heal my wounds from my prior relationship. I remember telling dad that I felt like it would be more like one year before I should consider seriously dating someone.
This was August 2007.
August 22nd, 2008, I found myself at a wedding rehearsal for one of my best friends, Gemma, and her soon to be husband, Zach. I had arrived early to the church, and walked next door to Zach's parents house in search of anyone. I found Zach and together he and I walked out of the house and back to the church to find the rest of the wedding party (I was a bridesmaid). As he and I walked out and chatted, I saw that a young man had just gotten out of his car and was standing in the parking lot of the church. Zach waved hello as we approached him. I was introduced to Skyler, one of Zach's groomsmen and good buddy's from college. I noticed an incredibly cute dimple that ran deep the minute he smiled at me and shook my hand.
As the rest of the groomsmen arrived, I introduced myself to them, but none caught my attention like Skyler did. I was completely smitten with the "cute boy with the dimple". As the rehearsal went on, Gemma told the wedding party that she didn't care who walked with whom - and immediately my heart skipped. I was going to ask Skyler to walk with me....
And then Gemma dropped the bomb and added, "except, I thought Kayla could walk with Zach's little brother." (Who was 16 and had braces.) My stomach sank.
Skyler got paired up with another girl, and I began to get a little jealous of them.
After rehearsal and dinner at the church, the wedding party finished up some odds and ends of decor. Skyler meandered outside to where a few younger kids were shooting hoops.
I casually followed him outside and observed him pick up the ball and shoot about 10 times, perhaps making one of those baskets.
I, jokingly, commented that "he kinda sucked at basketball".
That caught his attention.
He asked me to join in and we played together and laughed with the younger kids for a while before saying goodnight and parting ways.
As wedding days go, the whole day before the wedding started was a frantic blur.
It wasn't until just before the wedding that I saw Skyler again.
I (never one to doddle and take time putting on make-up or doing hair fancy), was early out of the bathroom and was asked to help the men put on their boutonnieres. I was happy to oblige and I made sure to "re-adjust" Skyler's bout about 3 times before I let him go.
The wedding went beautifully.
After the wedding, the wedding party gathered for some photos.
By chance, I was standing next to Skyler as the photographer grouped us in and had us all put our arms around each other.
I still remember standing there in that field, with Skyler's arm draped over my shoulder, with his fingers grasping my arm.
It felt comfortable. I smiled truer than just to say "cheese" for a few snapshots.
The reception had contra dancing - which was similar to country/square dancing. My favorite definition of it, is that by the end of the dance, everyone has danced with everyone. I so badly wanted to ask Skyler to be my partner. Before I had the opportunity, one of Skyler's friends (whom I had met and was hanging around with also) asked me to dance. Each time we stepped off the floor, I had intentions of asking Skyler to be my partner next.
And each time I started to make my way over to Skyler, his friend would step in and ask me if I was ready to head back out.
Thankfully, as the nature of the dance, Skyler and I still danced together a fair amount of the night.
This is the first photo I have of us together (although unfortunately blurry). My dad snapped this photo, as Skyler and I took a punch break from dancing!
At the end of the night, after the guests had all left and everything was getting packed up, Skyler and his friends and I were saying goodbyes when Skyler asked if I had ever been surfing and if I'd like to join them the next day. As much as it killed me to turn down his offer to hang out again, I had to say no because my niece was having her birthday party the following day. We made plans for the evening after that to get together and watch a movie all together.
I could barely contain my excitement as I impatiently waited the whole next two days ...
(Read Part Two...)