In honor of our 22nd wedding anniversary, a short story from the page of our relationship book. Based on true events, but subject to slightly romanticized hindsight.
“Delia, will you be my girlfriend?”.
There it was. The question that I knew had been forthcoming for some time now. I anticipated it for weeks now with both excitement and trepidation. I mean, what did I expect? We’d been hanging out together almost daily since he returned from his California mission in March. And here it was, already May, and we were practically dating without it being official.
Not that I didn’t want it to happen. I mean, it was Fosi. The boy I’d had a crush on between the ages of 13-16. I’d written secret letters to him as a wide-eyed schoolgirl and dedicated songs to him on Krater 96 during the love song hour anonymously. I cried when he went out with the first girl (ok so I helped set them up when she professed her feelings for him to me, of all people), filled in at the last minute as his Junior prom date because she cancelled at the last minute. I negotiated his Senior Prom date with the haole girl in the ward that he fancied. To add insult to injury, I agreed to attend his Senior prom as his friend’s date, the short Korean guy who owned a really nice car and who Fosi promised to find a date for so they could go to the prom in his car. When Fosi started dating the haole girl’s best friend, I figured it was time to start daydreaming about someone more attainable, and considerably more available.
But we continued to be friends, attending church activities, walking home together from the chapel, chilling with our ward crew and hanging out at my house because he happened to be my brother’s friend, too. Sure we flirted with each other and there were a few times where we got a little too close for friendship but nothing ever happened. The years went by and I saw him off at the airport when he left for his mission, wrote him some letters and moved on to give my heart to someone else.
The day he flew home, we all went to meet him at the airport, only to find out that we had missed him. A short time later, we filed into his KPT apartment where his family was holding a welcome home dinner. There he was, still tall, dark and handsome. He was dressed in his church clothes and wearing his name tag which bore the name of “Elder Ulima”. When he turned to look at me, our eyes met and I remember catching my breath as a big smile came across his face and he walked over to greet me. “You’ve grown up, Delia”, he said. “My, my, my, Elder, so have you”, I thought to myself.
The two years he was absent from my life had been extremely kind to him. He had filled out nicely and spoke differently. He said things like “ma’am” and “pardon me” now and he talked about his mission and the people he had met and the things he had learned. The boy who I had fallen for, the one who wore jams and muscle t-shirts and liked popping and playing basketball was replaced by a young man who was starting college soon and spoke of future plans. Needless to say, I found all of this incredibly attractive.
And here we were, two months later, sitting on the wall at Ala Moana Beach Park. The single adults from our ward were holding a moonlight picnic and as they laughed and ate on the beach, Fosi had asked if he could speak to me alone. We walked off a little way and found a quiet spot on the wall under the dim light of the street lamp. When he grabbed my hands and held them in his, I knew what was about to happen. He proceeded to tell me how he felt about me and how he wanted to be with me. And then he asked me the question that I had longed to hear, dreamt about hearing, for. . .years.
“Delia, will you be my girlfriend?”
He said it softly, holding my hands and my gaze firmly in his. I felt myself begin to shake, the kind that comes on when you’re really nervous, really excited or really scared. I felt my eyes begin to sting and my nose tingle and I knew that I was about to start crying. I couldn’t lose it, not here, not now. But I had to tell him, he deserved an honest answer.
“Fosi, I can’t be your girlfriend. Not yet. I’m still in love with someone else.”
And that’s when the water works began. I had previously told Fosi about the other guy, the one who broke my heart and who I hadn’t been able to get over yet. In that moment, I cursed that person for entirely different reasons now-for having to hurt someone I loved, for not being ready to move on.
Fosi listened quietly, never loosening his grip on my hands. He reached up to wipe away the tears streaming down my face with one hand, took a breath and proceeded to speak.
“Delia, I will wait for you. But, I won’t wait forever. You let me know when you’re ready to be my girlfriend.” And with that, he kissed me on the forehead, stood up, helped me to my feet and led me back to our friends on the beach.
. . .TO BE CONTINUED. . .