Part I - Sentimentality Brought on by the Snow; A Connection is Made
Part II - Thora Gets Hit Upside the Head by a Crush
At the beginning of March my Mom came down for a half day conference the religion department put on about the Akadah (the binding of Isaac by Abraham). I invited Avram to come, but he was busy.
It worked out well, though, because my main topic of conversation with my Mom was about Avram. Before we went into the conference, being held at the Harmon, mirrored building at the far northern end of campus, we sat in her Astro Chevy Van and discussed this young man. I told her that Avram was my plan B. That if Dennis and I didn't work out, he was on my short list of people to try dating afterwards. After all, this is me - for every plan I have, I also develop a tiered list of contingency plans "just in case." I love being prepared, even if that's only through having lots of theoretical lists.
Later on in the morning as we waited in between sessions, we continued discussing the situation, and she asked me who else was on my short list. As I thought, I realized although I always referred to my short list as containing plural amounts of available men, the only actual entry on it was Avram. My plan B.
My Mom wasn't as confident in this as I was. She pointed out, "What if you and Avram marry? How would he feel knowing he had been your plan B? That doesn't seem nice to him."
"If I married Avram, then obviously by that point he would have progressed to plan A. I wouldn't actually marry a plan B." Who can refute logic like that?
Throughout this time, I continued to mentally considered Avram a plan B. I had no plans to date him. Rather, I continued in my Journal and my time to actively dream for a future with Dennis, who only had six months remaining on his mission.
Concurrent with all of this the Quill and the Sword called for volunteers to put on a medieval demonstration for an elementary school in a neighboring town in Utah Valley. I volunteered both as demonstrator and driver, and was very pleased when Avram also volunteered, along with two others, Travis and Michele. We met at my house in full medieval regalia and began our trip. Only a mile or so into it, directly outside of Provo High, several passing drivers motioned to me that my wheel was flat, so I pulled into the Provo High School Parking Lot. PoorHerkie had a good and flat, although not blown out - just deflated. Avram and Travis attempted to change it to my spare, but although they found three tire irons in my trunk (none of which I was aware of), none of them fit the lug nuts on the offending tire. With no operable means of transferring to the spare tire, sooner than not we were limping our way back to my house in my still flatHerkie.
To assuage our disappointment at our failed quest, I made everyone my signature lunch favorite of toasted tuna fish sandwiches. We all talked about Club, both its history and present state. That afternoon in my kitchen dissecting our communal social center was the first time that Avram and I had spent unstructured club time together once we knew each other. Like many of our conversations it was dynamic. Avram has never been shy with his opinions, and once claimed to have an opinion on everything, even if he made it up on the spot (time has tempered this rash statement).
Also in early March Avram and I went on the first of our walks. He would walk me home from some activity or another (footnote one), and I would always end up talking with him about everything on my mind and in my life. He advised me on whether to keep my brokenHerk or not (he pointed out that having a car was not freedom, it was mobility.) I told him about my family and the wrinkles we had in being blended together, as well as my own doubts and fears about my future commitment issues with marriage. I remember well the wet streams of slush dropping from my midnight blue wool cloak into my shoes as we slowly made our way down a sidewalk south of campus. I treasured these talks, despite the weather (or perhaps of the weather - I love walking through the seasons with a companion by my side, sharing in deep thoughts). Not for romantic reasons, as I still considered my crush on Avram as largely irrelevant, but for how I valued Avram's thoughts on all aspects of my life.
I talk a lot, and I assume many people think that I'm basically a large pond that's only an inch deep in thoughts - I spread my inner self everywhere. It's true that I superficially share many thoughts with many people, but for most of my life I've felt that there is a lot of inner thoughts and self that are a deep well that no one sees nor hears about. Now I think at this point in my life the first is true - I even amaze myself by how much I'm willing to casually chat about myself and my deep inner thoughts on my blog for the potential whole world to read about. Five years ago though,pre marriage, I still felt a deep inner well. However, when talking to Avram I might as well been an open pond - there was nothing I held back from him (except that I liked him...I managed not to blurt that out awkwardly). As we walked and talked, Avram mainly played the role of mentor to my life and thoughts - I didn't learn much about his family or life through all of this. Perhaps he came from a more boring (read stable) family, and definitely he didn't have the overhanging emotional trauma of having broken off an engagement four and a half weeks before the wedding.
One night after the Tuesday night Club meeting in the Wilk, Avram came and asked me if I would be willing to help him with some advice. He liked a girl in his ward, and had sent her an email basically declaring his intentions. Avram wanted me to read the email and tell him what I thought of it (although what the point of having me preview an email that is already done and sent I'm still not quite sure of). This red letter anti climactic activity marks the first time Avram and I did something together besides walk towards my home. I hadn't yet eaten dinner, and it was already approaching nine pm, so I had Avram walk me to my home first, where he watched me consume twoeggo waffles with fake maple syrup (yes I don't know where my insistence of healthy food went while I was in college) for dinner, and then we walked right back up to campus to the Library, where there was Internet.
I read and approved of the email, and then we spend the next three hours, until the Library closed and we noticed people leaving, sitting outside the library talking about life. Since I had firmly ensconced Avram into a plan B slot in my mind, I thought it was great that he liked a girl from his ward, and was only too happy to help him pursue her. For one matter it made our first solitary social occasion not awkward at all, since we clearly knew where each other stood in regards to each other - just as friends. Avram even told me that he thought that Dennis and I would probably work out, and any kind word about the future of me and my missionary immediately endeared anyone to my heart.
I had met this girl once before, when Avram had failed to show up for a Mystic's guild one Sunday evening meeting at Travis' apartment. After the meeting the group went to my house to eat Sunday night snacks, and I surreptitiously (to my mind at least - it was probably painfully obvious to the rest of the group) developed a plan of going to Avram's home and "kidnapping" him and making him come and spend time with us. I didn't call and ask why he hadn't come - I never even thought of calling Avram. I don't think that Avram and I talked on the phone even once until we had begun dating. Neither of us are phone people, and both avoid calling people, even people we know and like. So, I and a few of my friends hopped in myHerkie and drove to Avram's apartment. When he answered the door all my friends stood back and I was there alone, stammering out an lame excuse about kidnapping him and making him come and socialize with us - when I noticed a girl was in his living room. The girl that he liked.
Yeah. It turned out trying to surprise kidnap someone is a stupid idea. I started backpedaling, and giving Avram lots of outs, while also trying to invite her to come along. She said she had things she needed to do, and left Avram to come with us alone. Awkward. (footnote two). Plus my friends (all girls) blamed me, rightfully, for it all.
She seemed a nice girl, and more importantly her existence meant that mine and Avram's interactions were all the more casual and carefree because we both knew the other was otherwise romantically involved.
Right in the middle of Avram and mine deepening friendship, on March 12 I burst into cooking guild, which was being held at my own house, an hour late and declared that I was going to Egypt. Everyone present was suitably surprised, and I enjoyed the various shouts around me. Avram was purely jealous of my luck, although only for the location - he had no interest in studying Arabic, which was the reason for the study abroad.
I had known about this study abroad opportunity since the previous September, and had always planned to pass it up since it would be the fall of my Senior year, and Dennis would be home, and obviously we would be getting engaged and doing all sorts of things much more fun than living in a foreign country and speaking a foreign language.
Except by the time March rolled around, all my Arabic peers around me sat around the study table in the now moved Humanities Computer Language Lab in theJKHB talking about Alexandria Egypt, and their excitement for the trip. And Dennis seemed so far away in Germany. At the turn of the year he had decided to write me less - I had only received one letter in the previous two and a half months. I filled up pages in my journal detailing out why I thought traveling abroad was a good idea, but the plain truth was I've always had wandering feet. I had spent my entire time atBYU trying to find some sort of study abroad opportunity, whether through the school or no that would let me visit Jerusalem. Failing Israel, forever banned to me because of the Intifada, I determined to go as close as I could - Egypt.
Once I knew I would be going to Egypt in the fall, my harmless, meaningless flirtations with Avram only increased. Not only were we romantically involved elsewhere (well, on his side it was only in the infantile stages of occasional dates and and email, but I was willing to elaborate this into a full scale romance to help my delusions of platonic friendship with Avram along), but now in only five months I would be leaving to a foreign country.
In all of this I still knew that Avram and I had a connection. I had not forgotten my crush - I just subsumed it beneath all other events and considerations. One week I burst into Sewing Guild (yet another Medieval Club guild.) exclaiming that I liked Avram, and what was I to do? This was nothing new to the listeners in the room - I regularly exclaimed over my self doomed crush over Avram to any who would hear. I believe the vast majority of club had already heard, from my lips, of my feelings for Avram before I told him to his face. (footnote three).
Another time I sat in my kitchen with Avram and some others and during the course of the conversation talked about how I felt that it had been long enough since my broken engagement that I felt that I could enter into a relationship. I could and would make it the perfect relationship. I would plot where we would hold hands first, where we would kiss first, and it would all be picturesque. I could be at times fun and serious and construct moments with a boy to his heart's content (all the while mentally inserting Avram into the generic gender mentions). But I could not give a boy my heart, I could not fall in love with another, not again, while Dennis was out (yeah, yeah, so I was overly dramatic and wrong. I have a habit of making large pronouncements like this, and truly meaning them. And then consequently proving myself wrong, time and again.) (footnote three.)
Avram didn't completely seem to play fair either. One night, March 12, the same night I announced I was going to Egypt, Travis had a showing on a rented projector of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark at his apartment. Avram sat next to me, and during some of the violent bits (and I have a very low tolerance for violence) he put his arm around me. From across the room I saw several pairs of eyes asking me what was happening, and I could only shrug with my own eyes back, because I quite honestly did not know. Was Avram trying to put the move on me? Were we having a moment? Even through our determined, platonic friendship I was not adverse at all to moments together. Alas, after about ten minutes, when the movie had moved back to stirring video of Harrison Ford's good looks, Avram removed his arm with no comment on his part.
Then at the end of the movie he commented that he had better get me home, with a phrasing that almost sounded almost...protective, and thenhe walked me home. Unfortunately several other people walked our same way, leaving at the same time, so we had no private conversation at all. Later I was asked multiple times what the whole Raiders arm incident had meant, and I had no answer - Avram never referenced it (footnote four).
On April 1, Avram and I had a DTR (define the relationship, as far as I know a uniquely BYU term for the big "talk") of sorts. All we said as we sat together outside the library in the nice spring air was what I had begun March telling my Mom. I told Avram I considered him a plan B, and he told me he thought of me as the same - a plan B to look into if matters did not progress with the girl from his ward. This conversation did not feel full of portent, nor heavy with repressed romantic feelings. It was a light hearted and casual talk between friends, a small matter of note in our larger conversation. It wasn't even until long after this that on reflection I realized that we had essentially stated our liking for each other through this conversation - at the time it seemed we were more discussing the potential we had for liking each other. (footnote five).
In the next installment I'll actually get to the part where something happens....Shocking, I know. So keep your blog reading eyes trained to the computer, ready and waiting for all the excitement.
Footnote One. Avram lived on the west side of BYU, next to the Utah Valley Hospital, and I lived on the far East side, on Ninth East and Seventh North. From central campus we lived in completely opposite directions - a forty five minute walk. Although I didn't know where he lived at the time, Avram walking me home from campus events was no small walk.
Footnote Two. At the time I didn't know how Avram felt about his "kidnapping," but in all truth Avram in all truth didn't mind being kidnapped at all. He wouldn't have come if he minded.
Footnote Three. It seems rather amazing, but no one ever told Avram that I liked him. He could tell, though. But to him it was all irrelevant, because he completely saw me as taken. Engaged is the word he uses. So he never planned nor intended to pursue me. Not to even ask me on one small date. Avram doesn't have my penchant for loving to love, especially in doomed/awkward situations, so he only focused his time and attention on girls that were single and available. Me? I have made a fine art of liking people when I ought not to. I've dated brothers (Dennis had an older brother Peter get home from his mission right about when he left....yep, that was an interesting story.) I then three months later got engaged. To someone I had known a month. Avram was yet another in a long string of ill begotten crushes.
Footnote Four. I had a lot of conjectures about the whole Raider's Arm incident. Occam's Razor strikes again, for the simplest explanation turned out to be right. He saw that I was scared and uncomfortable, he put his arm around me to comfort me, and when he saw that I didn't need to be comforted any more, he removed it. He wasn't putting the move on me, and we weren't having a moment. Nor was he trying to be extra connected nor protective of me when he talked about walking me home. I simply read too much into the situation.