To start at the beginning: Saga Part 1 Brought on by the January Snow
On the First Reading Day for Winter Semester (footnote one), the members of the Mystics Guild agreed to meet in the Wilkinson Center and proceed to the Provo Temple to do some baptisms for the dead as a group. On the morning of, Avram and I showed up - but no one else appeared. Avram and I waited for a while, and even called Travis, the guild head, but cleaning checks for his apartment had come up, and so he was a no show.
Avram and I decided to continue the trip anyway, despite our numbers few, and so we two walked up to the temple together. During the four months that I had known Avram thus far, he always wore a fedora wherever he went. On this particular day, he had not been able to find his fedora, and so had worn an East German Officer's Cover he owned(complete with the original German newspaper stuffed in the brim for the proper fit) to cover his head instead. Inured to the historical significance of Avram's cover, I only noticed that it was decidedly odd looking for a BYU student to be wearing while walking down Ninth East, and I felt marked out by walking with him. Avram points out that this was an odd reaction, considering that I regularly dressed in Medieval Clothing and attended classes around campus, but there you go. I never said I was consistent in my quirks.
As we walked up together, I wondered the whole way if people were staring at us, and why Avram had to have worn that dreadful hat. What bothered me most of all was my reaction to his head covering. I knew I liked Avram - a lot - and yet something as simple as a choice in hats made me embarrassed to be with him, and feel awkward about our entire trip. My thoughts spiraled further, and I remembered how I had liked Gui (my previous fiance) a lot at one point too - and yet I could not carry through with marrying him. Maybe I would find fault with every boy I liked? Maybe I was completely incapably of committing to a relationship, to marriage, and as much as I could feel for someone, my capricious emotions would eventually flit away, whether through an odd choice of hat or some other inconsequential moment.
As I remained silent to my inner turmoil all caused by Avram's hat, Avram remained clueless to my true thoughts as we headed up to the House of the Lord together (which was a somewhat awkward trip in and of itself - to be making a trip to the temple together, as innocuous as the circumstances were. I wonder now if the cause for our walk was as much to blame as Avram's hat in my whirlwind mind.)
We did baptisms together, and after Avram walked me home he left, none the wiser in regards to my castigating thoughts. Only nine months out of my failed engagement, everything with regards to romance seemed in my mind to balance between Gui and Dennis. Gui was the symbol of all that failed in my life and myself, a sign of my inability to commit (which was the main crippling force in our broken engagement), a dark smear on my memory, with so much of the heartache roiling in a blackened, greasy smear beneath my seemingly calm exterior. I did not regret breaking it off, but at the same time I did not know how to move forward, how to ever have a working, functional relationship again. How to actually commit to a man, and mean forever.
Sure, I had loved Gui. But it had not been enough. Sure, I liked Avram. But even in the midst of my young spring lilac scented girl-crush I had been repulsed by, of all silly extraneous, meaningless details, a hat. footnote two. If a hat could send me reeling, how could I ever hope to even attempt a relationship? Not that I had any plans to date Avram, but at that moment in mid April, Avram represented all future crushes. As I turned all these thoughts around in my mind, over and over again until they became smooth and round with the friction, like river rocks tumbled in white currents and rushing waters. Except my thoughts weren't smooth and peaceful, just well worn tracks I could see no end on, no resolution in them.
I could imagine a relationship working with Dennis, because I had dated him before I knew heartache, knew the soul wrenching failure of a failed relationship, before I had been only four weeks away from a temple sealing, only to break it all off, because of me. Because I could not marry him, marry Gui. Dennis only seemed a vague idea in my mind, and so of course I could see us working out - with him on his mission for 19 months in many ways I knew Dennis had become a construct, a shadow puppet filled out with my projections, my memories, my hopes, but with very little substance - just a couple of double written sheets that arrived every few months.
Avram represented the reality - and in the reality I could not see myself committing, with anyone. Because if I could be put off by a hat, how could I make an eternal commitment, eternal covenants? My mind wasn't actually thinking of my eternal potential (or lack thereof) with Avram, as much as how he represented mankind in general to me, and how I could see myself being fickle with every man that I liked, and never being able to commit to any one again.
From such simple origins as the communist German hat, my mind continued in this dark vein throughout the day.
Later that evening my friend and the cooking guild mistress Mary Megan came over, as we planned to go shopping for food needed for the Club Spring Festival happening the next day up at Nunn's Park in Provo Canyon. Travis and Avram also happened by as they were bored, and I attempted to share with my three friends my renewed worries about commitment and marriage. As I could not mention the catalyst for all these thoughts, as the object of my affection was one of my listeners, my thoughts came out rather garbled and overwrought, and so my friends were at a disadvantage to help me. I could tell they weren't sure why I suddenly had a fit of worry about an eventuality that had no place in my life at that moment.
Before we all went shopping at Wal*Mart for the food needed, Avram quietly asked me if I wanted him to talk to me after the shopping trip, as he could tell that I was still riled up in mind. As we shopped, I asked Mary Megan if I should just tell Avram that I liked him, and put all my cards on the table, so that way I could be honest with him. At that point I was certain that Avram did not return my feelings - he and Mina were not dating, but I was certain it was only a matter of time, but I hoped that if he knew of my feelings, that I would not always be dancing around a topic, which circumlocution had caused such confusion in my attempts at explaining myself earlier that evening. (footnote three). Mary Megan was against it, as she had seen me twice get into ill-begotten relationships since Dennis had left, and wasn't sure what telling Avram of my feelings would produce except potentially another doomed romance. (Avram and Travis had wandered off to the movie section while Mary Megan and I debated this out).
Our shopping trip took longer than expected, and it was nearing eleven thirty at night by the time we were driving home. I had decided to just let it all slide, but as Avram walked me to my door from the car he asked me once again if I still needed to talk to him (Avram had been in the habit of having me talk to him after Club activities and events, when something was on my mind and I needed advice, so to him this was yet another similar situation). I hesitated, and then acquiesced, that yes, I did desire to talk to him.
He quickly went and told everyone to drive on without him, and after I quickly grabbed my cloak to ward of the chill of the night, we began walking up through Kiwanis Park and then sat down outside a church up by the Tree Streets.
I have never been bold in matters of romantic pronouncements. As we sat on the damp grass staring out into the yellow-lit empty parking lot, all my boldness under the fluorescent lights of Wal*Mart faded until I could not remember my sudden urgency to declare all my inner feelings to Avram. The conversation did not even remain long on my fears of commitment and marriage, but soon veered off to more interesting topics; we even spent a while talking about Avram and Mina (whom he was not sure about any more - matters did not seem to be working out on both sides). I silently prayed for strength to tell Avram of my thoughts, or that someway, somehow Avram would miraculously bring up the very topic I dreaded to introduce myself.
I forgot about his silly hat (which he had discarded in favor of his familiar fedora for the evening), I forgot about my fears of relationships and commitment and failures, and I forgot about my plans to marry Dennis in less than a year. I even forgot that I wasn't always sure that just because I felt a connection to Avram and I enjoyed our conversations together that I actually could see us working in a relationship. I didn't not remember my apathy to Semitic Physiology in a romantical sense.
For the second time that day, April 14, 2004, as our spoken conversation meandered past one and towards two in the morning in its natural course, my inner mind battled along a one topic. I fought myself at every minute to just tell Avram to just be free, and not worry about his reaction, or the situation, to not worry about giving my thoughts away anymore, but to just be wonderfully free and open, and let the inevitably awkward consequences fall where they may. Sure, I knew that Avram would gently tell me that he did not like me, thought of me as a sister/friend/maiden aunt, but then I could laugh it off, and he would be as tender and sincere with my feelings as always, and we could move on into a vague utopia of open friendship....
The natural chill of the wee hours finally brought an end to our tete-a-tete, as Avram suggested walking me home as it neared two am. As we stood up, Avram reflected to me that I and Travis were the closest friends he had in club, and that he really liked us both.
As we walked down Aspen Avenue in the Tree Streets, facing Kiwanis Park under the yellow streetlights, there could have been a soundtrack with a suspenseful silence just at that moment, for I knew that my silently pleaded prayers had been answered; I had an opening into the very conversation I had wanted to have for the past two hours. Before the moment could be lost forever, I swallowed my fear, my natural shyness and reservation, and blurted out, hoping that it could either be taken in a capital letters, romantic way or alternately in a platonic, friendship way, "I like you."
A long, awkward silence followed. Eternally later, after a few steps of walking, Avram replied back, "I like you, too."
footnote one. Reading days are one or two days after classes end, and before finals begin where students are supposed to finish up their semester reading, complete papers, have DTRs, etc.
footnote two. Avram wants you all to know that this much maligned hat is a good hat. He still has this hat. (But he has not worn it again in my company. He wants you to know he's not stupid.)
footnote three. I'm not sure why I thought that having Avram know I liked him if he didn't like me was supposed to make the situation easier and less awkward, but I cannot explain my previous thoughts; I can only record them.