Act 1: Cindy
Act 2, Scene 1: A Chance Meeting
"Summer of Love"
My senior year in college came along in the fall of 1997... actually, I was due to graduate at the end of fall quarter, but since they didn't have fall commencement at that time (they started that the following year, when they went to semesters in the fall of 1998), I couldn't officially graduate. So, I was simply a lame-duck student, done with school, but not able to graduate college until March. Many students moved away, and would come back for the ceremony, but I was in a lease at Willow Terrace, still living with Wookiee & and now Mike Brunson, until the summer of 98.
Instead of graduating, actually, I went on a mission trip to New York City in March of 1998, my first NYC trip. Somewhere on that Thursday, I was walking down 5th Avenue and I remember looking at my watch and seeing it was 3pm. I shouted "I'm a college graduate now!" really loudly. Incidentally, this is also the same trip where Chrissy Roe, the Spanish teacher from Spain Park, met her husband. More proof that God's plan revolves around me. That was a joke.
And in May of 1998, I heard from Amy Wible.
I was online again, this time, I think it was on AOL 3.0... she IM'ed me with a "Hi" and I just gave her a "hello". We talked for a long, long time. Understand that I was over her (after only one summer and a handful of afternoons spent together, I was never "under" her, to paraphrase Ross Geller) so talking to her wasn't that big of a deal. Through the course of the conversation, I found out she'd broken up with her boyfriend Joel and wanted to know how I was doing. I was fine, at that point. Graduated, summer missions, NYC, still praying about where I was going in the fall (Though Montgomery, Atlanta and Nashville were not out of the question, I had truly narrowed it down to Mobile and... ugh, Birmingham. Hated Birmingham. I was hoping the upcoming internship interviews in Mobile would work out)
I don't know how it happened again, but we agreed to go out again. Careful I was not falling into another Cindy Howell type trap, I prepared myself to pray about a guarded heart, and kept asking God to guide me in this rekindled friendship. So, we met again. And again. And again. And somehow, we started dating again within a few weeks.
One night, we had dinner and then went to the Shakespeare Festival grounds--for those of you who don't know what that is, its the area called The Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Its a huge park, with several small theaters and museums on the grounds, and a huge (man made) lake in the middle. Lots of picnic areas, plus a place where you can walk right up to the water and feed geese, which is what we did. That night, we sat together for about four hours, and Amy began to open up to me, to the point of tears. She told me of what her year had been like, her relationship and break up with Joel, what her fears were, what her hope for the future was and everything else. And I sat and listened... and my heart was melting. I opened up to her about my life, about things that I was dealing with, and there at close to midnight, we sat and prayed together for what seemed like forever. It was awesome.
June passes and July is almost over. Though I really, really want to go to Mobile, I feel God is calling me to Birmingham. I'm fighting it in my prayerlife, not wanting to admit this is what God wants for me, even though it was pretty evident, since none of my interviews in Mobile was going to lead to anything. Through some random conversation with Amy, I mention a possible move to Birmingham, possibly working for this new Christian station starting up called Reality Radio 101.1. She tells me how great that would be, because with her in Tuscaloosa, I'd only be 45 minutes away, not two hours, and how great it would be dating the DJ for a Christian radio station. Much like God led me to Christian drama through Chrissy, God finally sealed the deal with me for Birmingham through Amy.
My final time with Amy was unexpected. I was taking her to the beach for the day (Troy was only about 100 miles away from PCB) and that night, we were going to a party at Farmhouse, my fraternity. And we had agreed that we would slow dance for the first time during the band party. So we get to the beach, we have a great time, have lunch, walk, hang out and so forth. Make our way back that evening, get ready, go the party, but alas, the only slow song they played was "Sexual Healing", which I told Amy was not acceptable for two good people like us to dance to.
We left the party late, and I had made arrangements for her to stay at my apartment. Wookiee was already moved out (gone to Hazelhearst, GA), Mikey Brunson was gone (that's another story) and I was actually due to move out the next week. She was going to sleep in my room, I was going to sleep on the couch... perhaps not a perfect Christian arrangement, but we both agreed nothing below reproach was going to happen. We watched a movie, she passed out, she went to bed, I slept on the couch. The next morning, I made pancakes. I walked her out, she left. But something... something was different this morning. Something. I don't know what, but... something.
Whatever that something was, it was really something. I moved to Birmingham two weeks later. I didn't know a soul. I had hoped that Amy would come see me, if not as the girl I was dating, then just to give me some company... but she didn't return my calls. I guess we broke up by virtue of not talking anymore.I mean, I didn't understand it. After all we shared this summer, all the time we spent together, we were truly walking with God in our relationship--other than hand holding, that sleeping in separate rooms in the same apartment was the only thing that had even transpired between us.
And suddenly, here I was in Birmingham, a city I hated. Alone. No friends. Very little money. No church. No support. No Amy.
And in August 1998, for the first time in my life, I knew the feeling of having a heart that was broken into a million pieces.
Next: Act 2, Scene 3... "Tuesday's" Night