Monday, July 10, 2006

A Love Story in Three Acts: Act 2, Scene 4

Act 1: Cindy
Act 2, Scene 1: A Chance Meeting
Act 2, Scene 2: Summer of Love
Act 2, Scene 3: "Tuesday's" Night

The last time I saw Amy, it was January of 2000, which was 17 months from the last time I had seen her, that being August of 1998. So, with that in mind, lets skip ahead another 7 months to August of 2000.

By this time, I was rooming with Michael, Shawn and Tom in The Deuce. I had already kinda sorta gone out with Leslie Cordell (which Leslie, nor even Stephanie, doesn't know how God worked in that situation)...) earlier that year, and hadn't really done much on the dating scene. I had also been sending out what I called Random Emails of Encouragement, a little God-inspired essay I would write from time to time. Amy was on my Encouragement email list, don't ask me how, and in one particular one, I had mentioned Sybil Johnson's Bible Study...

Let me 'splain. Sybil Johnson is a lady here in town that has a deep heart for high school and college kids, and opens her home up once per week for a Bible study. I had been going for a while--Michael took me--and its where I had met the likes of Tommy McLeod, Amy Vos, Jill Berthon and Shawn Sharp, who eventually became one of my Deucemates.

...and drew the writing from whatever had happened that night. I'm sitting in my room at The Deuce, and randomly, the phone rings. Its Amy. I sit up, and smile, "Well, hey, how are you?" and she says "Hey" back. We chat for a moment, all the while I'm puzzled as to why she's called me now. This is not someone I expected to hear from, like, ever again. Of course, I laughingly ask the question that I ask all girls who have been dating awhile... "You married yet?"


Suddenly, there is uncontrollable sobbing and crying on the other end of the phone. "Hey hey... calm down," I say softly. "Amy, what's wrong?" She tells me that she and Craig have broken up. My first question should have been "Why are you calling me?", but I knew the answer to this question already. I simply say, "Calm down... talk to me. Tell me what's going on."

She starts telling me the story of how she and Craig had split, and it wasn't pretty at all. I do remember details, but honestly, its not important here... I ask her if she is in Tuscaloosa, and she says yes, and then I ask her if she wants me to come to her. Initially, she says yes, and I'm already putting socks on, but then she stops and says, "No... don't do that. Its too late tonight. I just wanted an ear to cry into." I ask her if she's sure, and she says yes... then she asks me about Sybil's Bible study, and if we can bring guests. I told her, "Of course. Would you like to come?" She says she would, and we set it up for her to come to Birmingham in a few days for Bible study.

I hung up the phone and collapsed into my pillow. You have to be freakin' kidding me, God. You have to be kiddin' me.

I have butterflies the size of Hyundais when she pulls up in The Deuce parking lot. I watch her walk down the sidewalk and disappear in the doorway to our building... I take a deep breath and open the door before she can even knock. My heart melts and flies at the same time as the only girl, at the time, I'd ever loved stood before me.
We go to Bible study, have a good time, I mention in prayer requests that "I have a friend who's really having a hard time with her life right now" (to which Amy smiles and squeezes my hand--she knew I was referring to her) and we come back to The Deuce.

As I walk her out, we stand in the parking lot and she begins to open up about Craig. Finally, we sit on the curb, as we talk for about three hours, 'til early in the morning. I finally ask her two questions... first, why call me? She answered like I thought she would... "Because I knew of all the people in the world, you'd be there for me, David. Somehow I knew you would."

Then I ask the killer question... "Why did you drop me? Why, after all we had that summer, did you just leave me in 1998? Amy, you broke my heart."

She had a sad look in her eye, and simply said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of it. You were perfect. You were everything I needed, everything I wanted, but I was just stupid, and I didn't know how to handle it. I figured the best thing to do was just not talk to you anymore, and it would all go away. I'm so sorry I hurt you... I'm so, so sorry."

I looked at her. "I want to be your friend, Amy. I want to be here for you." She smiled and said, "I really need that. I really need you to be there for me, more than anything right now." The smile left my face and I continued, "But if you leave again, if you drop me again, if you decide that you don't want me anymore, even as your friend, don't ever come back. Don't call me anymore. I don't know that I could take it." (truthbeknown, at the time she could have dropped me and returned a year later, then repeated this process five times over and I still would have been there for her... again, at the time)

Yes, yes, this sounds like a script from a movie. Or a cheesy romance novel. But this is what transpired in The Deuce parking lot in September of 2000, right around the time my future wife Stephanie was about to turn 23.

I had never been to a real college football game, or at least one that didn't happen in Troy, so Amy decided to fix that. She took me to the Alabama-Ole Miss game, and I got to sit in the student section--and it was awesome. I was rooting for Alabama because I picked them in this football game we started that same fall, The DFC, though I didn't let her know thats why I was cheering them on.

All through the fall, we hung out several times, had phone conversations that lasted until early morning time, and generally, it was a good fall. While I wasn't dating Amy--I didn't feel right about moving in so quickly after Craig left her, so I was being patient--I didn't go out with anyone else either. There was this cute girl named Stephanie Campbell that came to Sunday School one Sunday, but she never came back. Mostly, it was just hanging out with Amy.

The 2000 Election was that November, and Amy was there with myself, Shawn, Tom, Mikey, Drew, Ty and a few other people, and I was about to pass out. Shawn had started talking to Amy in his room, and it kind of agitated me--she was my guest, darn it--so I just went to bed. About 2am, she knocked on my door and came in. "Sorry about that... Shawn was just talking away..." she smiled. I let my frustrations be known, how I understood that all the guys liked her here, and she liked all the guys... but I really wanted her time. She smiled and said, "Don't worry... you and I have a history. Nothing's going to come between that."

She also got us tickets to the Iron Bowl, my first one. Michael, Wookiee, Tom and Shawn all came for $50 per ticket, but Amy covered mine... hey, we had history. Auburn won a cold, miserable 9-0 game, and we cheered, even in the midst of the Bama student section. Looking back, its a wonder we didn't get shot. Amy was quite frustrated with all of us, especially me, for doing this... I couldn't help it.

Finally, in January, I was watching television. We were still recovering from the 50+ people we had in our apartment for the first Deuce Christmas Party, one which Amy couldn't make, so the place was still a mess. Amy had emailed me something, I don't remember what, but something snapped in me. This was it. I was tired of dealing with it, I was tired of thinking about it, so I just picked up the phone.

"Hey Amy"
"Oh, hey Dave, whats up?"
"I gotta talk to you for a second"
"Is everything okay?"
"Yes, just listen."
And with that, with Shawn thumping the bass two rooms over and Mikey and Tommy watching tv in the next room, I said the following:
"Amy, I love you. I've been in love with you since that night we had dinner at Ruby Tuesday's. Maybe even before that, I dunno. I just know it broke my heart into a thousand pieces when you suddenly quit talking to me in Summer 98... (she started to say something, but I cut her off)... no, let me say this. It broke my heart, and I thought I was done with you, but when I saw you that night, I knew how I felt. And when you called me last September, it all came back. I almost don't care what you'll say to this... I actually want you to tell me its never going to happen, just so I can stop hoping and move on with my life, but there. I'm in love with you. I said it."


"Wow... I don't know what to say...I..."
"Well, you can say that its never going to happen between us, for starters. Then, I can move on. Anything else, though perhaps welcome, would be really complicated."
"I... I, uh... you caught me off guard, David...."

Now, with that, the conversation ended pretty quickly. She was stunned. I was stunned that she didn't know any of this. Was she that blind?

I hung up the phone and smiled. I had said it. To me, it was over. If she loved me, she would have said so, right? I could move on, marry, make kids and live a happy life. She called me back a few days later.

And she said the following:
"David, I've been thinking about what you said, and I wanted to talk to you for a minute. (I started to say something, but she cut me off)... No, you said your piece, let me say mine. It makes me smile that you love me. You have been so amazing. You have loved me more unselfishly than anyone I've ever met. Not my friends, not my parents, certainly not Joel or Craig or any other guy. Even when I treated you like crap, you were there for me... that's true love, and I thank you for it... even love you for it... But... its not there. And its so hard to say that its not there, because I want it to be so badly... I've prayed to God that He would help me feel that way about you... I want to. I know you would treat me like a Godly husband should and be everything I could ever want or need... but its not there. I've thought about this, I've prayed about this, I've... I don't know. I don't think its going to happen, but not because I don't want it too... but because God doesn't want it too."

You would think that that statement would be a daggar into my heart, much like the one I had experienced years before... but it wasn't. It was a weight that sudenly fell off of my shoulders.

With that statement, I knew two things... yes, I loved Amy Wible, but I knew that I finally had total peace over the fact that it was not meant to be. And secondly, I knew that our friendship was close to running its course. After almost five years, the Season of David and Amy was over.

Though we spoke again on the phone, the calls became less frequent, until finally, they just went away. That February, she was my date to the first Deuce Date Party, and later on in summer, she did come to the WalkAbout Dinner Theater (middle school drama team) that I had directed... what was funny was that she and Stephanie Campbell sat at the same table, and later, with some other people, came to the Deuce. I had Amy and Stephanie in the same room for about half an hour... looking back, it was almost like Amy could have said "Hey, I've had him for five years... now its your time, Stephanie"

Amy did invite me to her going away party--she was headed to Texas to seminary, now that she had graduated Alabama. Both Shawn and I went. As the party wound down, I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek--the first time I'd ever kissed her--and said goodbye. And that "goodbye" was not for the night... but for all.

And though I spoke to her a few times after that, that night was the last time I ever saw Amy Wible.

Next: Act 3, Scene 1... "The Campbell Connection"

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