"I believe in you. I believe that you will do everything you said you are going to do. I believe in you, and I just wanted to be a part of it."
This three-minute phone conversation at two o'clock in the morning kept me awake for the next few hours. Until that point Dan and I had just been friends, meeting often at Peet's Coffee & Tea for study and conversation, drawing the quiet speculation of those around us.
I maintained my position; while Dan had asked me out previously I only desired friendship. I was single and enjoying it. I was motivated and busy. I had plans and no one else fit into them. Dan was funny, smart, and bore a remarkable resemblance to Doogie but our paths didn't seem compatible, he was joining the Marine Corps and I had a 10 year plan to finish my education and save the world.
I believe you will do everything you said you are going to do.
I tossed and turned over this, did I have that belief in myself? Sure I talked big, but was I capable of accomplishing all of these goals? Could I make an impact on the world? The realization that someone else had that sort of faith in me brought tears to my eyes. Dan and I had agreed to meet the next day for lunch after church but I had no idea what I would say to him. Did I want to try? I had never had a boyfriend, never really dated anyone else. I prayed. I argued. I decided. This guy deserved a shot. I finally fell asleep, completely at peace with my decision.
This proved rather difficult to convey at lunch the next day. Over sandwiches at Togo's I tried to explain my desire to move forward which came out something like this, "I think that maybe this could be a good thing. It should pretty much just stay the same way though. I like our friendship, I mean. But maybe it could be more but just stay at the same pace and nothing would really change but maybe at some point it might..."
Dan, who at this time had already resigned himself to the fact that we would only ever be friends, took my very confusing words as confirmation of this fact and agreed that friendship was all we would have and he understood. I was too shy and old-fashioned to explain what I really meant so we drove away confused and disappointed.
About an hour later Dan called, "Hey, so I was thinking about what we talked about over lunch and I don't think I understood -- I'm slightly confused. Can we meet for coffee tomorrow?"
"Yes! Coffee would be wonderful," I replied with a huge, goofy smile on my face.
We met at about eleven in the morning and talked and talked about everything except yesterday's lunch. I skipped my one o'clock class but at 3:20 I had to go to work. As he walked me out to my car I blurted out, "Are we ever going to talk about yesterday?" He smiled and said he had wanted to talk about lunch at the end of the conversation because he didn't want me to feel awkward and trapped, he wanted to make sure I had an escape (he knew me well even then).
He asked what I wanted and I said I didn't know.
Did I want to date?
Well, 'dating' seemed committed and overwhelming.
"Okay," he asked, "if A is friends and B is dating, what are we?"
"A.5?" I replied.
He was baffled by my response but took it in stride with a little grin, "Okay, you have to go so we will figure it out later." I got in my car and drove to work. About one minute later my phone went off, a text from Dan, "Screw it. A.5 it is! So, this Friday, dinner and a movie?"
We took things pretty slow, we wrote letters all summer long while he was at Officer Candidate School and I was running all over California and traveling to Europe, we were inseparable for two months in the Fall and when he went back for The Basic School we spoke on the phone every night.
I flew out to Washington, D.C. to see him over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and on January 17, 2010 Dan asked me to marry him. I am so glad I gave him a chance.