Sunday, October 16, 2011

Part 2: Awkward shuffle dance

read part 1 of our story here

Part 2: Awkward shuffle dance
I took the long walk from the stand in front of the congregation to the front aisle. Ok it really wasn't a long walk, but with all the suspense of wondering what the infamous Richard looked like and if he really held up to his reputation among the girls in the ward, it felt like a long walk. I sat down and looked up. I met eyes with a ridiculously attractive young man in a suit sitting on the stand. 
"crap he noticed me staring at him....and now he is looking at me too...this could be awkward...he sure has pretty eyes...I wonder how long we will just stare at each other like this....this is fun..."
I lost track of how long we stared at each other but it must have been a really long time because at one point I felt someone elbow me. My Dad had his huge I-am-very-proud smile on his face and he whispered, while glancing up at Richard, "I see whats going on!" I flashed him an embarrassed smile. Not that I was embarrassed I was making eyes with Richard, but that my Dad caught me. O well, he was obviously excited. 
So he was cute. That much was obvious. But, as we all know, looks aren't everything. He stood up for his homecoming talk and his attractiveness shot up 150 more points. He gave an incredible talk and the room was filled with the spirit after he bore his testimony. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I was amazed at the wonderfully powerful spirit that he had. Once again, I could tell my Dad was excited. I could almost see him planning our marriage while he was listening to his talk. I can't deny I wasn't either...
The meeting ended and I went out in the hall to talk to my friends. Apparently (I didn't find out about this until after Richard and I were dating) my Dad walked straight up to Richard and while shaking his hand said:
D: "Hi I am....and I want you to date my daughter. She is dating someone, she isn't very interested in him, they are about to break up and has never dated a returned missionary."
R: "O ummm...who is she?"
Yeah, that convo really happened. And yes, I had a boyfriend at the time. Horrible I know. We had actually decided we were going to break up soon when he left for college so needless to say, I was not committed at all. Sadly, that ended Richards plans to actively pursue me because I was dating another young man in our stake. But I did hear through the grape vine, from Richards foster sister, that he was really interested in me. I was so excited, I literally started jumping up and down with excitement. Why I didn't just break up with "boyfriend" (we will refer to him as that for our purposes), I still don't know.
From here commenced the "awkward shuffle dance" stage of our courtship. Like, you know when you are walking towards someone and you both keep meaning to move out of the way for the other person but just keep moving in front of them, further blocking their way? Yeah that sums up the next couple months. Here is why: 1. All through high school, despite having a lot of girls have huge crushes on him, he never had a girl friend because he was really shy around girls 2. compound that with the "post-mission-fear-of-girls" syndrome and 3. I had a boyfriend and he acted really awkward around me. And he was the cute, super spiritual, funny and sweet returned missionary who continued to make me nervous. So me, the town flirt, acted equally awkward around him
Remember the picture of me in that play my senior year in Part 1? Well I was Kim Macafee in "Bye-Bye Birdie" and we were in need of some extras. Even  though we were only weeks away from the opening night, the director recruited Richard to be in the play because of the 25+ plays he did in high school. So our interaction increased slightly, even though most of it was actual awkward-shuffle-dances which only resulted in Richard saying "hey McKenna". I think that was the most he said to me during this time period. I honestly thought he really didn't like me, but apparently I really intimidated him so he was too scared to say more than 2 words to me. We did sneak to secretly watch each other act from the wings of the stage, but our interaction was mostly just watching each other or hanging out in groups with other people. 
Going to prom with "boyfriend"
Graduation night
I graduated, broke up with "boyfriend" as planned and spent my summer playing with my friends before heading down to Utah for my freshman year of college. As soon as I finished my first semester, Richard went to work for his Dad in Alaska (his Dad was a commercial fisherman). I went down to Utah as he was coming back from Alaska after which he headed to the Seattle area to live with his cousins. I had a great freshman year and as I was dating there I literally thought "Richard is the ideal guy so I need to date/find someone that is like him. There is no way he would go for me, so I need to find someone like him". 
Well I miserably failed and came home from my 1st semester single, and on the prowl. It was Christmas time and I remember hearing that Richard now had a girlfriend. Great. But I got an invitation to go to his house for a Christmas party (he was back in our home town for a little while) and I went, eager to maybe re-light the spark that we had. Once again, I dressed in my cutest outfit, turned on my charm and went. I remember once again, catching his eyes and we watched each other from across the room, mercilessly flirting with our eyes. Then the girlfriend showed up and I lost him to her. I was not a happy girl. As soon as the movie started and they started cuddling, I decided I didn't want to watch the movie AND them cuddling, so I left. As I was walking towards the door I heard "Wait, are you leaving??" My heart stopped as my feet did as I recognized that voice. I turned around to find my suspicions of who called out, confirmed. I responded that I had to go and to my utter delight he said "are you sure you have to leave? You should stay!" After some mil-second calculating, I decided still to leave so that I could make him more interested. Because you know how guys love the chase.
So I left the party and soon thereafter left for college. As my parents were driving me to the airport my Dad said (with some defeat in his voice): "I heard that Richard is engaged to his girlfriend". My heart dropped as I thought I had lost him. I went to college, and thinking I had lost, threw myself back into the dating scene. I started dating someone pretty seriously and the marriage talk started. But it never felt right at all. I kept questioning myself feeling confused and utterly unsure of what to do (later I realized that was the stupor of thought letting me know it was not right). I remember asking married people how they "knew" and they said "you just know". I didn't feel anything of the sort, so after awhile, we were broken up by the end of the semester.
My plan for the summer after the current semester ended was to live in a near-by city and work while living with my grandparents. I was one day talking to my mom about my plans and felt very strong that I should return to our hometown. Confused at this direction (the city I was going to live in was full of single guys and for all I knew the only guy I would be interested in was engaged) I decided to follow it and came home. I had a really negative dating experience right before coming home and on May 2nd, my first day home, I told my good friend I was done dating and wouldn't until I returned home from my mission (I had barely turned 19 so I am not sure how I planned to do that...). It was also fast Sunday and I bore my testimony. As I was standing up at the pulpit I noticed Richards parents and sister. But he wasn't there. Disappointed, but not surprised, I continued on with my heartfelt testimony. That first year of college I matured and grew in a lot of ways, but especially spiritually so I was excited to share my burning testimony
The next day, May 3rd, I went to work at the adorable little furniture store where I was going to work for the summer. I came home from my shift around 4 or 5. The house was empty and quiet (I have 7 young, loud siblings so this was rare) and I curled up on the couch with a favorite book and an herbal tea. Little did I know that just down the street the still-single-never-engaged-Richard had heard from his parents I was back in town. They said I looked really cute in church (he was at the singles ward with his cousin that day which was why he wasn't there) and bore a very sweet, tender testimony. The newly single Richard decided he would jump on the opportunity of both of us being single at the same time and ask me out on a date. He too just a month before, felt very very strongly that he needed to move from where he was living near Seattle to our home town. So finally, after nearly a year of always being in different places, we were miraculously in the same place and both single. His Dad still teases him about the merciless pacing he did trying to get up the courage to call me and how many times he would hang up before finishing dialing my number because he was so nervous.
I was sitting on the couch, with the phone next to me and when it rang I instinctively checked the caller-ID. When I saw "Wadsworth, Ray" on it my heart jumped. "Could this be it?!" But then I remembered that his younger foster sister and my younger sister were friends so it was probably just her calling for my sister.
I answered the phone and heard a very familiar voice. And he asked for me. I finally heard the words I had been waiting for since we met a year earlier...
"Hey McKenna, do you want to go on a date with me tonight?" be continued :)


  1. Oh my word McKenna I am loving your story. It is great! I can't wait to hear more.

  2. Soooooo, so cute. Sigh. Love it.

  3. I feel like I'm reading twlight! I just want to hear more! Thanks for sharing!


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