Friday, January 30, 2009

"i love you"

Back to the past…I’d moved home for the summer to work full time. My parents’ were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary that year, and I’d jumped at the chance to have a job in Port Alberni so that John and I could go ahead with plans for their party. I still had exams in April, which meant at least one sure chance of seeing David before summer really set in.

It was around April 22nd. I had plans to meet David at the UVic fountain, and warned him that I would probably be late as I was traveling with my mother and brother. And, I was late. They kindly agreed to disappear for the day, and I did not even introduce them to David that time. I was anxious to see him, especially because I was late and he’d been waiting for around an hour. I remember approaching the fountain in the bright sun, and seeing him sitting there wearing the maroon shirt that I loved, with his hair neatly brushed back and his legs stuck out, wearing shiny black shoes and reading a volume of Shakespeare. And he jumped up and gave me a hug and we met up with my friend Anne and talked with her for a bit before heading downtown to spend the day wandering around.

We ended up at the parliament buildings, laying on the grass and watching the clouds and talking and snuggling and enjoying the sun and salt air. And I remember turning over and, quite shyly, giving David five kisses. And he looked back at me, and smiled, and said “I love you”. And the rest of the day passed in a blur—I know we went for thai food, I know we ended up snuggling under a tree by a park until my mum came to pick me up, but everything centered around that moment. I was just so amazed that he would say that after less than a month of dating, and after only about 12 or so days of being in the same city while a couple. I said “I love you too”, and then spent the next month or so worrying about what that meant.

We managed to see each other about every 2-3 weeks that summer, and the times we were not together we wrote letters back and forth and talked on MSN or email. We didn’t call each other once. I have many fond memories—spending the nights star gazing in Port Alberni, where you can actually see the sky; listening to Delerium in my room; spending days in Victoria going to various festivals and exploring the downtown; the day we spent at Rathtrevor with my family, having a bbq and enjoying the beach. I know that one of David’s favorite memories is when Tara and I drove out to Tofino where David, Nigel, and Jesse had hitchhiked, to visit them and spend the day. It was such a lovely surprise, and my cousin was so kind to do it. I have other memories as well, in particular lighting numerous candles at both Notre Dame and St Andrew’s at the feet of the Blessed Virgin, praying for help and guidance. I did not want to presuppose the end result of this relationship, but was caught up in so many conflicting emotions and various anxieties. Much as I hated being away from him all summer, I do not regret this time as it allowed us to get to know each other intellectually without any distractions. I believe my prayers were answered.

One event of that summer really stands out for me for making a solid foundation for our relationship. I’d managed to get some time off in May, including Mother’s Day. Tara was in town, and kindly offered to drive me to Nanaimo so that I could save money by catching the bus from there. We ended up being late and I missed the bus, so I was stuck in Nanaimo for an additional two hours, waiting and worrying because David was out with his family and I couldn’t get him on the phone to tell him I was going to be late. This was the day I was supposed to meet his family for the first time as well. I had gone to The Foundry to kill time and slammed back a gin and tonic.

I finally made it to Victoria, and remember stepping off the bus and literally into David’s arms. He was wearing this incredibly soft leather jacket, and he kissed me on the corner of the highway and it was just so surreal. I think we stopped to eat at Romeo’s, but I may be confused with another time. Either way, it was around 7pm and all I’d had to eat was Mother’s Day brunch and liquor, and possibly pita and hummous. We went to his place, where I met his family and we stayed up talking to them until midnight. Because I was late getting to Victoria I hadn’t had much time with David alone, and he had to work the next day and then we were going to Hannah’s birthday party. So he took me upstairs to his room, which I’d ousted him from for the two nights, and we ended up staying up all night talking, and at one point dancing. So, by the next day, I had had no sleep and little food. I went downtown and killed time, both alone and with friends, because David was at work.

The plan was that I would go to the thai restaurant with Hannah and friends and David would meet us there and the whole merry troop would go back to her place. I was slowly becoming more awake as the evening went on. We went to Hannah’s, where she poured me a glass of this very potent, very delicious, blackberry(?) wine that she had in the fridge. And we hung out there until I judged it was time to leave for purposes of busses.

But the bus was slow to show, and I am impatient. And as most of you know, I tripped on the sidewalk and my backpack flipped over my back and hit my head, driving my face into the cement and breaking my glasses. I happen to be blind without my glasses. I also happen to become clear-headed and free from all anxieties in a crisis. Hannah lived close to the place I rented, where my landlords had let me keep my things all summer and to which I had a key. I knew that in my possessions I had a glue gun, and as my frames were plastic I could probably glue them back together. So I promptly took off for “home”, with David attempting to keep up with me. At one point he made me stop at the 7-11 where my appearance elicited cries of shock and dismay from the customers, and David reassured them that he had not hit me (I found this incredibly amusing, he did not). We got some napkins and attempted to clean up my face, as I was bleeding and covered in gravel, but I don’t think we were that successful. To this day I feel bad for my landlords, who happened to be home and who weren’t expecting me, and who certainly weren’t expecting me to show up bleeding on their doorstep. They tried to get me to stay the night, but I was determined that I wanted to go back to David’s. So I glued my glasses together and they kindly gave us a ride back.

When we got in Julia promptly took over and whisked me upstairs to patch me up. I was so grateful to finally be in the hands of someone who wasn’t fretting over me but was able to just get bandages and antiseptic and clean me up and leave it at that. I then went into David’s room, but now that I had been taken care of the lack of sleep and food of the last couple of days caught up with me. David was sitting on his bed, waiting to say goodnight to me, and I just remember being worried that I had a concussion and how he offered to sit up with me for a while just to make sure. And I remember him holding me in his arms and the immense feeling of safety and security and trust that went with that. And I knew, then, that this was someone I could trust to take care of me, someone I could feel safe with. And, Tara, I actually think that was the first time I cried in front of David, because I was in pain and half-blind and exhausted…and it was just so secure and I remember feeling that, as long as he was there, I did not need to worry.
We’ve been together for almost five years, and I think I’ve probably devoted more to the first year of our knowing each other than I will to 4.5 years of our relationship. It is not that the rest of this time has been unimportant, but just that that first year was the beginning of many [very wonderful] changes in my life and my perception of the world, my future plans…life in general. It wasn’t all David, of course, and there are many things left out of this story because it is the story of us, not me. But what that year really gave me was the courage to take risks, and to do things that I would not have done previously because they didn’t fit with certain Christian notions of the world trendy in various circles I had contact with, or which had been prevalent when I was a teenager. It was also the beginning, or speeding up, of me slowly breaking down many of the emotional barriers I’d put up—maybe this is just counseling jargon, but it expresses what I mean. In order to love someone, I had to let myself begin to feel in a positive way and I had to allow myself to trust another human being (which is so hard)…

And on that note, I have to wake up in six hours to go to a conference. So, I end here for the night.

This is was my attempt at taking a picture of myself for David. I gave him the second one, in which I'm looking at the camera, but I liked the way my hair fell in this one! So, sometime in the summer of 2004.


  1. Congratulations Leanna (and David)!... so happy that you added us a a follower because now I can read your blog. (actually attempt to read it because my David (2 1/2) is wanting his tern on the computer to watch little people) but I know you are here and I will catch up on some reading when David is sleeping and my husband is working late. So happy for you in this excitting time of being engaged. Love, Melissa

  2. Oh man, I totally forgot about when you fell after my birthday party. :,( I'm so glad you had David there to take care of you that night. I remember that whole summer well - the way you were gradually getting to know each other and be comfortable with the idea of no longer being single. I can't believe that so many years have passed since then and so much has happened.