After I told my mom all the details about the breakup, there was a long pause. Then she said with some emotion in her voice, “I just feel really strongly that there’s a reason you were supposed to date KK. It needed to happen. And I think there’s something else for you— right around the corner. I just do. And when it happens, there will be no confusion.” The tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened, partly because all the feelings were raw, and partly because I felt what she was saying. Moms give lots of advice and always say things like, “everything will work out for the best” because they’re supposed to, and it’s easy to blow off that kind of comforting because it’s so cliché. But something about this one simple reassurance rang true with me, in a spiritual way. It still hurt, but somehow I knew she was right.
The next few months were difficult for me. KK and I had a partnership in the Big Brother/Big Sister Program, and we continued having weekly visits with “our kids.” We were fairly comfortable with each other, yet it was awkward. Mostly for me. I still didn’t get what happened. We obviously still got along, and I could tell we were both still attracted to each other. There was a tiny bit of on-again, off-again, but usually with a restated “Oops. We’re supposed to not be together.” It just didn’t make sense.
In the meantime, I had several “opportunities” to go on dates with guys from my ward (congregation) at church. It was a singles-only congregation and there were several hundred of us in attendance, so it was, in theory, easy to meet and date new people. But as I would go out with these guys, they all paled in comparison to KK, which was depressing. I thought maybe my one good chance had come and gone. Anyway, there were a couple of them who were in hot pursuit, so to speak, but our interest levels were not mutual. I was at the avoiding-phone-calls and ducking-out-of-church-early stage in our “relationships.” It was uncomfortable.
The bishop of our ward wanted all his single members to date more and form relationships instead of just hanging out so much. (His name was Bishop Love. I’m not kidding.) Each Sunday night, we had “Ward Prayer” where we would all gather back at the chapel for a devotional, several announcements, and mostly socializing. The bishop asked two of my roommates to be in charge of Ward Prayer, and asked them to use it as a venue to encourage more dating. I overheard his discussion with them, and as soon as he left our apartment, I said “Why don’t you guys schedule something called a ‘Ward Date’ where different apartments get assigned every couple weeks to plan some kind of party or activity or event? Everyone in the ward is invited, but you have to bring a date. Then people will have to ask each other out.” We talked through all the details, felt like it might be a fun idea, and decided that, naturally, our apartment would have to host the first official Ward Date. And this rotation would all be announced and coordinated at Ward Prayer.
I asked some random guy that I had no interest in whatsoever to be my date. I had a gut feeling that as soon as the announcement was made, those two boys I was avoiding would run over and invite me, and I wanted to have legitimate plans already in place. My roommates dragged their feet a little bit about getting dates and I nagged them about it. (We were the hostesses after all.) My roommate Sarah had mentioned to us several times one guy she had met at church that she thought was really cute and nice.
Sarah and I had known each other since we were twelve years old; in other words, for more than half of our lives. We were in our sixth year together as college roommates. We had endured many social ups and downs. Sarah was a quiet, gentle type. I was more loud and careless. We were a good balance for each other. Anyway, it wasn’t often that she even mentioned her love interests, and she’d brought this guy up a few times, so I told her she should invite him. I’d never met him because I taught Gospel Doctrine Sunday School class at church, and when I taught I would get “in the zone,” and not pay much attention to who everyone was in the room. So anyway, I’d never seen or met the guy, but we all encouraged her to invite him to the ward date. She finally did, and he accepted. My two other roommates eventually got their act together and found a date, so we were all set for the big night. Homemade pizza and party games at our place.
The night came and we were excited as more and more couples showed up. It looked like it would be a success. Sarah’s date showed up and I met him. His name was Matt.
Coming next… Chapter 3: The Surprise