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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Courtship of Kendra Rushing

I tend to lean on the side of being oblivious to the obvious. Especially when it comes to relationships and dating and all of that stuff. When people would tell me in college that so and so liked me it was a total shock, complete and total shock. There was, after all, no way that they could like me. Even more to the point is the fact that I was totally afraid of the confrontation and potential rejection of approaching any girl and "asking her out."
The courtship of Kendra Rushing is simply a miracle. I have no idea how she stayed with me or even decided to marry me for that matter. Lord knows she had plenty of warning! Kendra and I became good friends as a result of having mutual friends and "running together." I had known of Kendra as she was a Dorm supervisor for the Dorm in which some friends of mine lived in. Every day she would come striding in, black wind pants with a cotton shirt--hair pulled up into a clip on top of her head. She looked tough-really tough. And she had this posse that followed. Usually three sometimes four girls tagging along right behind her. It was that way everyday. She noticed me too and thought I was a snob. I was actually very shy and awkward and tried to avoid socialization. I did stare at a lot of people and usually had a jaw dropped but that's not snobbery--it's sociology.
We were great friends and really became close. What I didn't know was that she was falling in love with me. I, on the other hand had not a clue. Karen Neel was my coach and my cattle prod in getting me to take the leap of faith. I resisted because I was totally comfortable with the way things were and didn't want what we had to change because I pursued something better. I tend to like doing the same thing and don't ever have to change. i amd a consumate creature of habit and do not stray from my routines at all. My friends and family can attest to my proclivity to not changing a thing.
"Will, Kendra really likes you and you need to ask her out. She'll say yes and you guys will have a great time." I was still licking my wounds from the last date I suffered and didn't really want to get a fresh taste of that nightmare again. "I just don't know, we are good friends I don't' think she likes me." This was the conversation for several months. Winter had come which meant Christmas break. I had bought Kendra a new outfit and was very proud of the purchase. I thought she would look great. Kendra came over to my condo to exchange gifts. She bought me a robe, matching sleeping boxers, and two pictures of her. I immediately was uncomfortable that she gave me a gift I would wear to bed and thought that to be terribly forward of her. The pictures on the other hand were beautiful--she was beautiful. I just stared at those pictures and realized that I did love her. And that I didn't want her to leave. I didn't want her in Brazil, but here at home.
I told Karen that I was going to ask her out after Christmas break. "I'm going to write her a note and give it to her so she can read it over break. We can go out when she gets back." "You can't send her a letter--that's crazy. You just need to call her. Besides when she comes back from break she is going to start getting ready to go to Brazil." "Brazil! three years what the heck." She couldn't go to Brazil. Now I really had to move. I didn't' move. Christmas break came and Kendra left for home. Karen stopped by the church where I was working and gave me a letter from Kendra. Talk about betrayal! I read the letter which revealed her affections for me and knew I needed to get in touch with her. I left for home and stayed with Lucy. I tried to call all Christmas break and never could get through or determine if I was actually calling the right house. Their answering machine was messed up and the message was all goofy. I tried and tried. I told my sister to save the phone bill in case Kendra didn't believe me. She agreed.
When we all got back to school we decided to meet at Harrigan's for a New Year's dinner. Kendra, Karen, and me.
We wouldn't have our first date until October 29th. It was her birthday and we were going to go out to eat and to a movie. Dinner was great, with really good conversation--nothing awkward. Then came the movie. We were going to see some really long movie like Little Women or something and had our snacks and drinks. When we walked into the theater we sat down and I put my foot up on the armrest in front of me because I have really long legs. The armrest fell off--great! Kendra just laughed it off and settled into the movie. I put my arm around her just as the movie started to show some affection. We had yet to hold hands, hug, or kiss. As the movie played on I became uncomfortable with my arm around her and tried to move it. Kendra had leaned against my sweater and trapped my arm. This is where awkward comes in. I didn't want to say anything to her for fear she would think I didn't want my arm around her, I didn't want to jerk my arm away because I was afraid she would think I didn't want my arm around her. What would I do? Suffer!
After about 15 minutes of excruciating pain she readjusted in her seat and gave me a window of opportunity to move my arm. My arm had fallen asleep and moved to the state where you feel as though it is 200 pounds and totally limp. I had full and complete dead arm. When i moved it to my lap it just flopped onto my leg and sat there all swollen and limp.
We didn't hold hands for about a month or two after that. Again we were at the movies. I had decided that tonight was the night I would hold her hand. I was a nervous wreck. My strategy went like this: Make sure that I am on the left side--I'm left handed and needed to have my dominant hand free.; About 1/4 of the way through the movie I would put my hand on my thigh wait about five minutes and slide my hand toward my knee; at the 1/2 way mark I would place a pinkie on her knee...wait...then place the whole hand on her knee. That was the point of no return. Everything went as planned. But disaster was about to strike. I had my hand fully on her knee and she has placed her hand on her thigh in close proximity to my hand but not on my hand. We were not holding hands. She clearly didn't want to hold my hands and I had been totally to forward. We were sure to break up because she thought that I only wanted her for her body. Come to find out her arm was too short and mine too long-- she couldn't reach my hand!
Two months later I decided I would kiss her. I had tried to kiss her on several occasions during the decision point, but just never did. She either got out of the car before I could do anything, or just didn't happen. We would sit in my car in the parking lot and talk for hours and hours upon end, sometimes until 3 and 4 in the morning. Sunday night was the night I decided to kiss her. What would the strategy be? How in the name of God do you kiss someone? I had seen it in the movies but never actually kissed anyone other than good bye. So many questions. We talked and talked. It was about 2 am and she said, "I really have to go. I have work in the morning. I'll see you tomorrow night." We had been seeing each other every day for about two months now. "Wait...Kendra...there's something I need to do...I mean...something I need to ask you...well....it's just that I really like you and I enjoy holding your hand, but I was wondering if.." SMACK! I had kissed her! I had made contact with her lips! She kissed me back. No slap to the face or pepper spray, but a soft kiss in return for my aggressive move. "I thought you would never kiss me!" "Well, I just didn't want to seem too forward." "Don't worry, you are the farthest thing from forward. Kiss me again." I called Lucy to tell that my virgin lips were no more. My four year old niece answered the phone, "well it's about time Unkie! What took you so long?" "Can I just talk to your Mom please." "MOOOM! Unkie kissed that girl finally!"
One of our favorite games to play during our courtship was hide and seek. She was a live-in Nanny for three precious kiddos and we spendt hours and hours together playing with them. Hide and Seek was fun because the kids would hide and we would hide--to kiss! Dirty and perverted I know, but kissing was fun.
We dated for a year. Then i asked her if she would be my wife to which she agreed. We were married in the middle of March and enjoyed a honeymoon in Vegas. Talk about Moses going to Sodom! I was out of place. What happened on our honeymoon will stay locked away between she and I for our hearts only. All I will say is that if you think Barney Fife and Gomer Pile were bumbling fools, they had nothing on the learning curve of our honeymoon!

2 comments:

Donna said...

Dear God William! Do you realize your college courtship was the equivalent of most junior high courtships?? Believe me, you've made that honeymoon learning curve painfully clear. Bless your prude, awkward, bumbling little self.

Tracy said...

i think its sweet you remember it all so clearly :-)and are retelling the story - that woman is a lucky girl