“This is so good. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Like a good romance novel, only this tale is true.” ~ Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife.
Here are -the final – Chapters 11 and 12 of An Uncommon Love: Our True-Life Love Story. If you’re new here, you can catch up with Chapt. 1, Chapt. 2, Chapt. 3, Chapt. 4, Chapt. 5, Chapt. 6, Chapt. 7, Chapt. 8, Chapt. 9, and Chapt. 10.
Falling For Him – All Over Again
I mean, clearly the guy is in love with her! (Can’t she see that?)
That was the problem: I couldn’t see it.
Maybe I should have and looking back now . . . ? Well, I might have to admit there were a few clues.
But then again, you’ve had the advantage of an inside peek in the guy’s head. He’s shared with you what was going through his mind. Racing through his heart.
Not me. I didn’t have access to those silent italicized conversations that you’ve been able to read.
I only had this very polite guy who didn’t talk about his feelings. Or his future. Or, more importantly, our future together.
I only had the man who shook my hand and wanted to be friends.
Except I wasn’t looking for a new friend. I mean, I was glad we were becoming such good friends and all, but . . .
I wanted more than that.
A lot more than that.
I wanted to become his wife.
I believed with all my heart that this was what God intended for us . . . but what if God hadn’t told him that? Or worse, what if He had, but Matthew didn’t want to listen.
So after he abruptly left me at the end of that romantic and tragic evening up at Timberline Lodge, I walked to my room, shut the door, and cried myself to sleep.
But don’t worry, I woke up the next morning renewed and with fresh resolve.
Yes, a good cry and a good night’s sleep provided a better and more mature perspective. A little more sophisticated and refined approach to the situation.
And it went something like this: Forget this guy.
Drop him. Get lost. Hit the road. Vamoose. Take a hike. Goodbye.
You get the idea, don’t you?
Not looking for a friend, buddy. And if you’re one of those “forever young” kind of guys? Good for you, but I’m not settling for my always-the-bridesmaid status. No, thank you!
So you can just run along.
Hopefully, you can understand then why I decided I would not go to lunch with him on my last day in town. No more romantic palsy-walsy lunches with this guy (okay, perhaps a slight contradiction in terms).
Don’t try to take me in with your lovely gifts of perfume, roaring fireplaces, and sweet conversation.
I was done.
Saying Goodbye to the Man in the Suit
I called Linda to let her know that I would not be there for my Last Lunch with Matthew. No apologies or explanations.
Just. Not. Coming. In.
A very short conversation. Asked if she’d kindly relay the message to her boss.
She called me back a few short minutes later.
She said that I “had” to come in. Urgent and pressing. Like it was some kind of moral obligation or national crisis. She brought the pressure down from a side I’d never seen of her.
I simply must come in for lunch.
Fine! I will come.
But my mind was made up. My heart and mind were made of steel. Cold, icy steel. No more falling for this kind, handsome, gentleman stuff.
Speaking of “new sides”? Matthew was about to see a “new side” of me.
And so it was that we went to lunch together on that final day.
To his credit, he tried to keep the conversation going by asking questions—to which I replied with basic monosyllabic answers. Words like “yes” . . . or “no.” Occasionally throwing in a “maybe” for a little variety. But I wasn’t giving this guy anything.
He definitely had his work cut out for him.
I figured he’d be exhausted at the end of this arduous lunch, so I was rather surprised when he suggested we go for a hike after we were finished eating.
Caught off guard, I protested: “But you’re wearing a business suit.”
He countered, “I can change.”
“But you have to go back to work.”
His reply, “I’m taking the afternoon off.”
After about 3 more rounds of that nature, I ran out of excuses and found myself agreeing to go on a hike with him.
(And apparently losing my nomination for my role as The Ice Princess. Drat!)
Matthew quickly whipped up a plan that involved swinging by his apartment for him to change into casual clothes and then over to my parents’ home where I would change mine.
I don’t know what I expected, but being a “bachelor’s apartment” I guess I thought it would be messy, mismatched, and, well, bachelor-like. But it wasn’t like that at all.
He had attractive and matching furniture. Neat and clean. Tasteful. Lovely art on the walls.
Plus a bookcase packed with an extensive and gorgeous set of books.
Ah, books. My other love.
I felt myself weakening.
So while he went to change in the other room, I lovingly handled volume after volume.
History, classics, Christian, humor, biographies. So many books, old and new. I recognized a number of my own favorites and spotted a few I’d hoped he’d lend me someday . . . .
Did I just say someday?
And when he emerged in his t-shirt and Levi’s (*small swoon. Hold steady), that’s where he found me.
Lost in the beauty of all his books.
And falling for him.
All over again.
He Loves Me
I caught my breath as he joined me on the love seat where I had been sitting.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but there isn’t a whole lot of room on a love seat. It’s quite a cozy little place. For two. And did I mention that it was a love seat . . . ?
Yes, well, and so it was.
He cleared his throat. And then he began . . . .
Something about how much he’d enjoyed the time we’d spent together the past week. How he was going to miss me. And how he wished I never had to leave . . .
I’m not sure if he said anything more after that, but it didn’t really matter.
He loved me.
And I found myself both thrilled and embarrassed all at the same time. Blushing like a young school girl.
I looked up, barely able to believe the love that was now so evident in his beautiful blue eyes.
Then I stared down at the stack of books in my hands, wriggling in happy discomfort, and teased him a bit, “Well, I’d be more comfortable talking about your books.”
It was all so new and exciting and wonderful!
Neither of us said a word as we made the 15-minute drive over to my parents’ home. We didn’t need to. We had the rest of our lives to talk and share our hearts.
For now, only one thing went repeatedly through my head: He loves me. I can’t believe he loves me, but he truly loves me.
Our real-life love story was about to begin . . .
At the End of the Day: Love
by Matthew L Jacobson
Before the green apartments near Sunset Park in Gresham came into view the frustration/embarrassment of the evening’s end found equilibrium with other thoughts that eventually won me over.
It WAS a great evening . . . nothing changes that. And, there’s still tomorrow.
Yes, tomorrow – Lunch with Lisa. It couldn’t come soon enough.
I fell asleep that night somewhere on the road travelling through time, replaying various moments from the best evening I could remember. “The Plan” was still yet to be realized but that’s okay.
Tomorrow I would stand up and remove any remaining ambiguity (seriously, could there be any?).
The Last Lunch
A light step carried me into my office that momentous morning. Well, certainly it was destined to be momentous, wasn’t it?
“Good morning, Linda,” I smiled.
“Well, good morning, Sir. Looks like you’re getting off to a good start today.”
“Couldn’t be better. Lunch with Lisa,”
“I see,” she said with the pleased air of someone whose plans were going swimmingly.
“Linda, I have a lot to thank you for. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Lisa.”
“She’s a wonderful person. I just knew God wanted the two of you to meet.”
“Let me know when she arrives . . . supposed to be here at 11:30.”
When the office door closed behind me, something unanticipated (but perfectly predictable!) happened to Time. With less willingness to stir than frozen molasses, the seconds begrudgingly moved around the face of the clock, turning minutes into hours.
Will 11:30 ever arrive?
Abiding by the universal axiom that ‘Men in Love do Nothing’ I ambled from my desk to the bookshelf and back again until the carpet threatened to cut a path between the two.
And, another thing . . . people greatly underestimate the discomfort of expensive office chairs to a man in love, waiting. Getting settled was out of the question.
Just then, a knock came through the door. I smiled to myself . . . finally 11:30!
“Come in. Linda. Hey, what’s wrong?” A grave expression clouded my assistant’s typically cheerful countenance.
For a cold moment Linda looked at me before almost whispering,
“Lisa isn’t coming for lunch.”
“She called. She’s not coming.”
“She didn’t say. She just said she’s not coming for lunch today.”
Not coming? What does that mean?
I stared at Linda, gathering my thoughts from the brink of fear.
“You’re wrong.” I announced confidently. “Lisa is coming to lunch because you are going to convince her to come. Call her back and tell her everything is arranged and I am expecting to take her to lunch, as we planned.”
“But, she already said no!” Linda protested. “What am I going to say to her?”
“Not sure.” I said, unhelpfully. “But, one thing is certain. We are going to lunch together, today. So, please go, call Lisa and let her know. We can postpone until 12, no later.”
“I don’t know what to say. What am I supposed to say?” she pleaded.
“I don’t know what you’re going to say either. You’ll think of something. Just get her here.”
Linda backed out of the office, mouth open, ready to object but knowing there was no use.
That call was going to be made!
Moments later, she returned . . .
“Of course she is.” I agreed. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You should trust me on these things.”
Linda rolled her eyes, shook her head, and headed back to her office thinking, I’m not sure what.
Internally, a great sigh of relief dissipated through my pores. For all my outward confidence and certainty, I wasn’t sure how that phone call would go.
If only I could get her here I could win her over and now, she was coming! Whew!
The Ice Princess Arrives
As the clock prepared to strike 12, I became aware of an atmospheric change in my office. Having been raised in British Columbia and having spent several years on the Yukon border, I had had much experience with Arctic breezes.
Before the door to my office began to open I could feel it, literally. The chilly fingers of resistance pushed away everything warm, inviting and natural. Then she appeared, like a statue of frozen steel, her eyes clear as ice and twice as cold. “I’m not doing this anymore” wafted into and covered everything in the room.
Wow, major change. But what changed from last night? I’m positive she would have accepted my kiss if things . . . if things turned out differently.
I like a challenge.
Seriously, I’m going to enjoy this, I told myself.
“Hello! It’s so great to see you again. Ready for lunch?” I beamed. It’s just a matter of time. I’ll win her over.
“I’m not really hungry but, if you want to go, that’s fine.”
What? Never mind, it will be fine. Just keep the conversation moving.
But that was the trouble. Keeping a conversation going requires more than one person and no matter what I did, said, suggested, or how I queried, expressed interest, asked about this or that . . . nothing. Frozen steel, as it turns out, is basically unresponsive and just barely polite (which is being generous).
For all my initial amusement at this façade of disinterest, I began to sense that something deeper was at work. I knew Lisa had been to college. Had she majored in the art of dead-end conversation? Magna Cum Laude, for sure.
The forty minutes we had been together had yielded next to nothing and holding up both ends of any conversation eventually weighs down both parties until silence prevails.
What was going on?
This was bizarrely uncharacteristic. Lisa’s relational armor was impervious to every creative appeal.
I began to panic.
Look buddy, you better make some kind of a move because this train is headed for the canyon with no bridge.
What should I do?
After a more than awkward silence picking at our food, I blurted out,
“You like hiking don’t you?”
“Well . . . yes.”
“Perfect! Let’s go for a hike. You’d like to go for a hike (I had no idea where) wouldn’t you? Let’s go.” (It wasn’t as if I was asking her to spend the weekend on some remote island, or anything!)
“Ugh . . . I thought you had a job. What about that.”
“My job? Don’t worry. That can wait. We need to go for a hike. Look at the weather. You couldn’t find a better day for a hike, could you. Let’s go!”
And with that, I threw down some money and ushered Lisa to the car.
A Fool or a King
First we’d head to my apartment so I could change and then over to her parents where she could change.
Deep breath . . . Disaster averted.
I left Lisa in the living room while I changed clothes in my bedroom, knowing – and especially feeling it was “crunch time”.
The mirror looked back at me as I pulled on a tee shirt. Now’s the time. You have to declare your love for her. She’s leaving tomorrow. Tell her. Open up to her. Tell her how you truly feel.
It was settled. Before we left my apartment, it would all be out on the table.
Lisa Michelle, you are the woman I love.
Entering the living room, Lisa turned from the bookcase, a softer aspect than before greeting my return. Alive with the intensity of the one moment I had waited my life for I indicated the sofa with an open hand and we sat, facing each other. After a few moments of gathered thoughts I looked into her eyes, embarking on that no-return journey every suitor must travel alone, at the end of which he walks away a fool or a king.
“Lisa, there’s something I want you to know . . . something I have wanted to tell you ever since Monday evening. I’ve enjoyed these past few days like no others I have known, like I never knew I ever would. And, I’m so sorry you are to leave so soon. I’m going to miss you the moment we part. I wish you could stay longer.”
A deep breath rushed down into my nervous lungs. But, I did it. I had said it. Now, the moment of silence followed by the moment of truth . . .
Lisa smiled, sort of . . . somewhat . . . What was she going to say? How would she answer my declaration of love?
I leaned forward, slightly, eager to hear her every word.
And then she said it . . . that phrase that changed everything.
“Well, I’d be more comfortable talking about your books.”
I am never speechless. Nearly always I can think of something to say.
I could not.
I was dumbfounded.
Instantly, desperately, dangerously insecure. That ‘fool or King’ thing was ringing in my ears and not the “King” part.
WHAT? WHAT DID SHE SAY? MY BOOKS? SO, I MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE? Don’t worry, I know just what to do!
Have you ever noticed how wrong you can be about God’s will? One moment you’re cock-sure what God is doing and the next instant, the exact opposite emerges.
How could I have been so wrong, so completely, stupidly, blindly WRONG??
Of course, not a hint of the bloody riot going on in my chest and head was evident. No, I was too sophisticated for that.
“Great! Well, we should be going. If we’re not careful, the afternoon will get away on us.”
Matthew Leonard Jacobson, you are such a fool.
Absolute silence descended on the fifteen-minute drive to Lisa’s parent’s place. My heart was crawling out of my throat.
My books!! I had some serious recalculations to make in short order. For one thing how, exactly, did I wind up in a car having agreed to go on a hike with a woman who clearly can’t stand the sight of me? Just unbelievable!
What is she doing – staring out the window with that smug expression? So, you got your dig in . . . books . . . nice! Well, one thing is certain. There is no way on planet earth I’m going on a hike with her.
And with that, I conspired with my Pride to part from her . . . from this unbearably impossible, embarrassing situation for good, the moment we arrived at the next stop.
But, the instant we stopped, Lisa bounded from the car like a startled deer, yet all smiles and dancing.
Move fast, man!
We met at the front of the car in an odd juxtaposition to the night before when I so ardently wanted to kiss her.
“Lisa, I’ve been thinking. Things have been moving pretty fast . . . too fast, really and let’s be honest, we hardly know each other. So, I think it would be best if we didn’t go on this hike because we . . .”
“Okay, I’ll be down in a minute,” She smiled. Then, calling over her shoulder, “Just wait on the deck. I’ll be right down.”
“Wait . . . I . . . you . . .”
She completely ignored me. What? Hey, come back here!
I looked down, brow furrowed, attempting like some idiot savant to find a pattern among the randomly scattered gravel.
No, we are not going on this hike! She said she was more comfortable talking about my books. Well, sister, I’m not here to talk about books, okay? I’m outta here.
The glass door opening onto the deck slid to the side and Lisa bounced through the door.
“Okay, ready to go!” she beamed.
By now, clouds hung heavily on my brow. I’m caught between a woman who clearly doesn’t love me and some ridiculous interest to go on a hike. I don’t like the squeeze.
“Look, Lisa, I just think it would be better if we slowed way down from the pace we’ve been keeping. This hike isn’t the best idea I’ve ever had and . .”
“C’mon. Let’s just go for the hike.”
And with that, somehow she coerced me back into the car. How did this happen?
In defense mode . . . more accurately, pride defense mode . . . I can be ugly. And I was.
Comfortable? What that the operative word?
As we headed into the foothills toward the old logging road that would serve as the trailhead, I made full use of Lisa’s words to drive home my sarcasm in a twisted attempt to salvage my bleeding ego.
“So, Lisa, is the temperature in the car to your liking? I certainly wouldn’t want you to be . . . uncomfortable?”
“Hey, Lisa, look at that beautiful farm house. Of course, you probably wouldn’t be comfortable living in a house like that.”
“Well, what should we talk about? Might be kind of hard to find a topic that doesn’t make you uncomfortable.”
“How’s my driving speed? I’m just so concerned you remain comfortable.”
Etc., etc., etc.,
At the first few comments, Lisa laughed, trying to find the thread of the “joke” but before long, she began to realize the biting sarcasm’s intended target. By the time we arrived, I could see I had been victorious in my petty, squalid, little war. Her spirit was deflated.
My flesh, in full flourish embodied the Scripture, “In my flesh dwelleth no good thing.” It was all so very wrong.
But, that’s what hurting people do . . . they hurt people.
At the Forest’s Edge
There it was, the road we were to hike. By now, both of us wondered why we were there, walking up some random forest trail with someone who doesn’t want to be there.
In moments, a clearing opened its verdant arms before us where new saplings grew out of ancient tree stumps – fresh life from yesterday’s sacrifice. A stirring halfway across the meadow arrested our attention. Eight to ten deer, startled at our intrusion, bounded the entire length of the clearing, passing like spirits through trees at the forest’s edge.
We stood gazing after them, mesmerized by a moment that had instantly filled the space in which we now stood alone, and together, with the essence of transcendent beauty.
And suddenly, there we were face to face, hidden in the forest somewhere in the foothills of Mt. Hood, two spirits desiring, yet fearful of mingled fire.
In that moment, I marveled how we without any apparent effort or intention suddenly appeared facing one another, like apparitions, inches apart. How did this happen? And then, with calm, settled assurance, I knew again what I had known from the beginning.
With total sincerity and devoid of any hint of the sarcasm that had so lately soiled our communication, I said to this beautiful woman,
“Lisa Michelle, I know what I would like to do right now but I hesitate because, in all honesty, I have literally no idea whether or not you would be comfortable with it.”
There is a certain place into each other’s soul only lovers can see. While meeting my gaze into that expanse, she said,
“It’s your move.”
I leaned in to kiss the woman I loved.
Song of Songs
It was the worst kiss in the history of kissing.
Our teeth clunked together like two blocks of concrete. A burst of unrestrained laughter from us both rang through the meadow but soon gave way to a gentler attempt more in keeping with the Song of Songs.
“You know what this means, don’t you?” I asked, fear having fled with the deer, now confident of her response.
“Of course I do.”
We walked through the clearing holding hands, down the trail and to the car holding hands. Winding down the mountain road, we held hands. We couldn’t, didn’t want to, let go.
We still don’t want to.
And if, per chance, you happen to go somewhere with us today, you’ll not have gone far before you see me reach over and slip my hand comfortably into the waiting hand of my beautiful bride.
(Or maybe more rightly, “The Beginning”)
Matthew and I married a few short months later on a beautiful September Day in Portland, Oregon. We’ve been blessed with 8 children and a loving, lasting marriage for which we thank our God and Savior. We quietly celebrated our 22nd anniversary this year and hope for many more together. And, yes, we’re still holding hands.
We’ve often been asked to share this story of how we met and—while it is a wonderful love story—we always add that we’d have done a few things differently, if we knew then what we know now. We’ve encouraged our own children (and others) to consider waiting until marriage for their first kiss. For Matthew’s article on this topic, read Why Christian Kids Should Save Kissing (and other things) for Marriage. Another excellent article, Why “No” Kissing Before Marriage by Alison Wood. More on dating & courtship here: The Essential Do’s and Don’ts of Courtship and Dating.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love Your Husband: A Life-Long Journey of Learning to Love
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