In honor of Valentine's Day I figured I would finally get around to posting the rest of our story. Actually, its the middle of our story. (Warning: this is a little long) People assumed after I posted the story about the day we met that we had been dating ever since then. But that wasn't the case. Here's what really happened....
Freshman Year 2000
G.I. Joe was timid as a newborn deer around me and often left a conversation mid-sentence.
By the end of that school year we were both dating other people but that lead to us becoming friends.
Sophomore Year 2001
The Twin Towers fell and G.I. Joe made the decision to join the Army as soon as he graduated.
He didn't approve of the guy I was dating, which gave me endless satisfaction. When things would go bad in that relationship I would cry on G.I. Joe's shoulder.
I broke up with "Wrong Boyfriend #1" in hopes that G.I. Joe would finally see me as more than just a best friend.
Junior Year 2002
Wrong Boyfriend #2 comes into the picture when I once again need to get G.I. Joe's attention.
Wrong Boyfriend #1 randomly stops by our school or places I frequented, which gave me a reason to get G.I. Joe to walk me to my car every afternoon.
Rumors begin to fly that our relationship was, um, much more "adult" than it actually was. To salvage my reputation G.I. Joe stopped speaking to me most days at school. Reputation barely survived, and I left each afternoon in tears from his rejection.
After months of this one conversation turned our lives around: we stood outside after youth group in the pouring, cold rain and realized we weren't willing to stay away from each other.
G.I. Joe started leading a weekly student Bible study which only made me fall harder for him. He was the ideal spiritual leader for my future family. I knew for sure then that I wanted to marry him.
During a summer youth group trip to Philadelphia we stayed up till the early morning hours talking, without the pressure of Wrong Boyfriend #2 or the usual gossip mill. We were free to be "us." That's my happiest high school memory.
Senior Year 2003
Our classmates (and teachers) were growing tired of our "No we're just friends even though we act like an old married couple" routine.
Wrong Boyfriend #2 was almost out of the picture but in a petty act of immaturity I decided that if G.I. Joe didn't want me, I would just settle.
I manipulated Wrong Boyfriend #2 into completely changing who he was so he might one day make a somewhat-almost-a-little-bit decent husband.
By the end of the year G.I. Joe and I had learned to live in our awkward state. I'll just say this...we have Spring formal pictures of us where G.I. Joe is on one side of me and Wrong Boyfriend #2 is on the other. It was not "abnormal" for G.I. Joe to be on our dates.
Summer and fall of 2004 we didn't talk much. I was busy at Bible College and he was getting ready for Basic Training. Just to be a little mean and get a reaction I called up G.I. Joe out of the blue that November. He was excited to talk but I told him I just wanted another guy's cell phone number.
January 2005: G.I. Joe left for Basic Training without saying goodbye. I was sure we'd never see each other again, and cried for about a week over that.
May 2005: After 2.5 years of pointless dating, Wrong Boyfriend #2 and I had a very messy break-up. I mourned the loss of his friendship and wondered if anyone out there would ever make me feel the way G.I. Joe used to.
Later that month G.I. Joe came home from Basic....looking for me. He heard about the break-up and was finally ready to come clean about his feelings.
Okay, that's not really what actually ended up happening. Just like I was mean to him, he decided to see how much I was into him. He made up a fake girlfriend and talked about her constantly. "Girlfriend doesn't like regular ice cream. Only soft serve. I have to take her to McDonald's anytime she wants ice cream. Its all because of this time her mom bought..." Blah Blah Blah. I listened to that garbage for two whole months. We'd talk on the phone every single day, sometimes till 4 in the morning. He would take me out at least 3 times a week so I started questioning if he was lying about the other girl or just the world's worst biggest sleeze.
June: The Iraq deployment was hanging over us like a dark cloud. One night on the phone he told me he couldn't get serious about any girl because that just wouldn't be right. He didn't want someone to be broken-hearted if something happened to him over there. I lost it on him. I yelled at him for 20 minutes straight...if you want to know the gist of it look up the lyrics to Heart's "What about love?"
July 2nd, 4:51 AM: I received a text message that said the following word for word..."Wanna make good on something a long time coming? Me belonging to you, and you belonging to me."
Sometimes I ask God, "WHY?" Why did we spend those years feeling tortured by our feelings for each other and expressing that in such childish ways? G.I. Joe always reminds me that God wanted us to have the best foundation possible. That's something we wouldn't have had if we just started dating when we met. We had the fortune of being friends first. That means we saw all sides of each other, the good, the bad, and the manipulative girl with killer eyelashes. Those years we were friends only served to sweeten our bond. We needed the ups and downs so that once the Army got a hold of our lives we'd be what we are today: best friends, soul mates, and Valentines for eternity.