Tuesday, May 11, 2004


This is a fun little tale. Gather 'round.

When I was a sophomore at OBU, I fell in love with a girl. First of all, this shouldn't be too surprising, since I fell for a total of four girls while at OBU, only one ever returning my affections. Secondly, it shouldn't be surprising that I say I "fell in love." Being a person of great and dramatic feeling, I tend to fall all the way in love, even when the object of my affection is unaware or unresponsive to my great outpouring of feeling. (I could go into the difference between actual love and being "in love" at this point, but I feel certain that most of you are with me on that already. So we will move on.)

This girl, whom we will call Susie (although her name was Tiffany), was magnificent. She was fun, she was funny, she was kind and sweet-tempered. And she had a rock-solid faith in Christ. She was, what we called in my small Baptist college, "the total package." And I fell for her. Hard. Because she had all of the main qualities I was looking for in a girlfriend/potential wife.

And she was a stone-cold fox.

I told my roommate about my growing affection for her. He was encouraging, but not abundantly so.

A few months passed. I still felt rather strongly about her but had yet to make my "move", as the kids called it. Then she started talking about the whole "kissing dating goodbye" business that was so popular then. Undaunted, I continued in my mission to love her from afar and never tell her how I felt. I was not sure how this was supposed to let her know of my intentions, or overcome her newly-minted stance on male-female relations. But I was resolute.

Then the defining moment in this half-relationship came. My roommate Guido (whose real name was Trevor) invited everyone in the "gang" (group of friends, not to be confused with an exclusive, violent subculture utilizing ritualistic conflict and crime to create a self-perpetuating social order) to drive with him to his ancestral home in the far off land of Kansas City, Missouri. Although I had never been to Kansas City, and had oft heard of its marvels, I was forced by cruel, cruel fate to stay and work that weekend, at my menial occupation, washing other peoples' dishes.

The weekend progressed slowly, and finally everyone returned. We all ate at a local 24-hour dining establishment (Denny's) that night, and the group discussed the grand time they had on the journey.

But what caught my attention immediately was that there was--could it be?--some sort of spark betwixt Guido and the fair Susie. At first, I thought I was imagining things, but no, it was true. Susie and her friend...I can't think of a pseudonym, so we'll name her Shannon (as her mother did), went to the restroom, and I turned to Guido and said, "Look, man, if something is happening between you and Susie, it's okay...I'm cool with it."

Obviously I was lying. Any friend worth their salt would have seen that. I was trying to be Sydney from Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, willingly putting my head on the guillotine for the sake of my friends' happiness. But, of course, my dear friend, my compatriot, my blood-brother Guido would see this clearly. Surely he would not take me up on my offer.

"I'm glad you feel that way," Guido intimated. "Because I've been praying about it, and..."

It felt like a kick in the chest. Betrayed at every turn. Double-crossed by my friend-turned-rival, who had succeeded in stealing away the heart of the radiant Susie. I struggled to maintain composure. Susie and Shannon returned, and I continued my meal, pretending everything was roses. When all the time, my stomach churned, and my bread grew bitter to my tongue.

For a month, I suffered. Wallowed in the mire of depression. The Kansas City Incident was compounded on a handful of other personal tragedies, in which i was betrayed by several trusted colleagues. But the Kansas City Incident stood out as the worst of all.

Guido and Susie, following that dire prophet Joshua Harris' command, "courted" for about a month. Then, good sense burst through like sunshine. Shannon, selected as the mouthpiece of the "gang", told Susie that she kept Guido's company too often, to the exclusion of other people in her life. Susie relented. Susie and Guido parted ways, and Guido was heartbroken. I understood. I was sorry for him, but not as sorry as I might have been, had circumstances been different.

From that day forward, Susie recanted all talk of dating and courtship, consoling herself with the thin shawl of singleness, choosing the nun-like career of missionary work in far-off countries on other continents. She forswore all romantic possibilities, embracing the charge to be "married to her calling."

After she graduated, I did not see her for several years. Until last night.

She is well. She is home from the field. And she has met a young man, whom she loves very much. I suspect that she will marry him, and he will be blessed with her company all the days of his life. I spoke with her for a while, told her of my comings and goings, and she was pleased to hear of my good stead. And as I said goodbye to her, and walked away, there was only one thought in my mind:

She is STILL a stone-cold fox.

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