No, this isn’t the beginning to country song, that is absolutely how it happened. One late Arizona Autumn evening, clear nighttime skies, a baby blue Ford pick-up, and two kids who had no idea what was about to hit them.
Do you ever look back at one decision that you made, with total wonderment and disbelief at how it amazingly transformed the entire rest of your life?
Although Cory and I went to the same elementary, middle, and high school we never became friends until senior year. We knew of each other, I even spent some time with his family as I was friends with his older brother Tyler, but we had never spent time alone.
Senior year of high school, I had been healing from a broken heart. I had falling in love with my best friend and we ruined our friendship trying to see if it could be something more. I had lost my best friend. I had spent the summer making my plans for life after high school. I traveled to where I wanted to go to Bible college and spent a week horseback riding, sleeping outside, and reading scriptures in Spokane, Washington. I was decided, I was going away to college. I thought about how I had tortured myself the year before, so I made another resolution. Senior year was about me, I didn’t want to date, meet anyone, and above all things did not want to fall in love again. (Funny how life gives you what you wanted when you no longer are searching so hard for it).
My resolve broke not three weeks into the school year. After a casual discussion in the band hallway with Cory (yes, we were in the marching band), I felt something…magnetic…between us. It wasn’t love, but a connection. As much as I would argue against it, my heart won over my brain without me fully knowing what was happening. The next thing I remember is my hand holding the telephone, as I dial Cory’s home telephone number and ask if he would like to go to the movies with me. Some resolve on it being the year of me, huh? I don’t even remember thinking about calling him, it just sort of happened.
So I’m standing in his kitchen before the movie, and I realize, I just asked a boy out on a date. I begin to freak out. I don’t want to be on a date. I don’t want to go through this mess again. And just before I start hyperventilating Cory’s brother Tyler walks into the kitchen. Always having a purely platonic friendship with Tyler I looked at him as the solution to the mess I had got myself into.
“Tyler!” I almost proclaimed, “We’re going to the movies, would you like to come?”
“Sure, what are you going to see?” he asked.
How had I not thought of this already… I recall seeing a movie releasing with Jet Li and decide that would both secure Tyler coming along and that this was not a date. Cory would recall for years how confused he was at this moment….
We made it safely to and back from the movie without any complications. I was ready to go home when Cory’s mother thought it would be nice if he walked me out to my truck.
… Before I could really process what was happening, we were outside and Cory jumped into the back of my pick-up. He held out a hand for me like Aladdin just before the magic carpet scene, and for whatever reason I decided I would trust him. My heart beating out of my chest, my belly full of butterflies, the two of us in the back of my pick-up with millions of stars above us, and with all this beauty around us, Cory turns to me. “I bet you a dollar I won’t kiss you.”
“huh?” I say confused.
But without skipping a beat Cory’s hand quickly brushed across my cheek, and buried itself in my hair. He brought his lips within a centimeter of mine. His other hand tucking my hair behind my ear. Happy chills ran along my arms, as a briefly recall trying to figure out what to do with my hands. Cory closed the space between our lips, and kissed me softly, completely, and more passionately than I had ever been kissed. My hands eventually found their rest place on his chest, and when we finally parted Cory gave me that famous cheesy grin, you know that one I married him for, and laughed.
“Best bet I ever lost.” He said within his hearty laugh.
And that was it. That would be the moment that would shape my forever. I no longer had a choice of what I wanted for the school year, there was no more battling between my brain and my heart. My heart had won. As scared as I was to love again, in the coming weeks, I found myself falling more deeply and fantastically into love than I had ever knew existed, I had only dreamed I could love like this.
Cory and I were marvelously in sync. This was better than all the romances I grew up watching, because unlike Noah and Allie from the notebook, Cory and I didn’t argue. Our passion was in our playfulness. We could catch each other’s eyes across a crowded room and then find each other in the hallway to steal a kiss.
10 years later, he still can kiss me in a way that makes me forget anyone else but us had ever existed.
And I think back on that moment that changed everything…and remember that it all came down to that pick-up truck.