Love Story Chapter 3 ~ Timid Emails

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{For those that know me, and may be confused, I am not using my husband’s name-per his request. When he was a child, he always wanted his name to be Matthew, so that is what I have named him here;)}

If you are new to this story and need to get caught up, you can read the first two chapters here:

After saying goodbye to my roommates and new crush, Matthew, I headed straightway to the wedding of my big brother to Alayna. I had fun as a bridesmaid with her cute little sisters, and dubbed myself the unofficial photographer and shadowed their hired small town photographer and took candid shots with my point and shoot camera (her mom said she liked mine better–a spark of things to come). I took the picture on the left, and it was in their wedding announcement, then took the one on the right on the wedding day.

Me and my bro’s at the wedding.{I learned early on that pulling a face–such as this kissy face above-in pictures makes one’s face thinner looking}

A week after the Utah wedding, her family came out to Texas for their reception there.  My new “little sis’s” dyed my hair for the first time in my life–a lovely shade of red. I had fun bonding with them over our siblings marrying each other.


Watching my brother in newlywed love made me long for a love of my own even more.

After the wedding hoopla cleared, I got a summer job working in downtown Houston at my dad’s building.  He was a prestigious executive, but that didn’t stop us from commuting in his 10 year old red Nissan Sentra with broken A.C. If you know Houston weather in the summer at all, you will know that that was misery at it’s finest.  45 minutes each way. That first week, I kept asking my dad if he had gotten any emails from my friends at BYU, and he kept saying no (remember, I gave Matthew my dad’s work email because I didn’t have one yet).  I was bummed.  I thought for sure Matthew would email me–he told me he would.  I decided to set up my own email account:  krissybears AT hotmail DOT com.  My knickname to my family was krissybears, and I thought it would be fun. (Note to my younger self–don’t do the silly/fun email names, just use your name!)

My best friend from high school, Natalie, had been dating a boy from our Houston home town.  The older brother of a boy she dated in high school, from our church congregation.  Since we grew up in the same church family, this boys family was a part of our extended families.  We were all quite close–spent holidays together, etc. When she told me they were talking about getting married, it didn’t surprise me.  I had called it a months before when they went on their first date, though she thought there was no way it would happen. First my brother. Now her.  And I didn’t even get an email from the boy I was crushing on. What a blow!  Natalie was like a sister to me, and had been all through high school.  Though she was 6 months younger than me (a grade younger in school), I saw her as my equal in friendship. I felt blessed that she called me hers, and though we were apart most of that summer, I got to take her engagement pictures (with my point and shoot film camera) that summer.

{I have hundreds of pictures of Nat & I from our high school adventures (those stories are for another time), but this summer since she was away, this is all we’ve got}

I decided to set my pride aside and write Matthew a little email myself from my brand spankin’ new account.  Just a “hi, how are ya…life is fantabulous here in Houston…” you know, keep it completely lighthearted (instead of “I’ve been thinking of you every day since that lazer show in the sky, and I’m  heartbroken that you haven’t emailed me via my dad’s work email”). I then found out from my roommate Hali who was still back in Utah for spring term, along with Matthew, that he told her he tried to email me and it bounced back. That was enough for me to get up the nerve to write him. I don’t have the email I wrote him, but here is what he wrote back:

June 1, 1998


Hey there, how’s it going?! It was good to hear from you. I tried to write you a message about two weeks ago, but the adderss you gave me when you left, which I think was your dad’s home address, didn’t work. They sent it back to me saying that i wasn’t valid. Oh, well, I’m glad you wrote. Sounds like you’re doing really well at home and finding plenty to do. So you finally get to spend time with your brother, eh. Good for you. And you were called to be a Stake Missionary (at church), good for you. That would be perfect for you I think. How’s the job going? Everything is just groovy around here. I did a 10k run, and I won a Franklin Planner. Things have been a bit lively here, but that’s all I’ll say about it so you won’t miss it too much. Well, have a great week and enjoy being with your family and all the friends down there. Talk to you later.


Eeks!  Did Matthew Duke really email me?!?  I found myself daydreaming about him all summer. Our emails were very much the same as above. Two friends who just barely scratched the surface before the chasm of summer seperated us. Just 2 days after our first email exchange, I wrote this in my journal:

I am crazy!  Since I have nothing else to th ink about, I make things up in my head. I think I could marry Matthew, he is wonderful all around and if it works out, we could marry in December, then Natalie and I will get married at the same time! This is going to jinx me like it always does. Then I could possibly have a baby before 2000.  Well now that I’ve humored everyone (who was reading my journal?) Il’l get back to reality where I havee no one to love. Luckily, I have a good family.

I had emailed him about shin splits, and he said he was flattered I’d ask him about it. Secretly, I think I wanted him to know I was running (because he loved to run) and maybe hint that I’d be slimmer when we met again. We probably only exchanged about 7 emails all summer and no phone calls.

I had a busy summer with a few other crushes mixed in, but I still ran to the computer daily to see if Matthew wrote me. I tried to play it cool and wait a few days after he would write so I didn’t look overly anxious, but who was I kidding? I was anxious!  I lamented in my journal about how hard it is to try to control what I ate, and exercised trying to lose weight.

Though my brother and my bestest friend Natalie were otherwise engaged, I could have had a bummer summer, but I was still blessed to be surrounded at  home by 3 of my closest friends.  Oddly enough, the 3 of them weren’t really friends–so I had different adventures with each of them.

Emily and I dated best friends in high school, and that bonded us for life. Though those boys were in the past and on their missions, we spent a lot of time together that summer, and at BYU after that as well. Here is a copy of my scrapbook page that summer:

{Emily & I continue to be very close friends, though she lives in Virginia now. She and I with Natalie will meet every other year for a girls weekend, and I love to photograph her beautiful family. Read her blog here.}

My friend Nicole and I went to some church singles activities, and met up with some college grad boys, and decided to go on a little weekend trip to South Padre Island. I was mature enough, I could handle myself, and I’m grateful my parents saw it that same way. This was a new, big thing for Nicole and I, and though we didn’t “like” the boys we went with, I knew one of the boys had a crush on her. With both Natalie and Nicole, I always felt like the third wheel tagging along with the boys that liked them.  My girls were good to me, and never thought that at all, but I knew it. Rick (goatie) had the crush on my friend, and we had just met his friend Todd. We flew cheap tickets to South Padre Island, Texas where the water was BLUE!  We played in the water, got sunburnt, went dancing, went to a local church meeting on Sunday, and across the border to Mexico (the boys we were with spoke Spanish from their missions, so that helped).

It was a really fun adventure! {Nicole is still a close friend, and has dated some of the cutest boys from NYC to LA, but still looking for Mr. Right}

I actually did leave that weekend trip with a crush on Todd.  I visited him a few times after that, but nothing interesting every occured between us. I still had that boy Matthew in the front corner of my mind.

Travis was my other really close friend that I spent a good amount of time with that summer. He just got home from his mission to New York City at the beginning of the summer, and I wrote him the whole time he was gone. I loved writing letters to my missionary friends.  I had had a HUGE crush on Trav all throughout  our elementary school years. Our families were really good friends, then we lived apart for years, then we moved back. When we moved back and all through high school, Travis was  one of my best friends. The boy that I could talk to about anything–and I did. I always wondered if anything would spark with us, but it never did.  When he returned home from his mission that summer, we still had our deep friendship and that was it.   He was in-between my brother Ryan and I, and the 3 of us (with Natalie) did a lot together in high school.  So naturally, we took another trip together that summer with my brother Ryan, Alayna, and we all flew out to Boston.   Boston was a really great trip of having fun, and forgetting that I wanted to be in love.

Our friend Chris lived in Boston, and the 4 of us watched through an upstairs window as he had his first kiss with Alison–who he’d eventually marry (and I was their wedding photographer).

A few weeks after we got home, it was time to head back to BYU, and I was so excited. I had been running regularly with my little brother, had some fun adventures, built up my confidence, I was ready to date and fall in love.

Matthew and I would be living in the same apartments as before, and I was sure that things would spark right away. I couldn’t stop thinking about that California boy, and eagerly ancipated our reunion. After all, we’d kept in contact all summer with email, and though those emails were simply sharing stories, it was enough to get us started.  I just knew it.

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