My Love Story Chapter 21 ~ Mixed Emotions

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{If you are new to my love story, start here. To remind yourself of the last chapter, click here.}

As I flew across the world from Egypt to the United States at the end of my 7 week adventure, I felt a peace. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next in my life, and I was kind of excited about the clean slate ahead of me.

As the airplane touched down on American soil, my study abroad friends joined me in singing (loudly for the entire plane to hear) America the Beautiful. It felt good to be HOME.

I landed in Utah to stay there for a few days with my roommates, gather my stuff, then head to Houston for the rest of the summer. Amy and Hali picked me up at the airport. I had given them a play by play of the entire love affair with Matthew in previous emails, and they already knew that it was over, too. I was excited to just hang out with them, and forget about the whole thing.

roommates and friends

When we got back to the apartment, we had a delicious American meal: chicken and broccoli, with Sam and C.J. joining us. It was fun to share stories with the boys of my adventures, too. I felt carefree and relaxed–it felt so good! I knew that all of them knew what was going on with Matthew and I, and I was grateful that they didn’t ruin my happiness at being in the states with peppering me with questions.

I hadn’t checked my email in over a week, so Amy and I took a stroll up to campus so I could log in at one of the kiosks. I was pretty surprised to see FOUR emails from Matthew waiting for me. Honestly, I was shocked. Why. On. Earth.?

To say those messages were filled with emotions and begging would be an understatement. I was honestly confused. I thought that peace and my being “over it” was a sign that it was truly over. I actually laughed in bewilderment, because I really hadn’t thought about him much in the past week with all of my globe trotting.

I walked away from reading those messages truly confused in my heart as to what I felt. Was I really ready for it to be over, or was I just agreeing with him when he said he had doubts?

After relaying everything through shocked words to Amy,  I visited with my wise soon-to-be-married friends Chris & Laurie. (I took this engagement picture of them before my trip)

They knew us both, and as I laid on the couch–therapy style–and told them everything, they finally concluded that I can’t make a decision all based on an email relationship. We had to see each other again to really know how I feel. Chris said, “If he’s worth it, I need to find out.”

Great. What does that mean? I was headed back to Texas for 2 months, and he was in California.

As if talking to Amy, Chris & Laurie wasn’t enough, I then got the opinion of Sam.

Sam, my ex…and also the younger brother of Matthew. He knew me well…and knew him well…and of course had an opinion.


I needed to grab a few things at the store, so he drove me. He bought a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, and we went to sit by the Provo River to chat.

He’d only heard about what was going on through Amy, and I proceeded to tell him everything. Then mentioned my current uncertainties and that I honestly wasn’t sure how I felt at that moment. I felt numb!

Sam listened, offered advice, and then he told me how I should just let Matthew come visit me in Houston. I felt bad about having him spend the money to fly out to see me, when I wasn’t sure my heart was in it anymore. Sam said not to worry about that–he was making plenty of summer money.

Sam told me his stories about him hanging out with a certain roommate of mine while I was abroad, and looking forward to the girl on a mission coming home at the end of the summer.

I left feeling so grateful for my friendship with Sam, and wished I had a birds eye picture of us sitting by the Provo River drinking sparkling cider. That conversation turned things around for me.

I was still surprised at how badly he wanted Matthew and I to work out.


When we got back to the apartment complex, I decided I need to have a chat on the phone with Matthew–no more emails!

It was nice to hear his voice. I was honest and told him I just wasn’t feeling it anymore, but he was insistent that he wanted to come visit me in Houston in two weeks, and would buy the ticket that day if I gave the “go ahead.”

He promised there would be no expectations, no decisions needed to be made then. He understood my frustrations and current state of confusion.

I was surprised at how confident he sounded.

This was new to me.

Once I said he could come, we chatted and laughed like old times on the phone.


When I hung up, my roommates and I concluded we needed one last hoorah. I was flying to Houston in 2 days, and in a few weeks, they were graduating BYU and moving back home to the midwest. When would I see them again?

Camping. Lets go camping, someone spontaneously thought up.

So we threw some marshmallows and sleeping bags into Hali’s car and set off on an evening adventure!

We were pretty pleased with ourselves that we camped on our own. We may have roasted pop tarts over the fire on hangars for breakfast, but we roughed it in nature!


Amy and Hali had to work the next afternoon, and I spent several hours alone–which I hadn’t done in a LONG time! It felt good to be left with my own thoughts, and I took the time to study my scriptures to get some clarity as well.

One of my friends reminded me of a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland entitled: “Cast Not Away Therefore your Confidence” and I pulled it out to study as well.

In summary, the talk references the temptation to retreat from a good thing. In reference to personal revelation about a matter, he says, “If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now.”

It’s a great article on not doubting yourself, and gave me a great amount of strength, that I needed to pursue this thing with Matthew. One. Last. Chance.


That evening for dinner, my girls and I visited Sam at the Italian Restaurant he worked at.

Italian Restaurant

Once we all got home, Sam, Amy, and I went for a drive. Sam continued to encourage me to have Matthew come visit, and said he felt confident that everything was going to work out with Matthew and me. He then jokingly asked me if I ever practiced writing, “Kristen Duke.” Ha! I said I was very superstitious that way, and that I’d never even said it out loud!

The next morning, my awesome friends: Sam, Amy, & Hali drove me an hour and a half from Provo to Ogden to my grandparents house, so I could stay for a day before flying home to Texas. On our way there, we visited  Temple Square, and watched the movie Legacy about the Mormon Pioneers.

salt lake city

When they dropped me off, being silly, it made me happy to have this last visual….and sad because everything would be different now. Amy & Hali wouldn’t be there when I came back. I waved profusely as they drove away.

goodbye to friends

It was June 24th, and I got an email from Matthew saying he got a ticket to meet me in Houston over the July 4th holiday.

I felt uncertain, anxious, and starting to creep in was maybe a smidgen of excitement.



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