My Love Story Chapter 12 ~ Valentine’s Day

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{If you are new here, and want to read my love story from the beginning, START HERE.}

The week before Valentine’s Day, things were looking good for Matthew and I. Every Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. my roommates, friends, and I gathered to hear the weekly devotionals held for the entire student body in the basketball gymnasium. On February 7th, we had just heard from President Thomas S. Monson (then 1st counselor), and I was on a spiritual high of happiness.  Even more delightful is that on the walk home, Matthew suggested that we stop off at a building on campus to chat.  We found some quiet steps away from the bustle of crowds, and he got straight to the point: he wanted to thank me for being patient with him, and understanding. He said he had been thinking a lot about “us”  and that he felt good, and ready to move forward. As we sat, he put his arm around me and grabbed my hand. After a while, I  really wanted our 2nd kiss to happen, but I wasn’t going to make it so easy for him this time. It didn’t happen then, but we did walk home holding hands, which was new territory for us. I think we can all agree that walking and holding hands was a much bigger deal than sitting and holding hands. I was hopeful that someone besides our roommates would see us–then people would KNOW. I wanted people to know, I wanted to scream it from the rooftops–this unreachable boy–was with me.

When I returned home just after midnight, my roommates clued me into the goings on with the other boys and them. Hali and Abbi reported to me that Sam (Matthew’s younger brother) had proclaimed, “I think Matthew is going to marry Kristen, and he thinks so too.” That inferred to me that Sam and Matthew had been chatting about “us” and Matthew told him that. Hmmm, interesting.

My girls and me:


The next day, we celebrated the birthday of our friend Alice. Matthew helped me with all of the preparations:  25 grilled cheese sandwiches and brussel sprouts. I had never before, nor since made brussel sprouts.  We had a fun day, and felt like boyfriend and girlfriend running errands and in the kitchen together. When most of the party go-ers left,  I rested my head on his lap so he could put ear drops in my ears from an ear ache I had. I blushed as he tugged my ear in varying directions to get the medicine all down. We were both a little unsure as to when to hold hands, and in front of the big group, we shied away from it. Even in front of our comfort group of roommates, it was tough.

Like most girls trying to impress a boy, I would show off a bit, or laugh extra hard with my roommates. Why is it that we think THIS is what gets a boys’ attention? When I was silly, and did something that impressed him, he’d proclaim, “Check YOU out…” and this made me blush, and he knew it because he’d get a little smirk on his face as I’d get embarrassed.

He made me a mix tape of his favorite piano music by John Schmidt. I knew what a mix tape meant–I’d made a few for boys of the past, and it only meant….love.  Late at night, when all the boys were kicked out of our apartments, I’d dance around proclaiming, “I’m in Loooove” as my roommates smiled on. I am grateful they were always so supportive and cared about my ups and downs.

I started to feel a bit frustrated that there was a little “hot and cold” with Matthew and I, and my roommate Amy convinced me to let him know my thoughts. I grabbed him, and we took a little walk near our apartment complex in the early afternoon. As we sat on a patch of grass, and I blurted out my thoughts, he finally said, “It’s always been for me to show affection, but it is even hard with  you….I don’t know why.”

What does that MEAN? Harder because of you? From your past relationship? Your brother? Just me? It stung, and all I could feel was sad. Why was it so hard for us to get past the awkward phase? As we parted, I was headed up to campus to study with plans to stay past dinner time. Matthew offered to meet me when I was done because the boys didn’t like us girls walking home in the dark alone. I was bugged, and I wanted him to know it, so I said no.

The next day, I deep cleaned my room to get my mind off of everything. My sweet roommate Abbi put up with so much from me. Not only did I hit the snooze button for an hour straight most mornings, but I had mounds of clothes all over our shared room. Matthew and I were supposed to go out that night, but didn’t make concrete plans, so why not re-organized my entire bedroom in the meantime? I thought he’d come earlier, but he didn’t stop by until 8 pm with Sam, and I was bugged. It was really hard for me to be around him, and look him in the eye. I felt exhausted.

The next night was a big Valentine’s day dance on campus. The boys of apartment #20 had collectively asked us girls in #39 to go with them.  They made us a pasta dinner, and Matthew’s two little sisters joined us, too. One lived down the road, the other (still in  high school) was visiting for the weekend. Of course, I wanted to make a good impression on them. They were both very sweet. Though they didn’t go to the dance,  one of them took this group shot of us just before we headed out.  Missing is my one of each of our roommates who was on another date, but the 3 of us couples–oh yes, something brewing with each of the other 2 as well.

Though I felt uncomfortable with the ways things had been left with Matthew, I wanted to have a fun night, and enjoy myself. The dance was a swing dance theme, so we all tried to get into character. Times like these, I was SO grateful that my roommates and I were so close, they were right by my side dancing away with me the entire night. At some point during the dance, Matthew disappeared. I had no clue where he went, and he was gone for nearly an hour. The other guys seemed to know about it, but I was mostly just bummed that he was gone and I didn’t get to dance more with him. I pretended that I cared dancing with other boys from our complex, filling the void. He came back as the dance was ending, and we all piled into someone’s car to head back home. Once Amy, Hali, and I entered our apartment, it became very clear where Matthew had been, and it all seemed worth it missing him in his absence.

Sitting in our living room was a bouquet of flowers address to “#39” from all the boys. A card attached said, “Flowers are temporary, but friendship lasts a lifetime.” They had also cut out quotes from the University newspaper that said random silly things, and found each of our names and circled them.

 I was even more delighted to see an envelope just for me, perched on top of a cute red teddy bear. I loved to see how he wrote my name. We named him Bongo.

 Though I was feeling skeptical about everything with Matthew, he didn’t seem to be bothered by all of our uneasy chatter. His letter to me sounded confident and sweet.


I read that second to last line over and over…for weeks…and months to come.


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