Taking a bit of a break from the guest posts today and updating the love story. It's been almost a year (!!) since I posted anything, so I figured I might as well take advantage of the topic and write another chapter. (Christy, Jenny, Lindsey...this is for you.) :)
Read pt. 5 here
Every relationship has a moment. Some of these come in a flash of lightning, others sneak up on you, all of them place you at a crossroads. Ours came in the spring 0f '04. Having been engaged for a little over six months, we were in the heat of wedding planning and solidifying a date. Then I got the e-mail.
It was addressed from "A Concerned Friend" and said Russ had been cheating on me with another girl at UMHB. The message was explicit - going into detail what this girl was supposedly doing with my fiance. I received the e-mail on a Monday morning. I didn't go to class at all that day - and I didn't eat until Thursday evening. That week was seriously the hardest I've ever experienced. My heart - still gun shy from my history of unfaithful relationships - tucked deep inside and hid for awhile. I immediately called Russ - reading him the e-mail and listened to his side of the story. It was simple: it hadn't happened. Hearing him deny the e-mail did wonders for my heart, but it didn't solve the questions. I returned the e-mail, asking for clarification and specifically for this concerned friend to give me her name.
I never received the name of who sent me those e-mails. In fact, whoever this was refused to share her identity. To this day I can't talk about them without getting the heavy-nasty-protective feeling in my heart. Because here's the deal: I will honestly never know what happened. It's true. But, despite this truth, it was this moment I knew the risks of trust.
When I returned to class on Thursday, one of my older friends saw my distracted look and asked me what was going on - she knew I wasn't myself.
"It's nothing, Jerusha. Just dealing with some girls spreading rumors about Russ."
She looked at me out of the corner of her eyes and turned towards me. "Elora, I'm 40 years old. I've been married for almost 20 years. And if there's one thing I've learned it's that you have to fight for what you have - and you have to fight those who are trying to take it away. These small seemingly insignificant instances can build walls between you and your love. And what you think is just a piece of cardboard turns out to be a brick wall keeping you from truly connecting. Go see him. Fight for him. Show these girls you aren't going to let them win."
I looked at her and nodded. Yes. Yes. I was going to see him. I smiled and gave her a hug, "thanks Jerusha."
She laughed as I walked out of the room, "tell him I said hi!"
I raced back to my apartment and got on IM with Kathy, my mother in law. "I'm coming down this weekend to surprise Russ. I just need to see him." I waited for her response - she knew the whole week what was happening and had been praying for us. What I didn't know was that she was praying for confirmation. Me deciding to drive down to Troy and see Russ, to fight for our relationship, was the proof she needed that I would love her son no matter what. I found out that day she was now 110% behind us.
So we plotted.
I would drive down and meet at his parents' house. Russ planned on going to see a movie with his best friend, so I would wait at the house until the movie was almost over. (I texted his best friend my plan and he was going to text me when I should start heading to the theatre.) It was perfect, but I could not have anticipated how it would happen.
My stomach rolled and twisted and grumbled at the butterflies let loose as we drove to the mall. It was the most surreal feeling to have a legitimate need to see Russ. Before, it was just a beautiful want-to. This was a craving. A thirst. Kathy stayed with me, and we ran into a few people she knew - most who never met me. After one of the introductions, I saw them out of the corner of my eye. My heart dropped and my vision blurred. It was them - the girls. They were in line for a movie. Like I said earlier, I never knew who sent me the e-mail, but I had a strong feeling who did.
And as she turned and caught my eye, I knew she'd been caught, and I knew it was a lie.
She quickly turned away and started talking to her friends. Before, I probably would have died to hear what she was saying, but now I could care less. I just needed to see my man. It was then he walked through the door - and I will never, ever forget his face. Catching my eye, he stopped cold. He broke into a grin and with tears in his eyes, he ran over to where I was and grabbed me in his arms.
"What are you doing here?" he whispered against my neck.
"I needed to see you. I needed to get over this holding your hand, not holding a cell phone."
His embrace tightened and he whispered, "thank you for believing me." before grabbing my face and giving me a welcomed kiss. I opened my eyes and caught his gaze, and knew whatever happened in the future, we'd get through it in the same way - in the other's embrace.