I cannot imagine how the first phone conversation between my dad and Justin went…I do know that when Justin finally brought up why he called, my dad burst out laughing, because he didn’t know what else to do.
That night, Dad waited until he and my mom had gone to bed before broaching the subject. “I got a phone call today. Someone wants to court Heather,” he told Mom, then rolled over and turned off his light.
He said Mom immediately grabbed his shoulder and demanded the details.
So they met with Justin and his parents and together, concocted a plan. Justin was to begin getting to know me, to start talking to me more and see if I noticed his heightened interest in me and responded to it. My parents told him that if he really wanted to understand who I was, he should ask about my writing.
Despite my ponderings on how I felt toward Justin, I was so clueless and wrapped up in my own little world that I didn’t notice how Justin suddenly began seeking me out at parties and how his conversation turned from smart-alecky comments to more personal questions.
I did notice that my mom began talking about Justin, but as he was such a great guy I just accepted her interest as natural and kept going.
My parents began encouraging me and my brother to invite our friends over, and somehow Justin and Sarah always ended up being a part of the group.
In November, a bunch of home-schoolers in the area put together a medieval feast. We all dressed up, decorated, and provided our own entertainment…and Justin must have felt he needed to get my attention. He and his siblings put together a “Medieval Medical” skit. I was one of the victims “randomly” selected from the audience, and I was a snake-bite victim who had to be fed a cockroach (York Peppermint Patty) dipped in holy water.
It got my attention. My mom and I laughed for days over that one.
About that time, Justin & I also began emailing each other. I probably checked my email inbox a thousand times every day, because his emails were always full of funny stories from college and his siblings. We had a lot of good conversations.
During November and early December, we were busy. Justin turned 21, so we attended a birthday party for him; his family hosted a Black Friday get-together; my family hosted a smaller get-together after our orchestra’s Christmas concert that yes, included Justin and Sarah; and we attended a Casting Crowns Christmas concert; and Justin & I coordinated a graduate-group trip to Silver Dollar City, a nearby theme park.
The night of the concert, Justin had a three-hour drive back to college. We had finalized details of the theme park trip and he’d asked me to bring a stack of CDs and act as official DJ, since I loved Christmas music so much. On his way back, however, he choked on a mouthful of Dr Pepper and threw his back out.
A few days later, we headed to the theme park, with Justin roundly insisting that his Tylenol with codeine was helping his back and he’d be just fine riding the roller coasters.
My mom says that that day was when she knew I really cared for Justin. I called her when we got to the park to let her know that we’d arrived safely. She asked how Justin was, and she says my voice went very serious as I replied that he said he felt fine but I didn’t think he was telling the entire truth.
Some time before that, I’d written a short story called “Shattered Heart”, a semi-autobiographical allegory about how a girl had foolishly given away her heart to someone who had broken it, and how God had fixed her heart. When my parents read it, they knew I was ready for a relationship.
So not long after the Silver Dollar City trip, I found out that Justin was interested in me.