[Catch up on Parts I-VI here]
My time in Arizona was wonderful! I have never seen so many stars that were so dazzlingly bright. It was stunningly beautiful and one of the top 10 most breathtaking sites I've beheld in all my life!
But while I was in Arizona, en route to Miriam's, I picked up a nasty cold. I had a pretty intense fever, and on the last day of my side trip to Arizona I lost my voice.
Cherry harvest had already begun when I arrived, so Mr. Amazing's mom picked me up from the airport instead of Miriam. I whispered to her that I had lost my voice, so she lovingly and hospitably picked up the conversation so I didn't feel awkward. Oh, and she hoped I wouldn't mind, but she just had to make one quick stop at Costco for some french bread.
I think it was somewhere in the middle of the parking lot that she tired of the one-way conversation because she started asking me lots of questions. She was content with the fact that I could whisper so she asked me all about my family, my studies and plans, what kind of bread I preferred, how I liked the Pacific Northwest, how I had enjoyed my semester abroad...
After each question I expected her to see how I was straining and re-take control of the conversation, but after each hoarse whispered answer she'd volley another question. So every few aisles we would stop and I would put my face close to her ear to squeak out a response, all the while trying not to breathe on her for fear of spreading my cold.
It was the worst after trying the samples. Miriam's mom would ask what I thought of the sample and the lady giving them out would casually eavesdrop to hear the answer. Denied. I'd lean in and whisper "it was delicious." "What?" "It was delicious." "I'm sorry, what was that?" "DeLICious," I'd croak as loudly as I could. I ignored the disparaging stares of the other bulk shopper bargain hunters.
Of course now that I've worked several cherry harvests myself I realize how frazzling the whole experience is! Months of agonizing preparation, hoping you'll make it past the frost, then rain, then get enough workers, then have a good crop, a good price, all the while keeping track of a huge crew and getting everyone fed, clothed, bathed, rested, and remaining civil. I'm amazed that she was so generous and gracious to pick me up during lunchtime when she was expected to feed the whole harvest crew!
But at the time all I knew was that I wanted a soft bed, a warm drink, and some NyQuil.
We arrived back at the farm, victoriously armed with multiple loaves of french bread, and I sat at the counter to eat a piping hot plate of spaghetti. I've never been good at eating spaghetti. That fancy skill where you twist it up on the spoon so as to eat it in a refined way? Unlearnable. So my face was splashed with sauce and I was very indelicately wrestling to slurp up a long noodle that wouldn't be tamed when in strode Mr. Amazing.
I either inhaled the danged noodle or it had gone out my nose. I don't know but I choked. Coughing... tears in my eyes...
Why? Oh why did he have such a power of presence over me?? Why did he inspire me to do the most humiliating things? He was a recently engaged man; still taken for all I knew. I had moved on. I had gotten past it. I had attempted to stop being a creepy stalker and forget him.
After I'd recovered and wiped my face (and eyes) he cordially said "hello."
I was glad I could blame the scarlet hue of my face on my recent choking episode.
"Hi." I whispered weakly.
"Oh, she's got laryngitis," his mom interjected, thankfully rescuing me from further comment.
"Hm," he grinned, "she's so awed by my presence she's speechless, eh?"
OOH! What a HAM!
But I couldn't deny it. I was awed by his presence. I was still hopelessly in love.
To be continued...