Catch up on Parts 1-12 here.
After that little phone call, I didn't hear from Mr. Amazing for some time. It was enough to keep me going on the novena, but not enough to give me any clarity or definite answers. I did know after that Summer, though, that no one on earth made me swoon like Mr. Amazing. Was it love? I didn't know, but I was willing to wait to find out.
In hindsight, my next move was very forward, but at the time it seemed the only practical step. I booked another plane ticket. This time, for Christmas break, "to visit Miriam and Meg." This was it, by golly! He'd make his move or I'd shake the dust of his deserty town from my feet and never look back.
Almost immediately after buying the ticket, I'd wished it undone. Miriam, attempting to intervene in my thwarted desires for romance with her brother, had planned a DANCE at the parish during my visit. NOO!!!! At least Diana wouldn't be there to steal him as her dance partner, but I couldn't dance with him! He was like Fred Astaire on the dance floor, and all of my previous dance partners had ended up on crutches!
After the initial panic wore off, however, and the knowledge that there was no backing out had sunk in, I signed up for dance classes: 3 intense session of East Coast Swing. I was triple step rock stepping in my sleep. I bought a sparkly dress with a swirly skirt and listened to big band swing ad nauseum. I would be so ready for this.
My first semester of grad school trudged by -- I no longer dreamt of being a world-class philosopher. My thoughts were usually occupied with the tall, dark and handsome philosopher of the Northwest. None of my classes interested me. At last finals were over and I flew off to see him... er... them.
When I arrived at Miriam's house, I tried to play it cool and not appear to be looking for him. Miriam, by now, knew of my attraction to him, but the rest of the family didn't yet suspect it.
And then, in the doorway, he appeared!
My heart sank, and my pulse did not quicken. He had a beard! A scruffy, scuzzy beard!! For once, I didn't blush in his presence. In fact, my fervor, once as hot as red flame, was cooled to a tepid breeze.
But then he smiled, and somewhere under that bristly bush was the charmer that made my heart warm and gladden again. But oh, it just had to go.
The dance was scheduled for the night after my arrival. I was sitting on the couch in the back corner of the living room, looking at family albums, when Mr. Amazing came in to seek his sisters' advice.
"The beard... should I keep it or shave it for the dance?"
"Oh, it makes you look so distinguished," offered one. "I really like it, keep it!" voiced another. "Oh, you look wonderful in it!" said another. "It's a great look for you," said his mother.
After all the females had weighed in, he wryly looked in my direction in the back corner. "What do you think?"
Aaah!! What to say?? Voice the unpopular truth that he looks like a scruffy mountain man just come out of the woods for his Springtime bath? or fib and flatter?
My lips didn't hesitate as long as my brain did, though, and I chimed in, "Um, I think you look better without it."
Within seconds I heard the buzz of an electric razor, and I positively gloated.
To be continued...