Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Conversation hearts

I'm fond of conversation hearts.  To eat...not as much.  Oh, I can down them fairly easily seeing as sweets of any kind and I are simpatico.  But my favorite treat, they are not.  I tend to buy them every Valentines Day because I have a sentimental spot in my heart for conversation hearts....

Bryan returned home from his LDS mission in February of 1993, a Friday.  I skipped town early and headed back home from college so I could be at the airport when Bryan returned, per his request.  I wasn't sure what to expect that weekend.  Recent letters from him indicated anticipation in continuing and building our relationship after he returned home.  I was excited about this but knew that after two years away, things potentially could be awkward.  We'd both surely changed...would the changes bring us closer together, or make things fizzle?  Also and more immediate....it is famously hard for a missionary to adjust back into the "real world" after a mission.  Would having me (a GIRL) around freak him out...at least for the first little bit?  Only time would tell.

Bryan gave me a big hug at the airport...something he said he'd been anxiously looking forward to.  But sitting next to me on the couch later that night while we watched a movie...two things that had been forbidden for a long time...was a little off-putting for him.  I knew that I needed to give him time, to let things happen at his pace (if they were to happen at all) and be patient.  So I was surprised when the next day he grabbed my hand and held onto it all throughout our let's-buy-Bryan-some-new-real-world-clothes shopping trip to the mall.  Re-entry seemed to be advancing rapidly...with me back at his side as the easiest thing to adjust to.

Back at his house later that evening we were all sitting around the kitchen counter talking...his family, like me, so happy to have him home.  Stories and experiences of the past two years were flying fast from all participants in the conversation.  And while talking, we snacked on conversation hearts.  Putting together funny phrases and sentences with the conversation hearts mixed into our evening and we laughed a lot.  Bryan passed me many hearts he had picked out specifically more for the message they contained rather than for snacking purposes.

Suddenly I felt him stealthily pass a heart under my arm that was leaning on the counter.  I casually glanced over at him.  He had a questioning look on his face.  Discreetly I moved my arm over slightly enough to be able to read the message on the heart.  It said "Kiss Me".  I looked back up at him and nodded my head ever so slightly.  The conversation in the room continued on, everyone oblivious to the wordless communication Bryan and I were having.

The kiss came maybe a couple of hours later...a goodbye kiss as I was leaving for the night.  It was a small one...a sweet one.  Perfect for newly returned missionary slowly but surely stepping into a new life.  All the same, it was a momentous occasion for me.  I had spent two years wondering what would happen to "us" when Bryan came home.  And although I knew that he'd only been home 2 days and that nothing was even remotely sure or concrete, it did seem as though things were heading in the direction I had hoped.  I think we both had sweet dreams that night...     

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