The day of my graduation dawned a beautiful sunny day with everyone hustling and bustling about. It was late May up in the mountains. All of the students and staff were cleaning, ironing, cooking and packing.
My parents came a little early because they hadn't seen me in 2 months. When we sat down to dinner I moved chairs around so Stephen and his little brother could sit with my parents, sister and I. My parents chatted with Stephen. We all laughed and were goofy. My mom also started a food fight at our table which was not that unusual for our family. ( Her story might differ a little bit ;).
After dinner we had the graduation ceremony. I had to speak and was super nervous. I survived, and then after the ceremony my parents headed home. I remember talking with Stephen afterwards on the front steps in the light falling from the doorway. Everyone else was just getting started at having fun when I went to bed but I had to work the next morning early. Stephen offered to get up and drive me to work. He was waiting by his car for me the next morning. He drove me to work, gave me a hug goodbye and I told him to have a good summer. He would be traveling to Mexico and Nepal.
I found out later that as my parents were driving home my mom told my dad that he had just met his future son-in-law. Which does explain why my dad called the next day and said, "if you ever want to invite Stephen over for dinner that would be fine." ?! That had me befuddled for a while and was so out of character for my dad at that point.
Less than a week later I was moving things into my new room up at the base, since I would be living there while I worked up the road. As I passed my mail slot I saw a letter for me. I paused and grabbed it. When I saw the postmark I remember putting down the t.v. I was carrying and sitting in the middle of the floor while I read it. Stephen actually wrote me, which knowing what I know now I should have been even more surprised then I was. For the next couple months we wrote letters back and forth. When he was in country he would get my letters, send one to me and then leave country again. They were boring, friendly letters but still letters. I have all of them. We worked out plans for him to visit at the beginning of August and then I would go to Durango to meet his family. At this point I was so nervous. I was nervous about seeing him, wondering if he was interested in a relationship beyond friendship, wondering if I was too.
I planned everything out ( remember I am an obsessive planner) for when he would get there. I had a picture in my mind of what it would be like and how I would look. NOTHING could have been farther from what happened . . . . . . . . . .
Next - the CRASH
Silly pictures from my graduation