It might be helpful in light of the rest of this story to consider everything up to this point as more or less a preface, a prolegomena if you will. If you don’t know what a prolegomena is, well, that’s why I gave you preface first. I generally try to eschew obfuscation, but sometimes it doesn’t work too well (like in this particular sentence). With that little consideration taken care of, I think it is safe to proceed with the rest of the story, so here it is:
I should probably try to go back and get my dates right, but I cannot remember exactly when I left to go to Virginia. It during the week of April 15-21, 2007, but I not sure if I left on Saturday morning (which I’m thinking I did) or sometime earlier (like Thursday or Friday). The reason this has any bearing on the story is of course for chronological purposes, since I would hate to tell a part of the story out of order, but unfortunately that may happen at this point. The first thing I remember in Lynchburg was going with Brandon over to Becca’s apartment which of course, little did I know was where Ali lived. The first thing I thought was that I didn’t remember her being that pretty, not that I ever thought she was unattractive, but she struck me as more attractive for whatever reason. Dennis and Rachel (as introduced earlier in this story) were also there visiting (which meant it had to be Saturday the 21st). We had a fun conversation from what I remember and of course that may just be from my perspective, but nonetheless it was the beginning of reconnecting with old friends from Word of Life.
Sunday we decided to go down to Danville to go to the Tabernacle in hopes of seeing the ensemble, which I think is how Ali got into picture for that particular mini-road trip. I was more or less heading down there in hopes of meeting up with Eric. Brittany and Shanna went as well as Brandon, and so that made for a nice 5-some. An unnamed penguin was also along for the ride and there are pictures to prove his presence, but this will be his only mention in the story. (pictures are in my Road Trip I album on Facebook). As you might remember from the very first entry, you learned that stories very much hinge on road trips, and interestingly enough this story gets underway on a road trip within a road trip. This particular one to Danville I do not think had too many things of note, we did not in fact see the ensemble, they were at Heritage Baptist that morning and were heading down to Danville for the evening service; this lead to us meeting half-way at a McDonalds on our way back to Lynchburg. None of this of course would have happened had Ali not had Mr. Phillips #. All in all, good times, I think we all may have ended up over at Andre’s apartment later, but then again, my chronology may be mixed up again. Either way…
This brings us to Monday. The point of all the above is to establish that Ali and I had hung out a bit already in a group and she knew I was in Lynchburg visiting Brandon. So along comes Monday and Brandon has to work his 9-5 (or 8-5 or something) at DLP. This of course is fine with me and I walk down from campus to the Starbucks and proceed to do my thing. After amusing myself to no end with whatever books I was reading at the time I eventually ended up in the Panera just on the other end of the strip of shops because Panera of course has free wi-fi. After some time Ali who was working doing her thing with whatever orders Via had, eventually noticed me aimlessly hanging out in Panera and took pity on me. Knowing what she knew, she felt bad for me just having to hang out and kill time while Brandon had to work/do homework and invited me to hang out with her that night. This would prove to be a fatal move for her whole plan to never talk to me again.
Ali had just recently had a rather nasty wreck and so was carless, and I guess now that I think of it, I drove down to Starbucks, I didn’t walk. So she was going to have to wait for a ride but it just seemed to make more sense for me to do the honors. We went to pick up a pickup that she was going to borrow from someone for the time being, and then went over to Amber’s apartment and dropped off my car and proceeded to go to Kroger to acquire some produce and other food stuffs to make dinner with. (If anyone ever harps on you to not end sentences with prepositions, well just tell them you don’t have time to listen to what they’re getting at). The real story here is that this is the first Ali and I actually talked, as in actually had a conversation. She said some rather memorable things I could repeat here out of context to make her sound vain, but I won’t do that, because, well, that would just be dumb of me. All of it of course was in the context of sharing relationship failure war stories if you will, and we both just dumped all our junk out there on the table. The whole afternoon/evening of talking was probably the most honest conversation either of us had had in a while, at least with someone we hardly knew at that point. We proceeded to keep conversating and eventually made it back and kept talking as Ali made dinner and then we (Ali, me, Amber, and I think Andrew) ate dinner and then hung out a little more before going separate ways for the night (although we might have ended up over at Laura’s).
I think we both walked away from the whole evening wondering why we had never hung out before. I found her absolutely fascinating and strikingly beautiful, but was too close to a recent break-up to really think dating potential and I think even if I could have entertained the thought the logistics were a little large. I had recently applied and been accepted to Dallas Seminary where I still am, and so I knew I was going to increase the distance in a couple of months. She immediately went into the category of “well there could be something here.” I think if we had both been in the same place a little longer, we would have started dating. But seeing as how we both needed to heal a bit from past relationships and both needed to grow in some areas first, ultimately its better that we didn’t have that option. I think for a trip that mainly centered on going to Lynchburg to just hang out with Brandon, I ended up spending almost as much time with Ali. Had there not been the history listed in the preface above, I don’t think Ali and I would have been so open with each other once we had the option, but we just immediately opened up to each other and bonded rather quickly although neither of us would realize the extent of it any time soon. But that of course gets brought out in the next part.