Read what leads up to this part: [part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 ]
Rob decided he needed to be single for a while. I thought this was a wise decision. He had several girlfriends since he was 12 years old and was unsure of who he was without having one. Most of his girlfriends lasted up through a full year each, but he only spent maybe a week at most between finding a new one after a break-up. When Rob decided to be single, It was not very much of a single life at all, in my opinion.
On a chilly December night at a show where underground local bands played (some out of state), I was outside waiting in line for the place to open their doors. I was the first person there and talked to a nice guy my age who was waiting as well. Rob arrived and rushed over to me when he saw I was talking to another boy. Rob grabbed my hand and would continually try to hold it throughout the night. Of course I let go of his hand when he started to tell me that he went to a homecoming dance with the girl he got dumped by a full year earlier (as in the one he had a senior photo of in his wallet). Before I even asked him the questions running through my brain, he told me he danced with her and kissed her neck. I didn’t like that he was acting like this when he made it seem like the single life was something special to him. How was that single? I called him a “player”. He felt he could be more honest with me since I figured him out too perfectly on my birthday. He hated hurting me and knew it was easier on my emotions to be upfront. I was pretty vocal about wanting to be hurt instead of having secrets kept from me (for that always hurts me more).
The following weekend we went to another show where I got to talk again to the guy I met in line the weekend earlier. I had no interest in him at all other than to just get to know him (I love getting to know people). He told me he had a crush on me but saw I had a boyfriend. I told him that Rob and I weren’t together at the moment, but that I wished we were. He asked me out knowing I’d say no, but thought it was worth a try. Rob constantly would check up on me when I would talk to this guy! I thought it was really funny. Rob didn’t seem to be the type who would get jealous. He knew I was fully devoted to him. He tried to pull me away several times from the guy. Then another guy came up to me to talk to me as well. I may have been naive, but my teenage mind just found them to be nice people to talk to. I didn’t have money to go inside to see the show that night, so I just hung around outside talking to people. Rob paid to go in and listen to the bands, but instead he came back outside and was my watch dog in fear that I’d be swept off my feet by strange boys he didn’t know.
The next night at youth group Rob had me follow him to his car because there was a song he really wanted me to hear (there are always songs he wants me to hear to this day). He started to act really funny as if trying to let me know something important. He mumbled something below his breathe that sounded like, “I like you.” When I asked him loudly, “What?” He just banged his head on the roof of his car saying, “I don’t know!” Then a guy from youth group (my errand boy mentioned earlier in this full story) came up to us and he poked me in the stomach (I wore shirts that had my belly button exposed regularly). I gave the guy an evil-eye look for doing it, to make sure he knew I did not approve (I was really peeved when people flirted with me by trying to touch me). Then Rob thought he could do it too, so he tried as well and I said, “NO! I’m not your girlfriend.” He got the same evil-eye look.
At a different show a week later (I’m telling you, this was our weekend thing to do), my friend Nicole and I were hanging out. I told Nicole how I wasn’t worried about Rob. I knew I was meant to be with him. I told her that I had a bit of a past, a present, and a future with him. His year-long ex had a past with him while his newer ex only had future plans with him. I had trusted in God. I figured I was already patient for so long, that it was no problem to wait more. Nicole decided to approach Rob at the show to talk to him for me. I tried to stop her (and was a little annoyed). I said, “No. I’ll tell him. I tell him everything openly.” She told him everything I had told her with my words, but not crediting me. I went to him and told her that I would take it from there. I told Rob to just keep me in mind and stop taking advantage of the fact that he knew I’d be waiting for him. He held my hand the rest of the night and was glad to have me in his life. He told me how wonderful I was in always being patient with him. The truth of the matter was, I deeply loved him. I just didn’t tell him that, though he knew.
On Christmas day Rob told me he bleached his hair. I cringed at the thought and knew I was not going to like it (I didn’t, but good thing I loved him). He usually had dark brown hair. It was growing longer and was a little curly. After talking to one another online that night, he asked me if he could call me. I had always had a bit of a phobia with phones (long story). We never talked on the phone in all those months. I had a phone in my room but never used it, keeping it disconnected. It was a 1967 yellow convertible VW Beetle phone. It was painful to hold up against my ear since the tire would leave marks on my face. I connected it while waiting for him to call. I picked it up halfway through the first ring and said, “Hello!” with excitement in my voice. He laughed about that.
We ended up talking for 5 hours (holding the record for my longest phone conversation ever). We talked mainly about Jesus (it was deep). He decided to tell me a bit of what he was going through in his time as a “single” guy. He started out by telling me things about his more recent ex. She was not handling the idea of him being single very well at all. She kept insisting he give singleness up. I didn’t blame her though, since I wanted him just as badly. He then told me how his mom felt really badly for her because the girl had sent his dad e-mails filled with ideas of who I was (because I was “the other woman” who interfered, to all of them). I said to Rob, “But. . .You wanted to be with me before you wanted to be with her.” in which Rob said, “Right, but they don’t know our story at all.” I was kinda upset that he never really let his parents know who I was, but he felt it wasn’t their business (though he had gabbed to them about his ex, making me feel like maybe he was embarrassed of me). They had seen how crazy he had been about her. He acted like a lovesick fool listening to a certain song on repeat for a few days (which he was listening to in order to figure out if he even liked her at all). While they became broken up, his mom made a sheep plush for the girl, which when she received it, she had kept it in a certain spot by a picture frame. His ex supposedly prayed that God would make Rob be with her again and to give her a sign, and she heard a loud crash. I think there was a picture of the two of them in the frame, or just Rob in it. The frame broke and the sheep fell on the floor. She felt this was a sign from God that they were meant to be together. To me, I thought that sounded more like their relationship came to a literal crash. We laughed about that on the phone.
His ex told Rob that they were going to get married and were meant to be with one another. Rob said, “I laughed at her. I don’t know why, but I ended up telling her how someone else already told me that God promised them I was going to marry them.” I was in shock that he remembered (I had told him it months earlier) and that he chose to believe me over her, since he had actually dated her for so long and felt they were “perfect” for each other. She repeatedly told him how badly he needed “grace”. Again he laughed at her. He said to her, “I have grace, more than you’d believe.” The funny thing about that is that my middle name is Grace, so he was telling her he had me without her understanding what he meant. She was meaning the grace of God, which he already knew he had. He felt God was telling him things about me through her; or at least reminding him that I was there the whole time waiting. This made me cry a lot. We prayed with each other. Then we made plans to see one another the following day while we were on our Christmas break.
Rob picked me up and we drove about an hour to a show. The whole time the bands were playing, we were sitting on a table (usually we stood right in front of bands as they performed). It was so hot in the building and I always wore tank tops because I sweat more like a man than even most men sweat (even through that December chill). My hair was so long (like now, but a little shorter). I often tied it up into a knot without using a hair tie. Rob kept caressing my shoulder and kissing the back of my nasty sweaty neck. I thought it was very sweet of him, and I knew that he was seriously thinking about me more than ever. After the show we saw one of Rob’s childhood friends who also knew me. He introduced his girlfriend saying, “This is Rob and his girlfriend Vicki.” I looked at Rob who smiled at me. Rob didn’t correct him at all. I guess he last saw us when we were a still a couple. We eventually left after talking with them a while. It was really late.
By the time we got near our homes, it was about 1:30 AM (and in that day there wasn’t a curfew for kids our age in NJ). Rob looked at me while driving and said, “Let’s stop somewhere.” I had no idea if he meant for food or what. He went into this dark place where a park resided. There were houses nearby, but he forgot they were there, since it was so dark. As soon as we got there we talked for a second. We looked at each other then kissed for as short as maybe 30 seconds. A car pulled up facing us. Rob had no idea who it was, but he was brave enough to get out of his car and approach whoever was beaming their lights at us. I looked in the mirror and saw I had my glittery lip gloss pretty much all over my face. I laughed because Rob came back to tell me it was a cop. On Rob’s face I saw shimmering little pieces of glitter. I held in the laughter as much as I could. Rob sat down and the cop asked what we were doing. Rob said, “Just talking.” I laughed inside trying to hold it in more, because it was written all over Rob’s face that we were doing more than “just talking”. The cop told us to go home; since I believe he could tell what we were doing there. I let Rob in on the glitter. He looked in the mirror and felt embarrassed. It was fun to laugh together about it. Rob dropped me off and kissed me goodnight.
Once break ended and we got back to school, I had bronchitis. I could hardly speak and would cough deeply. I reluctantly went to school just to see Rob. He wasn’t there. I called my mom from the payphone. She picked me up before attendance was even taken. Rob was home sick with a bad cold. Maybe we got each other sick from our cop experience. It probably was just because we went to too many shows wearing sweatshirts instead of coats in the 10 degree weather.
Rob sent me a few e-mails he exchanged back and forth with his ex within the last days of December into the first couple days of January. I read through them a few times and didn’t know how to take them at all. He was being blunt with her, which I appreciated. As soon as he saw me online he started to talk and realized I read the e-mails. He started to flirt with me by calling me “cutie” and “sweets”. He told me that he felt he was over his ex and that he liked me. He didn’t really tell her that, but the way he treated her, it was obvious. He still said he loved her at the end of his e-mails, which surprised me since I don’t think you can “be over” someone you are still in love with. I cried. He asked me my thoughts and I said that I wasn’t worried about it and was willing to wait a year or more for him if it took him that long to realize his feelings. He let me know it wouldn’t take that long. I didn’t have any worry because I knew Rob was meant to be with me. I was pretty confident in God, but that didn’t ease the pain in my heart.
I didn’t see Rob much at all the following day at school. He was always going to his computer club during lunchtimes. It started to make me antsy. I had a bunch of chocolate kisses that I was eating. I missed Rob so much that I decided to sneak upstairs to give Rob a “kiss”. I slipped inside the classroom, where the teacher eyed me down, not looking too happy that I was there. I went to Rob and whispered to him, “I thought you needed a kiss.” I put the chocolate kiss on his desk and walked out the door. Rob stared at it for a long time. Later on in the day, a classmate approached me and said that in a class they attended with Rob, he would not take his eyes off his piece of chocolate. When he was asked why he was staring at it, he told the girl that I gave it to him. He said “She gave me a kiss.” The girl told me how he was so zoned out throughout the class over his little chocolate kiss. Before school ended that day he ran up to me and said “Are you doing anything tonight?” And I said, “I’m going to Nicole’s house.” He looked sad. He wanted to take me home, but I let him down. He told me that no one ever did anything so romantic for him before. I thought it was adorable how a tiny piece of chocolate made his entire day.
It was January 5, 2001 in which I sat on the floor with Rob hand in hand outside of the school’s auditorium before the bell rang for us to start heading to our first class for the day. We would have been together for a total of 3 months if we didn’t have all those break-ups. Rob started to tell me a couple weeks earlier that I was his “Quasi-Girlfriend” and gave me the nickname “Modo” during that time. He was not even “quasi” with anyone else at all, just me, but only sort of since he was still trying to be single for a while to focus on God more in leading him to whom he should be with, if he should be with anyone at all. I wore a Celtic claddagh ring. The old tale is to flip the ring certain ways if you are taken or single or engaged or married. Rob took mine off my right finger and flipped it over then put it on my finger again to make me “taken”. I looked at him to make sure it was what he wanted. He nodded and I smiled nodding too. I was overjoyed that we were a couple again.
In comparison to how things were when we started dating in October, January was very different and easier. It was more natural and real. Rob wasn’t two-timing or three-timing and was more focused. He would always tell me that he never wanted to hurt me again. He would thank me over and over again for being patient with him and for not giving up. I told him that if he was truly willing to be with me, he needed to be truly committed to me forever; no joke. He was up for the challenge (most guys would get scared off). We never broke up again, but our journey was just beginning.