"Plumber guy" professed his undying love to me over a month ago and there wasn't a conversation, let alone a day, that I didn't hear those beloved words from him, "I love you!" on a constant basis.
Every day seemed to be a dream. I was living the life of an independent, working, young woman. I had my very own apartment, my car was paid for, and I no longer was in search for "the one". I had found him. But "the one" seemed to be taking his time to talk marriage. I was ready. In fact, I was more than ready. What was the hold up? Maybe he needed to get his finances intact or maybe it was the timing.
"Plumber guy" started school again and his schedule was becoming more hectic as he tried to stretch his time between me, work, studying, me, and then me. Did I mention "me"? We lived for the weekends when we could relax and spend countless hours with each other. We would take turns attending one another's wards, for church, every Sunday and many times I was invited to eat Sunday dinner with his family or I would prepare dinner for the two of us. I loved to cook dinner for my man. It was as if, we were a real married couple!
General Conference was coming up, which also meant that it was the season of mission reunions. "Plumber guy" often talked about his experiences of his mission to Korea with such humility and love for the people. He would also impress me with the language, although I had no idea what he was saying. And I still don't. He had studied it and studied it, in order to try to perfect the language, while on his mission.
We had attended a Korean friend's mission farewell, one Sunday, in a Korean branch in SLC. She had asked "plumber guy" to give the opening prayer in Korean, and after sacrament meeting many of the Korean members approached us and said they would have never known that "plumber guy" was an American. I felt such pride to be with this humble and righteous man.
A couple of days before "plumber guy's" mission reunion, he asked me if I'd go with him. "Hey, would you like to go to my mission reunion with me?" he asked.
"Sure. You know, everyone is going to ask if I'm your wife." "Yeah, I know," he replied. This same scenario had been played out time after time over the past few months. In fact, "plumber guy's" boss' six year old daughter would just call me "Steve's wife". Even SHE knew the obvious! And "plumber guy's" response was always the same... a snarky little laugh and smile.
"That's it! That's your answer?" I thought to myself. I played out the different scenarios in my mind over and over again of what would happen at the mission reunion.
"Hey Elder Lewis, how are you? It's nice to see you again. Is this your wife?"
"No. This is my forever girlfriend, Jen. I just plan on stringing her along for month after month until she gives me an ultimatum."
"Is this your wife?" "plumber guy" would ask he fellow companions in return.
"Ya, we just got married a few weeks ago. We got married in the Provo temple. I love my wife! I love being married!"
"Oh congratulations. It's nice to meet you," "plumber guy" would reply and then he would probably change the subject.
Saturday was here and "plumber guy" picked me up to drive to Provo for his mission reunion. He greeted me at my door with a kiss on the lips and a smile. I absolutely loved his smile. His eyes twinkled and reminded me of Santa Clause. I often would tell him he had "Santa Clause" eyes and he would just shake his head side to side and laugh.
"You look great!" he said.
"So do you!"
I wasn't sure what you wear to a mission reunion and decided to wear my Gap khakis and my silk, hunter green blouse. The very same outfit I wore on our first date. "Plumber guy" was wearing jeans and a fresh tee-shirt. I felt a little over dressed, but that was okay. His jeans suited him and me, perfectly fine.
The drive to Provo was quick, as we talked about his old companions and who he had hoped would be attending. As we entered the church building's doors, "plumber guy" immediately recognized some old missionaries from the mission. There was a mixture of Americans and Koreans and some of their children running about. All of the former missionaries, slipped into the Korean lingo and began talking amongst themselves, as us non-Korean speaking wives, husbands, and me (the one and only girlfriend attending), stood beside them smiling and watching the conversations.
As we worked around the room, the former missionaries would look right at me and say something like this in Korean, "Ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo!" Then they would look at "plumber guy" and wait for his response, which sounded like this, "mahn-na-bwep-ge-dwe-o-seo!" Then they would all smile and laugh. "Plumber guy's" face would turn bright red and he would light up. I knew they were talking about me, but I had no idea about what they were talking about.
Through out the night, I watched my future husband in his element, as he talked about memories and experiences he shared with his fellow companions. The conversations always led to the same questions and comments. "Did you know this guy is buff?" they would ask me. "Oh yeah! How could I ever forget," I would think to myself, as my mind would flashback to that glorious picture of him tanned, and flexing his bulging muscles in his swimsuit. Then the conversation would be led to that same daunting question, "So, are you two married?"
The night had ended and we began our journey back home.
"So what did you and your old companions talk about, when you were speaking in Korean?" I asked "plumber guy".
"Oh, you know, missionary stuff."
"Whatever! You guys were totally talking about me! Give it up, muscle boy!" I yelled.
"Okay, okay! They asked about you and asked if we were going to get married," he said with a clever smile.
"I knew it! So what did you tell them?" I asked, while trying to not be so obvious that I was trying to pry out this most important of all important information.
"I just told them I don't know," he said.
My heart sunk. "What the hell!" I thought to myself. (Oh yes I did!) I give up!
I was ticked and like most women, I decided to display my disgrace in the most appropriate manner known.... I gave him the silent treatment. I tried to hold my tears back and turned my head towards the darkness of the night sky. I didn't want him to see my raw emotions begin to shed so I rested my head against the cool, car, window and fell asleep.
We approached my apartment building and I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. I just wanted to curl up on my couch and watch some pointless t.v. show in the dark and alone. I was tired of wondering, if and when "plumber guy" was going to marry me.
"Plumber guy" walked me to my door and asked, "Do you want me to pick you up tomorrow to watch Conference at my house?"
"I think I'll just stay home and watch it here," I sulked. I was mad and I wanted him to know it. And of course, I expected him to read my mind as to what exactly I was mad about.
"Are you okay?"
"Are you sure?"
He could tell something was wrong and he tried to pry it out of me.
"I'm fine!" I said. "I'm just tired!" I snapped. My responses were all lies, but the only thing I could think of was curling up and cry a big, fat, ugly cry.
"Well, okay," he said timidly. "I love you. I'll call you tomorrow."
"Bye," I said as we gave each other quick kisses. "There, take that!" I thought to myself. No long, lingering smooches and no "I love you too"!
I closed the door and plopped down on my couch, turned the t.v. on and watched the rest of an episode of X-Files. Then the phone rang.
I knew it was "plumber guy". As much as I would have liked to not answer the phone in my moment of anger, I just couldn't resist. All of the anger in the world couldn't prevent me from not loving him. My heart softened and I answered the phone.
"Hey, I'm sorry," "plumber guy" pleaded.
"Oh that's okay. I just felt a little out of place and I was grumpy. I'm sorry too," I responded.
All was well again with us and we agreed to watch Conference at his home the following day. We never did really talk, and I mean, REALLY talk, about the root of my hurt feelings. For some odd reason, we each kept on tip toeing around the subject. But with out my knowledge, that night "plumber guy" approached the "marriage" topic head on! Little did I know that the Korean conversations shared between old companions and friends, included me. In fact, when "plumber guy" was asked about me and if we were going to get married, his response was YES! YES, I tell ya! He told everyone in Korean that night, that he was planning on marrying me! And soon.