Good news. The Tale Of My First Love, did not END in a breakup…
Soon after ending things, Elisha and I entered “real” relationships where we began to experience the security, happiness, and good vibes that one’s notorious other (usually) gives.
We bumped shoulders a couple times, but we didn’t talk much, and it was never awkward. Elisha and I knew vaguely what was happing in each other’s lives because his sisters were still my best friends, but I was happy and fulfilled and he was too.
A year and a half later, Elisha and I found ourselves both recently single and road tripping up to a wedding together with our sisters.
Although I was still struggling getting over my breakup, sincere admiration for how Elisha had matured was coupled with hurt for the recent pain he was going through. I felt we could relate.
“You and Elisha are so cute together, are you going to get back together?” A mutual friend asked after we hung out all weekend.
I laughed, “are you kidding me? Been there done that. We both know we could never work.”
That night I texted Elisha and told him I was sorry he was going through such a tough time emotionally, and I respected how he was recovering.
“Thanks. I respect you a lot, Katie Johnson, and I’m glad we can still be friends after our ‘funny’ experience . . . I don’t know how else to put it.”
We were mutually happy we could be friends after what happened, and over the next couple weeks Elisha initiated several random text convos.
Then, I went up to his house for Tucker’s graduation and I heard rumors circulating of “Elisha and Katie.”
Good graciousness, no. I thought to myself.
Upset, I texted Elisha on the way home—making sure we were on the same page: just friends.
“Yeah, of course, just friends,” he replied. But he threw in that I was the “catch of the century.”
“What? You had a DTR with Elisha?” Daddy asked. “You like this guy, Katie,”he sighed. “I don’t want to do this again.”
“No, I DON’T. Are you kidding? I would never go what we went through again! We are seriously just friends.”
One text conversation flowed into another and during witty sallies and meaningful conversations, we realized we both had changed. A lot.
He hinted that he liked me. I feigned ignorance.
He flirted and told me how amazing he thought I was. I flirted back and reminded him, “just friends, remember?”
After two months of talking, I saw him at 4th of July and it was . . . AWKWARD. All those hours texting, even a couple short phone calls, and he still ignored me, so I ignored him.
“Dude, what’s the deal?” I texted him late that night. “Are you always weird around girls, or just me? What’s worse, I’m finding myself attracted to you for all the wrong reasons.”
The next day, Elisha finally clearly declared his interest in me, “Do you just see me as an older brother, Katie?”
Sheesh. If I saw him as a brother, my feelings would be illegal in 49 states!
“No, it’s just that we don’t go together. We’d argue all the time, and, let’s face it, we don’t like being around each other in person . . . let’s not talk anymore.”
So, we stopped.
We saw each other two weeks later at the camp, and awkwardness was at an all-time high. During a 2 hour DTR, I frankly shared my concerns. When I told my friends what I told him, they said I was mean. Maybe, but I felt no shame.
After telling Elisha we needed to stop texting, he wrapped his strong arms around me in a crushing embrace. For a split-second my heart stopped, and I was angered at my own confusion.
Get a grip, Katie. There’s so much more to real-life than a hug. You guys are awkward. Remember?
Nevertheless, when our barn burned down, Elisha was the first person I texted. I needed support and he was there. Once again, I felt a tug at my soul. It was as if the little seed of childhood love, buried deep in my heart, was struggling to burst through the surface.
Yet still, my mind told me, “you will never work. Never.”
The Winds Change
“There is this Kathryn, who seems to be laughin’
At a guy like me, who just wants to care . . . “
That was the beginning of the song Elisha wrote me. We were texting . . . again.
“I like you, Katie.”
“I could be your boyfriend.”
“We are never, ever, ever, getting back together.”
The “just friends” status was questioned almost every day, but I continued to say “no.”
After that song, I told Elisha all my concerns, but he told me how he didn’t buy that junk.
There, in the dark of the hallway with my phone light glowing, I started sobbing, and halfway admitted to myself and him that I hoped he was right. Maybe there was a possibility of real-life being as beautiful as our text conversations. Maybe.
Later that week, Elisha came down for the Man Camp my daddy puts on, and totally pursued my family which was big, big, points with me. He was a leader, a guy everyone liked, sweet, and (gotta admit) a total stud. By the last day of the camp, I realized I liked this man a lot more that I was aware, but advice from my cousin, uncle, and mother was that, “the timing is wrong.”
We couldn’t mess this up with bad timing . . . again.
“Okay. So, I Like You…”
“It’s late, men. Time for curfew!” Daddy finally called. The guys at The Achademy were huddled around Tiki Torches at 11 o’ clock at night.
“Hey, can I walk you to your car?” I whispered to Elisha.
“Yeah, of course.”
We went to the parking lot, but guys were coming with headlamps to get their stuff, so we moved further away. The headlamps seemed to follow.
“I don’t want to be seen with you way out here in the dark,” I whispered. “It will look bad.”
We kept going further into the darkness until we ended up behind a giant burm, and settled down on two cement blocks.
“Ok,” I started abruptly, “So, I like you, but . . . “
“Just stop there,” Elisha interrupted. “You like me?! Yessss.” He ran his hands through this dark hair laughing to himself. “You like me. Katie Johnson likes me!”
“Haha, yeah, I do. But we need to break. Like, for three months.”
Lights flooded around the burm and I heard shouts as we continued talking.
“I gotta go,” I told Elisha nervously. “This is going to look really bad.”
I began to get up to leave, but he pulled me into him. Our breathing was steady in the still night air, but I was stiff—scared I was going to be found behind a burm in the arms of a guy who I swore I was “just friends” with at midnight!
“I need to leave,” I pushed myself away and this time he let me go. We scrambled over the rocks to his car.
“Katie, I really like you,” he whispered softly.
“I like you too, but I don’t want to be found like this.”
“I get it.”
I pushed away, but not before he quickly kissed my forehead, leaving me to waltz half-drunk on emotions into the arms of the frantic sisters, best friend, uncle, and frustrated father.
“Don’t worry!” I muttered worriedly. “I can explain.”
Elisha and Katie 2.0
“Baby, guess I want to try, this may end up being a do or die,
We could be perfect, we could be disasters,
It will be worth it . . .”
We sent songs back and forth as we implemented breaks, guidelines, and rules into our stop and go relationship. One day I would be dreaming of forever, the next, I could see no light at the end of the tunnel. One thing was certain, I was madly in love with the man of my dreams, and I was willing to fight for him.
When Elisha and I finally starting “officially” dating, my respect grew quickly, as he pursued my family and gained my parents’ support. He was more than just a handsome face and talented man. He cherished me, led me in truth, and amazed me with his intentionality.
I was wary about entering a relationship where my heart could be crushed, so I quickly drilled him with questions, was frank with my concerns, and open about my flaws.
Within three weeks of becoming Elisha’s girlfriend, I knew I wanted my first love, to be my forever love.
I could write a book documenting our mistakes, our successes, and the wild ride it has been loving Elisha. But I’ll leave you with this, it was worth it.
I wouldn’t trade our journey for the world.
So many of you have asked me why I’m confident in the man I’m giving my life to in a few months, so here is the short answer…
Top 5 Things I LOVE about Elisha
- I respect him, his relationship with God, and his heart like no other young man.
- He is honest and a man of integrity. I trust him implicitly.
- He knows me, yet he loves me unconditionally–even with my glaring weaknesses and flaws. His patience and kindness is next to none as I work on my immaturities.
- He’s a strong leader with vision and authority, but he still lets me be . . . well, crazy me.
- He’s basically everything you could ever want in man: athletic, tall, dark, handsome, intelligent, clever, thoughtful, creative, good at connecting with people, musical, intentional, romantic . . . a life-long learner, reader, deep-thinker, and hard-worker. Oh, and did I mention he’s hott?
I loved him for 12 years. And now I get to love him for life.
What’s not to love?