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10 Stories/10 Years: Story #2

Letter from Ralexwin to me--August 2000:
"My dear damsel of constant distress. I hope this epistle might find you in a bright mood of sunshine and flowers. Our love is as the turbulent sea in a mighty wind with crests of love and happiness that take us meters above the surface of mediocrity to the troughs of bitterness, and loneliness and sometimes almost hate. . .

I have [only ever wanted to be a man] strong in testimony and faith of the simple truths of the gospel of Christ. And by me I see a woman equally alive. Physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Whose eyes burn with an inner strength of conviction and courage. A woman rugged, who can withstand the trials of the pioneers but refined enough to dine with queens. . .

Let's try again. I think you are sick of trying but I can't give up the right. Please don't be mad at me."
Ralexwin and I began seeing each other around October 1999. It was all very hush-hush and Ralexwin made a good display of trying to convince himself we were 'just friends.'

Dating Ralexwin was rough. No one knew we were seeing each other, so I got the distinct pleasure of watching other girls flirt with him while I stood by simmering.

We fought... a lot.

Our relationship teetered on the brink of disaster month after month after month. We were two kids selfishly fighting for what we expected out of the other and never taking the time to look at what we could fix within ourselves, and yet we kept coming back to each other.

In May of 2000 Ralexwin packed his bags and moved eight hours away from me to Phoenix, Arizona to go to school at ASU.

Our relationship didn't change much. We still fought, we still broke up every other week, but lack of finances on both of our parts restricted our long distance calls and required us to write letters. This was, quite possibly, the saving grace of our love. We were forced to make sense of how we felt and we were able to do it without sarcasm, interruptions, or anger.

We thrived at letter writing.

Sometime later that summer, however, I decided to go visit Ralexwin in Phoenix. We planned it all out. His little brother was going to be coming down the week before I was and would need a ride back to St. George. Ralexwin and I arranged for me to fly down stay a few days and then all three of us would drive the eight hours back together.

I imagine that this is one of the worse memories that Ralexwin's brother has (we'll call him Wearwin).

The trip was a disaster. We fought horribly, and at one point when Ralexwin got on the phone and talked for an hour I actually tried to walk back to my hotel by myself (I had no idea where I was or where it was).

I was livid at his behavior to me. I wanted more commitment than he was giving and I was absolutely fed up.

The time came for the drive home. Ralexwin and I sat in the front seats and cheerful Wearwin climbed into the back.

We started driving.

An hour or two out of Phoenix I announced I was hungry. I directed Ralexwin to pull into a Subway coming up at the next exit.

Without batting an eye he drove past it.

Okay, how about that McDonald's?


Ralexwin refused to stop until we needed gas.

I stopped talking to him. He stopped talking to me.

I started being rude and sarcastic. He got sarcastic with me.

Wearwin starting squirming in the backseat.

(it might be noted at this point in the story that I get irrational when I'm hungry or tired....very irrational)

I threatened death if he didn't pull over. He stubbornly (and wickedly) dared me to try.

Dust was settling on a desolate stretch of the Navajo Reservation when Ralexwin pulled into the most broke-down gas station I had ever seen in my short life. It was five hours later.

"Now you can get food."

"I don't want any from there!"

I was so mad I could barely think past my anger. Visions of lunging across the car at the man I was supposed to love raced through my head.

He seemed to smile cruelly.

"Fine, don't get anything."

I sulked in the car.

Wearwin came back and offered me some of his food. I graciously declined.

Ralexwin came back and offered me some of his food. I threatened to throw it out the window.

Three hours later, when Ralexwin dropped me off at my apartment I slammed the door and swore I'd never talk to him again.

This was a major turning point in our relationship. I realized that in no way did I want to be treated like a second class citizen and I felt as if that's what I was getting from Ralexwin.

I made it very clear that if I was to be the one he loved, then I needed him to show me. I started dating other people-- and brutally told him about every single one of them. I wanted him to understand that I could move on, I had just chosen not to.

Tears were shed on both sides (I've only seen Ralexwin cry maybe twice ever... this was one of them).

For his part, I think he was desperate to get me back, but I didn't feel it. I was tired of our relationship being secret, I was tired of watching him let girls flirt with him. I wanted more than anything to be his #1.

Finally... in August of 2000, Ralexwin called me at work one night and said these fateful words:

"Fine, you want to get married, then lets get married."

My response:

"I'm not saying yes or no until you tell your parents you proposed to me."


sltaylor07 said…
i absolutely love that you are sharing these stories! it's like reading a fun little love story that's actually real and even better the love story of a close friend! i miss you charity!
Meaghan said…
This is adorable! I love it! It's so weird to read these stories that show that you both despised each other but it's so obvious to see nowadays that it's completely the opposite! You are adorable :)
Jennifer said…
Why was everything secret?

And, um, the proposal? Oh my. Not one of history's more romantic moments.
Cannwin said…
Secrecy? Not quite sure... we argued about it a lot actually. :)

And yes... the proposal was lacking, but he's more than made up for it through the years.
Wes said…
Yeah I remember that. Thanks for making that awkward for 7 hours. I remember us eating right before we left and wondering why you didn't eat with us.

Made me laugh to remember it, thanks.
Myya said…
Young love... isn't it crazy how much you fight about stupid things! I bet all that fighting you guys did made for a lot easier road ahead once the commitment was made. These letters are so fun, you kids are totally going to enjoy these later.
Cari Hislop said…
Now I want more of the story! what was the reason Ralexwin gave for not stopping at Subway or McDonalds? Was he just being a jerk or did he not understand you were starving?

If I were you, I'd have been freaking out as well to be the secret girlfriend. I would have assumed he was ashamed of me. To go from secret girl friend to fiance that's quite abrupt...that must have felt really weird.

I can't wait for your next installment. Maybe you could interview Ralexwin for his perspective...I'm a nosey wench I know...but its a great story! :)
Nita said…
I'm hooked! What happens next?!
Cannwin said…
Cari--No real reason, just didn't want to stop. That's Ralexwin for you, even today we have arguments about stopping. However, he now knows that inevitably I'm going to want to stop and eat.

He says that I always want to stop at the first exit after our own.

I always say it's like entering the Twilight Zone getting in the car with him... because he'd rather drive straight through without stopping.

Myya--Yes! Getting the yelling out of our system early has really helped us in the long run. :)

Nita--Will it be spoiling the ending to tell you they get married and have four children? ;)
Chelsea said…
All I have to say about the letter is, "WOW!" I am kind of surprised by the proposal, but then again, I'm not. That is funny that Wes was in the car during that long, long drive.
Cari Hislop said…
When I got married it was nearly four months before we had a car (Which is just as well) and then we got to start having arguments about why he never listened to me when I told him I wanted to stop or pull over etc...and eventually (after much tribulation) I discovered that to get him to stop the car I had to make it a loud direct request (he's hard of hearing). I couldn't say, "I'm hungry, oh look there's a McDonalds...") This was the equivalent of saying, "Doesn't that McDonalds have a nice drive through?" I had to say, "I want to stop at McDonalds. The sign says take the next exit..."

You'd think after nearly 13 years we'd have that communication thing July he had a couple weeks off so on the nice days we'd drive off to the beach. On one very hot day when it was 90 all over (this is hot for England), we left the beach early (because he didn't like the wind), but I didn't want to go home to cook in a brick house so I said, "It's too hot to go home, lets go to that park outside Bury St Edmund." He didn't look thrilled, but he didn't say he didn't want to go. After getting lost and wasting a lot of expensive petrol driving blindly through the middle of no where, by the time we found the park we were starving, so we went off to find something to eat. We get back to the park and I open the door to get out of the car (to eat our picnic) and he says, "I'm not getting out of the car." (which was getting hot in the shade) he then mentioned he didn't want to come to the park because of his allergies... "Why didn't you say that an hour ago?"
"Because you insisted I take you to the park." After a silent lunch (I was mad we'd wasted all that gas for nothing), but we ended up laughing about it before we left for home. Next time I tell him I want to stop at a park I'll be sure to ask him if he actually wants to join me outside the car! Bless him, he gets a star for trying.
Isnt about every stop between phx and st george like that? haha!

it truly is a testament to you both that you made it through. this is the stuff good novels are made of. :)

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