I have been looking forward to writing this one. His name is David. Did you know David means “beloved”? And he was… at least by me. We were both freshman at BYU, in the same ward (Adam was in it too). He was one of five boys in the ward known as the Henderson boys, so I guess that was probably how I first knew who he was. I honestly can’t remember how it happened but we spent a fall afternoon lounging out on the grass at Helaman Halls getting to know each other. There were leaves all over the ground and one of them (I think he gave it to me?) ended up in my Book of Mormon. I kept that withered, cracking leaf in my Book of Mormon for years until it was only a stem. It’s still there.
I asked David to preference. It was the first time I ever took a guy on a date–not really my style, and I much prefer to be asked. But I liked him right away. I liked how much I connected with him. I felt like we had a lot of strong characteristics in common. He is independent, confident, smart, stubborn, driven, and doesn’t follow the crowd. Of course he had his softer side too, but he is a bold personality and for some reason it really appealed to me.
With David, it was all about highs and lows. I never had another relationship quite like it. The good times were amazing and the bad times were awful. It was rarely in the middle for me. We had some really terrible fights, but when he wasn’t frustrating me he was busy romancing the heck out of me. One day I came home to 3 dozen roses on my bed. Yes, he liked to go a little over the top, and I loved it. He then texted me: If I could see you that happy every day, I’d give you 36 roses every day for the rest of my life. I felt giddy about David, and it was so exciting to feel so much for someone. Because of that, I actually felt quite vulnerable while dating him. Technically, we dated for less than a year. But when I think about that time together, it feels so much bigger. My journal entries from that time flip-flop from extreme happiness to so unhappy I actually had stomach aches.
My freshman year of college was a very spiritual, testimony building year for me, and as David was new to the church, he was always struggling with putting God first in his life (or at least that’s what I remember). After having so many boyfriends that were lukewarm in their testimony, I was really just ready to have one who could be strong and have faith on his own and, for crying out loud, be strong for me once in a while.
David drove down to California during Christmas break to be with me for a little while. I was very excited for him to be there on my birthday. Actually it was one of my best adult birthdays. We went to Newport beach, ate at the Crab Cooker, and did some other fun things that I can’t remember. But it was a beautiful, fun day. I have another memory of sitting with David on a hill on campus. The weather was perfect and we were just happy, enjoying each other’s company. We could be goofy together, but I also liked how intelligent he was and how that challenged me.
We also spent a weekend at his parent’s house. We walked around the strip, went to see the Vegas temple, visited with his parents, cuddled, ate artichokes dipped in mayonnaise, and I slept in his sister’s flowery room (amazingly, I never met his sister, who lived in Salt Lake). I loved that time with him.
I loved David. I had said goodbye to a lot of mission-bound boyfriends, but as my mom pointed out, I cried pretty hard over this one. And I didn’t cry over anyone else. Marc came home after he left, I went out with Matt, saw some old boyfriends at their graduation, but I was actually still thinking about David. This is the only missionary I felt this way about. David called me from his mission a few times, and it made me uncomfortable that he chose to do that, and it also made me miss him all over again. His letters that summer were pretty incredible. He loved me, he loved my family, he loved my grandparents, he wanted to know all about everyone and every thing I did. We thought we would eventually get married.
Around August, David came home. I was shocked since I had prepared myself to not see him for 2 years. I was also afraid that he was using ‘medical reasons’ as an excuse to either come back to see me, or to just get away from a physically and emotionally exhausting mission. I still do not know if I judged him too quickly, or if it was really that necessary for him to come home. I sent him one last letter, and then saw him back at BYU, but I remember feeling nothing but disappointment. And disenchantment. Again, I felt those previous concerns of him needing me to carry him along in his faith. Now that it’s been 6 years and now that I have some new perspectives, I wonder if a mission was a good idea for such a new member. He had only been a member for a year or two, after all. He also had no support from his family–in fact, they disowned him completely and tried to dissuade him from having anything to do with the church. I was pretty much the only person he had in his life at one point.
We never dated again. I haven’t seen him in a very long time. We stayed in touch through facebook, and I found out he did lose his faith eventually. I tried to talk to him about it from afar, which seriously affected me. I cared about him, still felt for him, and wanted everything to work out for him. It actually plagued me beyond our conversation–I worried about him and missed him. And to this day I still wonder if he is the same person or if life is taking him in a totally different direction. I learned a lot from this relationship, and he is someone who affected me forever.