So, like, welcome back!
I did survive finals week, in case you were wondering.
I wanted to thank your understanding and patience with a frequently requested blog:
the story of how Dawson and I met.
Every Fourth of July, our hometown would host a festival called “Heritage Days,” and this 5k was the kick-off.
In 2014, the summer before my freshman year, I decided to support my dad and brother at the race. Running was my favorite sport to watch, and I loved aggravating my brother by cheering on my dad to dominate him.
That morning, I woke up semi-early and decided to get artsy. I threw on some eyeshadow, which I had no idea how to apply – thank goodness there are no pictures of that day. To emphasize how totally Elle Woods I was, I grabbed a hot pink sequin tank top and denim shorts.
When I approached my body mirror, I thought about how high school I must have looked. I mean, Taylor Swift would rock this look! Right?
Before I could dart out of the door, I applied buckets of sunscreen. So what if the sun wasn’t up – I could still get sunburnt.
Once I reeked of SPF, I knew I was ready to head to the East Side Park, where Heritage Days occurred.
I was running kind of late and decided to soccer mom it, which got me to a good cheering spot before my family would have passed it.
There, I saw my dad and brother and kept rooting for my dad to smack down Chance.
Comically, I attempted to catch them crossing the finish line. My thong sandals were putting in some work as I ran with a horrifying technique.
Out of breath, drenched in sunscreen sweat, I made it to the finish line. Chance and my dad had already crossed and waited for me to catch my breath.
Once I recovered from my 50-yard sprint, that most would classify as a jog, Chance mentioned wanting a stack of pancakes. Disgusting.
As we headed towards the breakfast line, my dad saw someone he knew: Jon Furnish.
I knew Jon as a softball coach. His daughter, Reese, was on my All-Star team, where Makinnah and I would chant a Reese’s Puff song at her.
As my dad chatted with Jon, my eyes fell on a scrawny boy standing next to him.
The boy had stringy, long hair that was dangling over his head. His shoulders hunched over, his head ducked down, and his hands gripping to the bottom of his dingey, white t-shirt. He was sporting white socks that reminded me of my grandpa, paired with running shoes and uncomfortable looking gym shorts.
His legs were crossed, which looked kind of awkward. “Maybe that’s how high school boys stand,” I thought. Now, I realize he had the after run runs.
His eyes never looked up, and mine never wavered from him.
In that moment, as I stared at him, something washed over me.
I think it was God pointing me to him, some may argue it was a Joe Goldberg feeling, but I felt so content. My body flooded with warmth, my eyes got a little teary, my cheeks flushed as I became shy, and a smile curled on my lips.
This boy was going to be my boyfriend.
When school started two months later, I was on the lookout for Dawson.
Within the first week, I realized that I passed him waiting to enter class after my history class. He still hadn’t noticed me, but he was all I thought about!
Every day when I got home, I would pick out an outfit for the next day where I would maybe, hopefully strike a conversation with Dawson. This may sound like an easy or mundane task, but guys, does he want me to be the girl with the short skirts or the t-shirts? He needed to belong with me!
Finally, on August 12th, I threw on a black shirt with a back zipper and mesh sleeves (something that sat in my closet with a hole for years because of the memory tied to it.) I picked up a cross necklace, held it, and thought, “Chloe, you could die today. Do you want to die without talking to him?”
After history class, I walked up to him. He was staring down – why does this dude love the ground so much? – and hadn’t noticed me standing next to him.
My heart was racing; my palms were sweating; my friends were staring at me.
“I like your shirt!”
I blurted before I even looked at his outfit.
His head darted up, his eyes were wide, as he hesitantly replied,
I giggled and scurried away, staring at my friends with excitement like I just kissed the guy. I mean, I did tell him his burgundy v-neck, probably $5 shirt, was nice! That’s probably almost a kiss!
When I caught up with my friends, they were chuckling while celebrating my victory. I looked back over my shoulder and noticed him staring at me with a confused expression.
My head flew back to point straight, and I thought about how that was straight out of a movie.
As the days passed, I would try to speak to him once or twice a week. I interpreted these conversations as me being badass, while he viewed them as talking to a girl with a humorous crush on him.
On my Birthday, September 12th, I curled my hair, danced my way into high-rise jeans, and naturally threw on a pink shirt.
That day, I had a field trip, and Dawson would be there, too!
All-day, I kept my eyes peeled for him.
When we went to lunch, I spotted him on the other side of Pizza Hut. “Hey!” I squealed, and he replied with a short nod.
Best. Birthday. Ever.
That same night, there was a football game. As my friends checked out the players’ butts, I was drooling over the band kid with a trombone.
We made eye contact, and my heart melted.
That encounter apparently pleased him – I knew pink was the way to go – because he asked for my number.
AHHH, this boy was going to be my boyfriend!!!
Only he wasn’t. Not yet, at least.
We texted over the course of a few weeks, but he wasn’t super responsive.
A few weekends later, Makinnah texted me and said she had terrible news.
Dawson had a girlfriend that was in the band with him.
When I read the text, I started sobbing to “Stolen Dance.” A song I wouldn’t listen to for years after.
I really thought he was going to be my boyfriend. I really felt God was leading me to him.
Maybe I’ll be the high school girl who eats next to a dumpster.
That week, I saw him holding a girl’s hand. That was his new girlfriend, Eslin (I think you’re awesome now, girl!)
She and I were wearing the same jeans. I had no choice but to burn them.
When the weekend finally arrived, I fully embraced my heartbreak. I ate ice cream and watched The Other Woman, then scarfed down Cheeto Puffs while cheering to John Tucker Must Die.
The one thing that I learned from that movie was that Dawson would get his karma. “I hope he feels as bad as I feel one day,” I thought.
Then, he got cancer, and I felt like the world’s worst person.
Every night, I prayed that God would heal him and pleaded that I’d do anything to bring back his health.
As my prayers continued, so did life, and eventually, we were both single again. Dawson’s cancer was gone, and I was still praying that God would maintain his health because I totally sucked by wishing him hurt, and we texted again.
And finally, two years later, he was my boyfriend.
There was an awkward first date, a we-should-have-flossed first kiss – after missing each other’s lips – and so much more.
But all of that is a story for another time.
Side note: it didn’t work out the first time because Dawson just viewed us as friends and had met a great girl. He thought it wouldn’t work with us because he was a band person who wouldn’t get along with a jock.
Me? A jock??????
Dude, have you seen my sports stats! I’m Taylor Swift with a pinch of Elle Woods, not Jenny Finch!