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We followed our first date with walks from Spanish to Chapel, a quieter game night with my roommate, and walks around town, the night making honesty a bit easier. A few weeks later, Nate invited me to go to NC/DC (think American Idol between Northwestern and Dordt) with some of his friends. While I quickly said yes, this one made me nervous.
First there was the issue of going to a campus event. Whether warranted or not, many assumptions are made when a girl and guy are seen together at Northwestern. I was concerned that others would wonder why in the world Nate was wasting his time with me. Such a rational moment! Then there were his friends...let's just say I was quite intimidated and knew if I messed up with these guys, I wouldn't last very long. (I'm quite a professional pressure creator.)
Nate and I walked over to the Bultman Center with the canned goods we needed to get into the event, and I tried my best to act much cooler/put together than I felt. Nate's friend was running behind, so Nate put Michael's canned good in a potted plant for safe keeping while we went in to get seats, laughing at the quirky things we could get away with at a small school.
Before long Michael and a few others joined us on the bleachers in the dark gym and listened to the performers. I made a timely Office joke, Michael laughed, Nate looked and me and smiled. I counted it as a win.
After the show we went back to the boys' dorm to play games and meet up with Ryan and Julia, two more people I knew Nate deeply valued. The group conveniently chose to play Like Minds, a partner game in which you score points by listing the same answers without communicating. Thankfully Nate and I thought similarly enough to hold our own, and I refrained from throwing anything (an accomplishment, if you've read Part IV).
As Nate walked me back to my dorm that evening, more than friends yet not quite dating, I had a much greater appreciation for Nate and his two best friends. I didn't know them well, but I wanted to. And I hoped they thought the same.
* * *
Five years ago to the day, we were with Ryan and Julia again and missing Michael and Jenny. God continues to do something wonderful with the friendship of these men and now their wives, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it! Ryan and Julia, Michael and Jenny, tonight we're thankful for you.
|Missing Michael & Jenny|