The human heart is a mystery. We don’t know truly how it works, how it changes, how our wills or feelings are moved. We just see the results in our actions and in others’ actions. No one can predict where it will go; it is like the wind. Moreover, we cannot determine or will that it move at a particular pace. All we can do is wait and watch for its movements.
Jeremy’s heart is slow-moving. I have found, over the course of knowing Jeremy, that mine is much quicker than most, and certainly is quicker than his. In my imagined story of meeting my husband, his heart was faster than mine. That shows you just how much I know myself—or how much I did at the time, anyway.
But my relationship with Jeremy did not begin as I’d hoped for because in the beginning, he did not care for me as I did for him. The first few discussions we had about dating were peppered with tears and frustrations on both sides about differing expectations of what dating each other would be like.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate the beginning of our relationship. For the celebration of our first month of dating, Jeremy picked me a flower. We were driving into Denver, and Jeremy had forgotten we’d been dating for a month. That was not surprising, as he wasn’t even that excited to celebrate “monthiversaries” with me anyway—he looked at me funny when I mentioned it, so I didn’t expect much.
Nevertheless, on the day of, I reminded him, cautiously, that today, August 28th, was the marker of our one month of dating.
“Really?” Jeremy said.
“Yup,” I said. I couldn’t tell if he was excited or concerned that I remembered.
We happened to be driving past a whole block of flower shops just at that moment, and Jeremy, noticing the shops said, “Would you like a flower?”
“Um, sure,” I said smiling.
“I mean, anyway, I’d like to photograph those signs,” he motioned to the neon store fronts, “so let’s park, okay?”
We pulled off into a parking lot and got out of the car. Jeremy slung his camera bag over his shoulder, shutting his door. We walked to the cross walk and waited. Jeremy chatted about neon signs and how much he enjoyed taking photos of them while the cars waited for us to cross.
We walked on the sidewalk, and we passed one flower shop on our right. We stopped in front of “Mary-Claire’s Flower Boutique” so Jeremy could take a photograph of its sign, but he didn’t make any motion to go inside. Then Jeremy took off down the sidewalk and I followed him.
“That’s odd,” I thought. “Maybe we’ll go into another shop.”
We kept walking and passed another flower shop, and then another. We stopped to take a photograph of another sign and kept walking until we got to the end of the block.
He pulled out his camera to get another shot. He focused carefully and I stared back down the street at all the flower shops we hadn’t entered. I heard the camera click.
“Well, I guess that’s it,” Jeremy said, looking up from the lens. With that, he turned around, walking back toward the flower shops and the car. My heart beat as I followed him.
We passed one flower shop and another until finally we were standing out in front of Mary-Claire’s. Jeremy looked into the window and then down toward the pavement. I followed his eyes. In the middle of the cement sidewalk was a flower bed.
Jeremy looked at me and asked, “So do you still want a flower?”
I laughed. “Sure,” I said, “if you want to give me one.”
He reached down and picked a pink daisy from out of the pavement.
“Here,” he said smiling.
“Oh. Thanks,” I said.
We walked back toward the car, down the sidewalk, across the road, and into the parking lot. He unlocked the car and started to open the door, then paused—
“Well, in the interest of full-disclosure,” he said, “I want you to know that I did mean to buy you a flower from one of those shops.” He stopped and tried to read my face. Then he continued: “But honestly, I’ve never bought a flower from a shop before and thought it might be really expensive. So that’s why I didn’t.”
I nodded and got into the car. He sat down, shut the door, and buckled his seat belt.
“Oh,” I said. “Well, thanks for telling me.”
He started the car and backed out of the parking lot and back onto the main road.
“You know, single flowers aren’t that expensive though,” I said.
“Oh, really?” he said. “Huh.”
We made three stops that day, and I left the wild daisy in the car in between. It was 80 degrees outside that day, so each time we returned to the car, we found the daisy more and more dried out. By the time we got back into the car to drive an hour home, the daisy had lost all its leaves and all but two of its dried, shriveled petals. I laughed out loud when I saw it.
The next time I saw him, Jeremy brought me four roses from his mother’s garden that he’d cut himself in a bottle filled with waters and rocks. I still have the bottle.
And this is how we slowly, slowly grew together.