We drove the six hours back to Missouri after spending all day Easter Sunday with my big extended family. We held hands in the car and laughed… A LOT. To this day that is one of my favorite things about Otey. He makes me laugh and more importantly… he laughs at me. That’s a wonderful trait in a partner.
Monday Otey was off to work like normal. I spent the day at his house preparing to take entries for that weeks college rodeo. We would make the short three hour drive down to Nixa, Missouri on Thursday. Monday evening I took entries for the rodeo, Tuesday evening took the trades, and that left me with a free day on Wednesday. Brandy (Ben’s now wife… girlfriend then) was going to school an hour away in Columbia, Missouri. Ben just so happened to be over there visiting Brandy on Wednesday evening, so Otey and I decided to go and have dinner with them. We also need to pick something up at Circuit City. That was the real reason for the hour drive but we figured we’d use that as an excuse to eat somewhere that didn’t have a drive through window. Little did we know how eventful the evening would turn out.
As soon as we arrived to town we headed to Circuit City. I don’t remember what we were there for… but I do remember maybe the most ANNOYING sales person on the planet trying to “help” us. I’m talking annoying… know-it-all but really knows nothing kind of sales person. Otey had finally had enough after ten minutes of receiving “help” and told the salesperson in a pretty straight up kind of way that we didn’t need his “help” anymore. We immediately headed out the door to my car. This is where I screwed up. This is where Otey and I had our very first disagreement.
Kathy: “Don’t you think you were kind of hard on that guy? You weren’t very nice.”
Otey: “What? I wasn’t rude at all. I just didn’t need his help anymore.”
As you can imagine… the discussion continued on as we climbed in the car and sat there waiting for the scheduled time to meet Ben and Brandy. I learned something that night. I learned that my husband will do anything possible to avoid conflict with a person that he loves. I learned that the thought of disappointing someone he loves scares him to death. I don’t remember exactly how the disagreement ended, but I do remember the most important thing that came out of it…
Otey told me that he loved me.
Less than three weeks in to our relationship, Otey told me that he loved me.
I loved him too…. but I didn’t say it.
I don’t know… I didn’t want him to think I said it just because he said it. I didn’t want to waste saying those words to him for the very first time. I already knew I would be with him forever… I just couldn’t bring myself to verbalize it in the parking lot of Circuit City after our very first disagreement.
But Oh Lord was I at peace. Funny how an argument can lead to the most peaceful feeling any person has ever experienced. I already knew in my heart that he loved me. He showed me daily in actions… but now he had said it.
HE LOVED ME.
We drove over to the restaurant and walked hand in hand to the door. I was wearing my very favorite Lucky jeans (which I still own… the waist wouldn’t fasten around one of my calves now) and a white ribbed boat neck sweater. I remember feeling pretty that night. Like most women, that was a rare thing for me. Otey made me feel that way. He opened doors for me… he held my hand… he looked me straight in the eye when I talked… he valued what I had to say… he loved me deeply and he showed it. That’s what made me feel pretty.
We sat through dinner and visited with Ben and Brandy. Otey rubbed my leg under the table and all I could think about was those three words…
I love you.
I wanted him to know I loved him too. I know he knew… but I wanted to say it to him. I wanted to be done eating and have Otey all to myself again. I wanted to tell him I loved him too.
We drove the hour back to Marshall after dinner and I remember the drive being quiet. We listened to the radio and just enjoyed being together. Content. That is the only word that truly described the atmosphere. Just content.
Before bed that night Otey came in his room to tell me goodnight (poor guy was doomed to the living room futon) and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I hugged him and told him that I loved him. I told him that I had never felt this way about anyone and that I was completely head over heels in love with him. I told him I knew I loved him that very first night sitting at his kitchen table. It was like pure joy, excitement, contentment, relief, panic, and raw emotion all zipped up in one perfect little package. This day was it.
This was the start of our forever.
To be continued…