I asked Leigh Anne to write her side of this story. Again, this is one of her favorite stories. She likes to count how many shades of red I turn as she tells it. Without further ado, here is her side of things….
I met Luke for the first time in the summer of 2012. As he already mentioned, I came to PFO to meet some of the new staff. It was a year of transition, many of the veteran teachers had left at the end of the previous school year. Suddenly, I was one of the oldest and most experienced teachers at the school and I had only been there for one year! I highly valued the friendships with the teachers who were in Kabul for so long, they were able to guide me through the many cultural issues of Afghanistan and I would have been lost without them. So, when a bunch of fresh out of college kids were heading our way, I was excited and also a bit nervous. I was also still dealing with the feelings of loss from so much change. Annnnnnd… when I found out there were already several budding romantic relationships starting at PFO, I think I just got annoyed. They were not thinking about what would happen if these relationships didn’t work out. On the compound there would be no escape. They are about to be living, working, traveling, worshipping, playing, rooming and everything else with these people for the next year. Trust me, after one month on the compound they would know if they wanted to date that person! All of our lives intertwined and affected one another more than any other place I’ve lived. It was wonderfully messy at times but incredibly life giving too.
So, when I met Luke and knew that he was interested in/dating someone at PFO, I wrote him off as young, immature and impatient.
Fast forward to the fall of that year. It was an unusually peaceful time in Kabul and school got off to a great start. I didn’t have a ton of interaction with Luke because he was on the administrative side of things and I was teaching second grade. Fall break was
coming up and a group of us decided to go to Goa, India. Over the course of the trip, I realized I had made some assumptions about Luke that were wrong. We had some good conversations but he was still in the friend zone and, let’s be honest, the “you remind me of my kid brother” zone. I mean, he’s 4 years younger than me and he was talking about other girls he was interested in during one of our rides in a tuk tuk. It was far from my mind that he was interested in me or would be in the coming months.
Over the next few months we slowly became friends. Most, if not all, of this time was through group hangouts, which makes the night on the rooftop that much more unexpected. Here’s my side of the story.
One spring night a group of us were planning to hangout on the roof. Luke and I met up and we waited for the rest of our friends to join us. We played some video games to pass the time and eventually decided to go up to the roof to wait. This was the first time we hung out by ourselves. One by one, our friends cancelled on us. In the back of my mind I wondered if they did it on purpose. I silently wondered if I should cut the evening short but we were having a good conversation, so I didn’t say anything and we stayed up there longer. It was one of those conversations that just goes in all directions but you don’t mind because it is really easy to talk to the other person and you really feel like they are listening to you. It was getting late and I remember thinking, again, that I should probably go home. However, before I had the chance to leave, out of nowhere Luke says, “I’m going to try something.” It is important at this point to know two things. 1.) At this point in my life I had never had a boyfriend or kissed anyone. 2.) When I did finally kiss someone, I wanted it to be memorable like a good chick flick and catch me completely off guard. But in that moment my first thought was, I’m going to punch him in the face if he kisses me. Thankfully all he did was awkwardly put his arm around me for what felt like 10 years. I honestly don’t know how we got out of that situation but we eventually did. The worst part for me in all of this was that I had invited people over for breakfast the next morning and yes, Luke was one of the guests. Do I tell him not to come? How are we going to be normal after this? What is it going to be like at school on Monday? I made up my mind before we said good night that I was never going to bring it up to Luke and I definitely wasn’t going to tell anyone else on the compound what just happened. If Luke wanted to talk about it, he could bring it up. He came to breakfast the next morning and we somehow got over the initial awkwardness. A month or so later, we went on a spring break trip to Abu Dhabi and even then we didn’t bring it up. Neither one of us talked about it again until 6 months later when Luke brought it up in the Dubai airport on the way home from the next year’s fall break trip. I like to say that Luke liked me so much that he followed me all over the world, but that’s a story for another blog post. 🙂