2007-12-30

By Popular Demand

It was encouraged that I post the following story. I'm not really sure how this story continues to find itself in conversation, I don't even know why I last told it. However, I hope you enjoy reading it, because I find no joy in telling it.

THE WORST HANDSHAKE EVER

I was in love with a girl named Jamie Johnson.

During my days at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, MO, I served as the weekend Jr. High Pastor at a church in Tulsa, OK. 110 miles one way for two and a half years. However that is an entirely different story that someday needs telling, but for right now let's focus.

Now my church worked very well with a community of other churches, especially among the youth ministries. And our youth groups attended Sunset Bible Camp outside of Tulsa each year, in back woods Mannford.

It was there that I first met Jamie. Jamie's father is the youth pastor for Osage Hills Christian Church, for some 50 years, or at least a long time. One of the coolest guys I have ever met. Jack Bauer reminds me of him, if Jack Bauer was a faithful youth pastor in Tulsa.

Having grown up at Sunset camp Jamie returned each summer to hang out and serve the students as a sponsor. It was my second summer at camp that I first got to know Jamie. The first summer I was a little shy and too intimidated to talk with her, because honestly Jamie was gorgeous, definitely out of my league. And I'm not being coy here. Seriously I am very good looking and definitely a catch, but even still I wasn't in Jamie's league.

But that second summer Jamie and I connected over a shared interest in the boy band N'Sync. Particularly how we had both just seen the Making the Video for the song Pop. Later we became an incredibly feared team at the card game Spades. I declared her my Sandbag Queen and I was her Captain Nil. Jamie is one of the funniest people I have ever met and we laughed whenever we got together. She had a story about a foreign exchange student at her college that is one of the greatest stories I've ever heard. And apparently I'm a fun guy to hang with and have a decent sense of humor. Some thought we were a great duo.

Jamie and I hung out quite a bit that summer as well as the following fall. It became evident that I was ready to lasso the moon for Jamie and that I was completely head over heels for her. And while I had called her up (early in the week) and asked her to dinner and a movie I failed to ever qualify it as a date. I keep chickening out. All my potential dates turned into "hey, do you want to hang out this Friday?" I really loved hanging out with her and thought that surely she would reject me thereby making the friendship awkward. More than anything I didn't want to lose the friendship. And because I am the worst at reading the signals I could never make out in my mind what Jamie thought of me.

My Ozark friends keep telling me that there had to be a connection, she did agree to hang out me with. My Tulsa friends never seemed to give any response, but they nicknamed me Captain Cluck and told me that I should be more bold.

Here is where the story really starts.

At the end of 2001 I resigned from the church and had accepted a ministry position in North Carolina. Before hauling my life out east I had to finish out my time in Tulsa and say all my goodbyes and farewells with one final weekend. After all the church obligations I was hanging out at a couple of sponsors' apartment reminiscing about the past couple years. Eventually the conversation came around to Jamie and my pursuit of her, or lack thereof.

I left their apartment that night feeling bold and asking myself what did I have to lose. Jamie lived in the same apartment complex as them and since I hadn't seen her that weekend I called her up and stopped by her apartment. Now my plan was to make a goodbye statement that would make clear my intentions with Jamie. So that without any doubt Jamie would understand how I felt about her.

Now Jamie's roommate what a nut job and she and her boyfriend felt the living room was their personal make out space, except that their making out was not always limited to just kissing. So Jamie and I sat in her bedroom and retold tales and laughed. (Hanging out in the opposite sex's bedroom is not something I recommend, but trust me nothing happened...keep reading). My boldness though quickly began to waver, for at least two reasons. One: Jamie, who worked with all the beautiful people at Abercrombie & Fitch, had a huge poster of some ripped A&F dude on her wall. This only served to remind me that I was out of her league. Second: I really was Captain Cluck.

Sometime between 1 and 2 in the morning I decide it was time to make the drive back to Joplin, MO. Jamie and I stood outside her apartment door on the stairway balcony with the moon light competing against the street lamps. I knew this was my last chance. My mind was clear, I had my moves planned out. I was going to wrap my right hand around the back of Jamie's neck and my left around her waist, bring her close and plant my intentions on her lips. I knew that this kiss would span the distance of my upcoming move and surely we would could make a long distance relationship work.

While my head was clear, the wiring of my body was faulty. My right hand began to move toward Jamie, but not towards her neck, rather... I stuck out my hand and shook Jamie's hand goodbye. As my hand moved, everything began to progress in slow motion. My mind began to scream "What are you doing?! Don't shake her hand?! Are you an idiot?!" But I was stuck in a trance and could not control myself.

Shocked by what was happening I said, "I guess I see you later."

I turned around and walked down the stairs toward my car. As I sat down behind the wheel I quickly came up with a Plan B. I thought everything could be salvaged if I would just go back up to her apartment, knock on the door and restart my original plan without saying a word. I knew... this was a great plan, seriously how romantic is that? However I must have still been in my trance because all I could do was start my car and exit the apartment complex.

Before I knew it I was on I-40 making my final journey on the Roy Rogers Expressway. I couldn't think of anything to say or do. Nothing. My mind could do absolutely nothing but curse myself. So I began to swear. Again and again. I shouted every expletive known to man and a few more I made up. So lost was I in my complete failure as a man that I completely missed paying the toll. Something I didn't notice until I arrived home and still had my toll money sitting in my passenger seat.

A couple days later I called some Tulsa friends and asked about Jamie and if she had mentioned me at all. One Tulsa friend, Anita, replied that Jamie's words to her were, "Oh that Trevor." I never knew what that meant, and I never went back. However after a retelling of this tragedy to some friends a couple of years back they insisted that I find out what became of Jamie. We called Anita and learned that Jamie has since married.

So there you go. After sharing this I know that I'll never get a normal handshake from anyone, and the mocking may never cease, but...there you go.

This is the Captain speaking, and someday this chicken may just fly.

3 comments:

Rootd And Groundd said...

Well Trev, its out there now, for all the world to read. It is one of the saddest love-that-could-have-been stories i have ever heard. Props to you for sharing it.

racheld said...

Ditto, Duece!! I am so entertained!

bluedevi1dad said...

T-Rev, you're cracking me up with that remix version. I felt as though I was there with you - heck, I may as well have been...doesn't sound like I would have interfered.