Jo told you about our road trip to the redwoods. What she didn't tell you is that the night before we left on our road trip I told her via text message (because I'm a wimp) that I liked her. She said that she thought I was the greatest thing ever and I fell asleep smiling.
By the time we got to the Redwoods I was completely, madly in love with her.
There were two problems.
2. Even though Jo said I was the greatest thing ever (which should have been enough, but wasn't) she never said she liked me back.
Once we got to Stout Grove I was so conflicted and frustrated by everything. Here I had the most beautiful girl in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I felt like I couldn't be happy. I felt like all my commitments to BYU and the honor code were keeping me from loving the one person I could laugh with. The one person I could just talk to about anything. The one person I could sit with in silence without any awkwardness. I felt like I couldn't love the one person I loved the most. As we walked through Stout Grove I was very quiet and distant because I wanted to stick it out and finish my last semester at BYU and follow all the rules and keep all my promises. But I wanted so much just to take her hand and never let go.
At some point during our meanderings in the grove, Jo walked ahead along the path and I stayed behind. After a while I made my way slowly up the trail until I met Jo on a bridge as she was coming back. We stood there a few moments. I may have asked her where she went. She probably told me she just walked far enough down the trail until she could see the river. We stood there a little longer. Me being quiet and awkward. Her, being beautiful and basically irresistible. That moment all I wanted to do was kiss her.
There we were in the middle of this gorgeous grove of giant trees on a bridge over stream. It would have been such an epic kiss. So romantic. So perfect. So absolutely memorable.
I didn't kiss her then.
I kept all my little desires pent up until a day or two later when we were somewhere in the middle of Nevada on our way home and I slid my hand up to hers and held it till our palms were sticky and sweaty.
A couple months after that (it was in October) I finally decided that waiting wasn't worth it anymore. BYU wasn't worth it enough to not kiss the girl of my dreams. It wasn't on a bridge in the redwoods. It was in her apartment in the dark and it was a fail. I kissed her. She didn't kiss me back.
I know she didn't kiss me because we had both agreed that we wouldn't kiss until I was done with BYU. She was willing to wait.
I never forgot about that time on the bridge when I could have kissed her and it would have been perfect.
Last weekend Jo and I had our second first kiss on a bridge over a stream in the Redwoods. And we exchanged rings inscribed with "being here is so much" because it really is. Being here is so much and everything seems to need us in this fleeting world. Us, the most fleeting. The first time we went to the Redwoods, I made Jo read that poem as we sat on the biggest log I've ever sat on. Those trees are sacred. They know what it means to love. And now, thanks to them, so do I.