“And this is Randy Rogers…” Grant explained as he turned up the volume on my car radio. He had hooked up his Ipod to my system and was letting me listen to what he called, “real” country music.
Grant had gradually been introducing me to the world of Texas Country since we had started dating, but this was the first time we’d ever been able to listen to it together.
I loved it. It was so different than Nashville Country, and I found it really refreshing.
We were driving down I-17, headed to Charleston to do some Christmas shopping. Grant had never been to Charleston before and I had told him that we HAD to go together while he was in town.
Grant also thought it would be a good idea for just the two of us to get away for a day. It was the morning after our talk in the cemetery where I had shared with Grant how I had been feeling disconnected from him.
Grant decided it was time to just have some fun hanging out together.
After all, isn’t that what dating couples are supposed to do?
We went downtown and spent the entire day there. I showed Grant all my favorite shops and restaurants.
We ate lunch at a chicken place that I had never eaten at before. I was planning on taking Grant somewhere else but when we passed by, Grant saw the chicken on the sign and said it reminded him of a restaurant in College Station called Layne’s Chicken and he insisted that we had to check it out.
I loved the way Grant took initiative even in small things like that and didn’t make me choose everything.
We sat across from one another and Grant talked with me about theology and football and Texas.
He asked me so many questions about what it was like growing up in Beaufort, growing up in a pastor’s family, and going to Clemson.
I stopped worrying about being “disconnected” and instead found myself answering questions and laughing and learning things about Grant that I didn’t know before.
We went for a walk on the Battery and Grant told me so many funny stories. You would think that after four months of non-stop talking, we would have already run out of things to talk about, but we never did.
And that was the thing – I always had fun talking with Grant. I enjoyed his company.
In the past, I had been used to thinking up things to say on dates to keep the conversation flowing. But with Grant, it was so different. I never had to “think up” anything to say, conversation just flowed naturally.
I thought about the fact that Grant could have made the day stressful by holding against me what I had said to him the day before, but he didn’t.
If he had been the one to tell me that he felt “disconnected,” I most likely would have been an emotional wreck for the rest of his visit.
But that’s what I loved about Grant, while we were alike in so many things, he was also different than me.
I could lean on him. He was strong. He was steady. He wasn’t easily swayed.
Towards the end of the day, we were walking down King Street, headed back to where we had parked the car when Grant stopped in front of a store window to look at something inside. I stopped too and stared at him.
He looked so tall and lean. As he stood there, I watched as several guys passed by him. They were typical S.C. boys wearing khakis, S.C. belts, rainbows, colored polos, croakies, and visors over shaggy hair (if you are from S.C., you know exactly the look I’m talking about). I have absolutely nothing against this look, but as they passed by I couldn’t help but notice the difference.
My Grant was standing there in dark jeans with a rugged brown belt. He of course had his cowboy boots on just like he did the day I first met him when I was sixteen. His shirt was a dark color and his Marine hair-cut that I had always thought was way too short, looked so sharp.
He looked rugged. He looked strong. He looked like a real man and not a school boy.
I felt safe and protected with him.
As I stood there staring, I suddenly remembered a conversation that I’d had with my mom a year or so before. I wasn’t dating anyone at the time and my mom said, “GraceAnna, you need a guy who is godly, a hard worker, has a heart for ministry; someone who is steady and knows how to draw you out, and… someone who is funny.”
“Sounds like the perfect guy, I hope he’s out there.” I remember saying.
“Well, God’s best is always better than anything you can imagine,” she responded.
I thought about that as I stood there staring at Grant on the street. He was all those things. All those qualities that I couldn’t imagine one man possessing.
Grant turned towards me and caught me staring. He smiled, “You ready to head out?“
“Yes,” I blushed as my heart skipped a beat. Suddenly I wasn’t feeling so disconnected anymore.
We walked to the car together as my mom’s words echoed in my mind, “God’s best is always better than you can imagine.”
“I just want you to know that I’m not feeling so disconnected anymore,” I said as I reached over and touched his arm.
Grant didn’t look at me but I saw an ever faint smile creep onto his face. He reached over and touched my hand. I felt the roughness of his callouses as a shot of something raced through my fingers.
No, not disconnected at all.
to be continued…