After I refused to wear Tommy’s ring, he never came by to say goodbye.All summer he hardly crossed my mind. I was too busy having fun being a summer missionary. Our coordinator, John Witte, was kind and patient with us four, silly, college girls. The way he treated his wife and his children set the bar high for our future husband expectations. His name worthy, “witty” sense of humor cracked us up in the car!


Making VBS posters and helping coordinate the teaching material with a craft was a blast! Knocking on doors and inviting kids to Vacation Bible School was a bit scary in certain neighborhoods. One little boy wanted to know if he could bring his pet turtle to VBS.


When I got back at college my roommate, Judy Holland, was always making cool bulletin boards for her future classroom as a teacher. I loved kids, too, so I wondered if it was too late for me to change my Art major to Elementary Education. I made an appointment with the education department and I prayed for God’s intervention.


When I entered the professor’s simple office, the room felt, strangely, familiar. She pointed to the chair in front of her desk before I sat down. As she retrieved the papers I looked all around the room. The file cabinet, the paintings, the bookcase, and the neat desk I had seen all before . . .  somewhere.


What was this I wondered? Was this déjàvu? Was God letting me see a snip of my life He had seen long before the foundation of the world? Was this my confirmation?


 I think the professor was talking, but I couldn’t focus on her words, at first. I was enjoying the unearthly feeling in the room and I didn’t want it leave. Somehow, I forced myself to listen to her and I heard what I needed to hear. It was not too late to change my major but I would have to go to school a semester longer.  


Later, that evening, Judy and I were cutting out capital letter patterns from cardboard when the loud speaker blasted:  “Kathy, you have a caller!”


“A caller?” I said as I looked over at my roommate. Her surprised face mirrored mine. I ran my pick through my hair and blotted my oily face with a tissue! I ran to the bathroom with my toothpaste and tooth brush.


 “Do I look okay?” I asked Judy as I threw my toiletries in a drawer.

“You look pretty,” she said. “Who do you think it is?”

“I don’ know,” I said.

My heart pounded wildly as I walked fast down the long hall to the lobby. Slowly, I pushed open the door and there was Tommy looking out the front doors.


My feet moved like I was in a sloth marathon. Do I act glad to see him or be casual?  


“Hi! Did you call for me?” I asked.


He turned around with a big smile. “Hi there, beautiful, I was beginning to think you weren’t coming! It would serve me right if you didn't!”


The clock showed 9:20 PM.

“I wasn’t expecting you . . . or anybody else this late.”

“Sorry, I came over late. Do you want to sit and talk or takea walk?”

“I didn’t bring a sweater,” I said.


 We sat on a loveseat and got reacquainted. Tommy seemed impressed with my missionary endeavor but the déjàvu story spooked him. Forty minutes together felt like ten minutes before he had to leave. We headed toward the door and my dry mouth was worried he would kiss me. Sure enough he pulled me close and I molded into his arms like silly putty. His long, goodnight kiss was very nice!


He loves me!


Every evening in the parlor I wanted to talk and Tommy wanted to flirt or tickle! I wanted to hear about his dreams but he wanted to make-out! I wanted to go on simple walks but he disappeared on the weekends. The few things he did share with me made me realize he needed a professional listener. He said he didn’t think he’d live pass forty. I almost said it would take forty years for me to learn anything about him.


He loves me not!


At the end of our junior year he told me he was going to be a summer missionary out west. I was thrilled when he asked for my address and phone number. All summer I got lots of funny-romantic cards from him but he never wrote what he was doing. Toward the end of summer he surprised me when he wrote something about marriage and keeping me barefoot and pregnant.


He loves me!


The last day of my summer, waitress job, Tommy came into Hyde’s Restaurant where I worked.  He never told me he was coming so it was a nice surprise. He said he called my house to see what time I got off work because he wanted to pick me up to go meet his sister. All this time I didn’t know he had a sister living in my home town. He seemed exhausted and he didn't like my short hair cut.


He loves me, not.


A few days later when I got back to Cumberland College I was anxious to see Tommy and hear about his summer. I hoped he was rested up because he seemed on edge. I reread his cards again because they assured me we were falling in love.


He loves me?


When I saw Tommy’s grim reaper face in the lobby, I knew something was terribly wrong. Without speaking, he took my hand and we stepped outside into the cool, autumn breeze. We sat on a low, cement wall in silence while I waited for him to tell me what was on his mind.


I don’t know any of the details to this day about what happened to him but this is the little bit he told me that day. Evidently, when he got on the plane to fly home from his summer missionary job, he met a girl on the plane and he ended up going home with her.


He loves me, not!