(This is the part of the story that is a bit of a blur and will go at a fast pace 'cause there isn't much to tell)
Over the next several weeks, I, thinking our first date to be a smashing success, began emailing back and forth with Tricia and calling her on the phone on occasion. We hung out a few more times over weekends through that early autumn.
One weekend, in early October, while the weather is always still warm and beautiful on the OBX, I borrowed a two seat kayak from my sister's workplace (hey KHK!) and took Tricia kayaking in the canals around her neighborhood. That was a good day. As I think back on this day (and others), I think how fortunate we were that Tricia could do these things, and how much we took them for granted...
We continued to hang out every few weeks all throughout the fall and winter months...all the while, my feelings for Tricia grew deeper. Her love for life and God, her amazing energy and spirit despite her illness, her incredible physical beauty...all of these things were, quite simply, moving my heart toward a very deep love. And, all the while I was unable/unwilling to tell her about all of my feelings for her, not knowing exactly how she felt about me, and not wanting to risk a growing friendship.
In December, I made the decision to take some time off from school...after 3 semesters at two different schools, I just did not have a clear picture of what I was supposed to be doing. I was still leading worship at the church, and I felt a growing sense that this might be what I was created to do, but I simply needed a break from school to figure it all out. 2001 started off with a sense of new beginnings for me, and I had high hopes for that my pursuit of Tricia would be rewarded.
Tricia was still finishing up the last of her high school (homeschool) classes, and by this time she had begun working at a local veterinarian/kennel (she has always loved animals). I was living with my parents again, and of course, this meant that I could see more of Tricia.
But, as winter began to warm into spring, I began to have the growing feeling that Tricia was not warming to my very obvious interest in her. I was pursuing her with all that I had, but I wasn't getting much feedback from her. We certainly enjoyed our time together, but I didn't have any proof that she was feeling the same as I...I was always the one who called and emailed or suggested that we do something together. I wasn't certain if it was simply her personality to not initiate anything, or if she was really not wanting anything more than what we had already...
By March, I was getting a frustrated. I had invested a lot of my heart into showing Tricia my feelings (again, without telling her as much), and it was becoming very evident that she was not interested.
By April, I made the decision to completely back off and stop the pursuit. I figured, by this point, that Tricia must know about my feelings for her...and, she had my phone number and knew how to get a hold of me if she decided to do so. I wasn't playing hard to get...I just decided that if IT was going to happen, I needed to just step back and let it.
That April was not an easy month for me...