During Lent this year, I am using the Rethink Church prompts to do a daily photo practice, and with each photo I also post some thoughts. Yesterday’s prompt was “Walk,” and when I started writing it, I went on and on and couldn’t stop. I ended up deleting most of what I had written, but the process got me thinking about so many walks in my life, so many walking partners, so many conversations during walks. And one of the most memorable was a walk I didn’t take.
In college, a boy asked me to go for a walk with him. I said yes, but then there was an ice storm. I grew up in the tropics, so I’d never seen an ice storm before. I didn’t even know such a thing was a possibility in the weather roster. I’d seen hail many times, one year even on Christmas Day, leading inevitably to everyone calling it a white Christmas. But the idea of the whole landscape being encased in ice was new to me.
Instead of going on the walk, then, we went to a bookstore. The ice must not have been covering everything, because we got in a car and drove there, and it wasn’t a treacherous drive, at least not that I recall. This non-walk bookstore trip took place thirty-four years ago this month, so I couldn’t be absolutely sure.
I still remember elements of the conversation we had that day, that boy and I. He told me about how chocolate was made, for example, and the conching process. We talked about the countries where we had grown up, 7000 miles apart. I think he told me about his grandmother. We talked about books we’d read. We were taking a class together, and I’m sure we talked about that.
It was a conversation we started that day and have continued until this day. Because, yes, Reader, I married him, two and a half years and many ups and downs after that first date.
We have walked hundreds of miles together since that day, many of them in beautiful places. But that non-walk first date started it all.