love

Our Love Story: Part 10, The Goodbye

Here’s the thing about this love story of ours. It’s long. And drawn out. And mushy gushy. And even a bit cheesy. But it’s true. And I’ve decided to take my time writing it, capturing all the special details of those moments I never want to forget. So if mushy-gushy, cheesy love stories aren’t your thing, I totally get that. Just know that I’m writing this as a gift—to my family, and my children, and their children—and also, for Ben and me—so that on those days when the kids are screaming, the laundry is overflowing and the bills are rolling in…on those days when it all just seems so hard, we’ll have this to remind us of those first moments when we fell in love. And if sappy, detail ridden love stories are your thing, well then you’ve come to the right place. All previous chapters can be found here.

***

I didn’t say much on that last night.
I suppose I was too afraid of what I might confess.
Of promises I might try to make.
Of feelings I wasn’t certain were reciprocated.

My mind and body were at odds with one another as we continued down the path towards the ocean.
My heart was racing, nearly beating out of my chest–and my adrenaline was through the roof.
But my body was inching along–each foot struggling to put itself in front of the other.
Almost as if reaching the end of that path represented the end of this moment. Our moment.
And I was delaying getting there with every ounce of my being.

Ben was quiet too.
Holding my hand a bit tighter than usual.
Pausing more frequently along the path to place a gentle kiss on my head.
And occasionally giving my hand two firm squeezes…followed by a deliberate pause…and then one more firm squeeze.
He wasn’t saying “I (squeeze) Love (squeeze) You (squeeze)“–he was making that clear with his purposeful pause before the third squeeze.
More like he was trying to say ” I love….{pause}…what this could have been”.

And that was the biggest tragedy of this Summer Love.
What could have been…

***

We reached the end of the path and sat down at a picnic bench perched just on the edge of the bluffs.
The mist from the waves barely reached the tips of our noses and I can still remember the exact smell of the ocean on that fateful night.
Intoxicating.

Our knees were touching, hands intertwined, and my head was leaning on his shoulder.
Sigh…
Me: Can I ask you to do something for me?
Ben: Anything.
I reached to the inside pocket of my coat and pulled out my small bound journal.
Me: Will you write something for me…you know, to remember you by?
Ben: Are you afraid you’ll forget me?
Me: I couldn’t. Not ever.
He reached for the journal, pulled the pen out of the binding and opened to the first blank page he could find.
Me: I’m just looking for a piece of you. Something tangible, for when your over 1,000 miles away. I just know my words about you won’t be enough.

He looked up and smiled.
He had already written a few sentences without pausing.
A few minutes later he was done. He closed the book, put the pen back in the binding and then handed it over. Immediately I started to flip to the page he had just written, but he quickly grabbed my hand.

Ben: Don’t.
Me: What do you mean?
Ben: Save it. For when I’m gone.
I swallowed back tears and nodded my head.

***

We were back at my apartment door when Ben gave his final plea.

Ben: I don’t want this to be goodbye.
I was trying my best to keep the tears that had been building in my eyes from spilling out onto my cheeks. But there was no hiding my sadness, my heartache. Ben took his thumb and wiped away the first drop as it fell.
Ben: So what I’m saying is…I need to see you tomorrow.
I looked back at him, confused.
Ben: I want you to come to the airport. One final goodbye…one last kiss. Will you do that?
Me: Of course. But what about your brother?
Ben: I’ll call you as soon as he drops me off and then you can come straight over. My flight leaves at 2:30. I’ll call you by 1:30. We can hold hands for an entire hour.
He gave me a silly grin. I smiled.
Ashley: Then I’ll wait for your call.

Then he leaned in and kissed me.
Like he meant it.
Like he wanted it to last forever.
I kissed him back, and the world around us disappeared for a moment.
Everything was hanging on this kiss.
And it was perfect.

I was smiling now.
Even though I knew the airport goodbye tomorrow would be much tougher than tonight.
Even though I knew we were just prolonging the inevitable.

So when he kissed my forehead,
headed back to his car
then turned over his shoulder
with the sweetest smile on his face and said “I’ll call you tomorrow”…
How could I have known he wouldn’t call?

Source: wanelo.com via Ashley on Pinterest

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50 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura Rahel
    March 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Geesh, you sure know how to pull at the heartstrings with your writting! Seriously, you’re fantastic. I would say I wish the story weren’t real, it’s that sad right now, but we all know how it ends so good for you girl 🙂

  • Reply
    Kayla
    March 14, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I’m ADDICTED to this love story! And you always leave it hanging! He doesn’t call?! Ahhh I need to know what happens next!

  • Reply
    Kayleigh
    March 14, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I’ve been obsessively reading this story from the beginning! I’m dying to find out why he didn’t call. I mean, I know it all worked out, but I’m loving reading the whole story. Please please PLEASE post more often!!!

    • Reply
      brenda
      March 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      AMEN.NOT SO LONG BETWEEN CHAPTERS,PLEASE.

  • Reply
    megan doubrava
    March 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I love all your posts but your love story is by far my favorite! I cant get enough! I cant wait to hear the rest! I feel like you should post it every day 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    You can’t leave us hanging!!!! “How could I have known he wouldn’t call?” He didn’t call?!?!?! OMG!!!! Please let us know what happens next!! Love these posts! Love all of your posts!

  • Reply
    Brittney
    March 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I love this. Thank you for sharing your story with us. In the last couple of months I’ve been a little uninspired. I’ve let my blog slip through the cracks of my crazy life. I’d forgotten how good it felt to write it all down. I came across your blog yesterday (by accident) and read all of your love story posts in one setting. Your writing is so honest; you don’t old back any details. It is truly inspiring. I have a renewed excitement about writing again and I can’t thank you enough! Keep the stories coming! I can’t believe he didn’t call! I bet you were crushed! I can’t wait to read the rest!! -Brittney

  • Reply
    Ashley
    March 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Shut the front door.
    Can’t wait for the next part. I don’t even remember how I came across your blog, but I love it. Thank you for sharing your love story.

  • Reply
    ali
    March 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    WAIT!! Can you write the next installment tonight and post it tomorrow? I feel like this is the most amazing “novel” and I don’t want to put it down! Haha. 🙂

  • Reply
    tejae
    March 14, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    oh no you did not leave me hanging like that!!! LOL!

    so in love with your love story.

  • Reply
    elise
    March 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    You kill me every time. Like, really, you’re way too good at this cliffhanger thing.

  • Reply
    Brenda
    March 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    No fair. I wanna read more more. This is such a GREAT love story! Just like Ali said, I honestly feel like I’m reading a novel!

  • Reply
    Sonia
    March 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Ahh! You’re kiilin me, Smalls! You are SO talented… Please, please don’t keep us hanging for too long.

    PS
    I still think this should be a movie.

  • Reply
    Valerie
    March 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    OH my goodness! Please write a romance novel. Please? I felt like I was in a Nicholas Sparks novel! This is such a SWEET story and you certainly left me wanting to know more. You’re adorable and such a wonderful mama and wife. Love your blog 🙂

    p.s. please hurry with part 11~

  • Reply
    shannon
    March 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    This should be a book. I would read it straight through until the end! I am dying inbetween your posts. I want to read more!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    March 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    You are killing me by ending it there! I hope you post the next part soon. You have also inspired me to write my own love story. I think my girls will live having it written someday and need to do it before I start to forget some of the details.

  • Reply
    Kenyon
    March 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I’m going to die. Really.

  • Reply
    Jen
    March 15, 2013 at 1:57 am

    I love this story so much!

  • Reply
    Jess Williams
    March 15, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Ahhhh! I’ve been waiting and waiting to hear the rest of the goodbye! So intrigued for what’s next! It’s a good thing I know you two end up together otherwise I don’t know what I would do 🙂

  • Reply
    Janel
    March 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I just love reading your story. I have been waiting to read more and more about your love story. It is definitely such a sweet love story 🙂 I can’t wait to hear the rest of the goodbye… which.. is obviously not.. since you both are together 🙂

  • Reply
    michelle
    March 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Oh my goodness! I’m your Momma and I can’t wait to read what’s next! xoxo

  • Reply
    Kate
    March 16, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Oh I want to know what he wrote!

  • Reply
    annie andersen
    March 16, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    This breaks my heart =( I’m glad I know the ending or I don’t think I could handle these cliffhangers! Wish I could write like you!

  • Reply
    Marlee
    March 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Ah! Please just write a book so I don’t have to put it down! You are an amazing writer. Keep them coming 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica K
    March 17, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Note to self – don’t get involved in the great love story until you see the end has been posted! ARGH!!! Awesome story!

  • Reply
    Tracy
    March 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I need more! I’m sobbing over here!!

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    March 18, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Seriously addicted! Can’t wait for the next part!
    P.S: your kids are adorable!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Deidre Reinhart
    March 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I am So in love with this story and dying to hear how it ends…the torture…the waiting…YOU ARE KILLING ME! 😉

  • Reply
    Marie
    March 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Ashley, I am at tears reading your love story! Thank you so much for sharing this with the rest of us; now I know that true love really does exist. And I think that’s what we all needed to hear 🙂
    Can’t wait for the next entry! <3

  • Reply
    Britt
    March 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I agree with everything everyone is saying! It is such a delight to read your story as it unfolds, but it is so hard to be patient in between posts! I suppose that’s part of the fun, though…I’m trying to have a positive attitude about it 😉

  • Reply
    Emily Jones
    March 21, 2013 at 1:17 am

    If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s real life love stories! Please continue!! I’m dying to know what happens next. PS you have a gift for writing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    witchycrazymommy
    March 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Just got crazier! Urgggghhh! Love your writing, hope to see a paperback in your future 😉

  • Reply
    Melissa
    April 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Just finished all 10 parts of your love story and can’t wait to read the rest. You have an amazing talent with your writing, better than some novels I’ve read and that much better that it’s a real love story.

  • Reply
    H. Horne
    April 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Ugh! Cliff-hanger? Ugh!!!

  • Reply
    Jackie
    April 11, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Ahrg! Where’s part 11?!?!? I am loving your story-great romantic story that it is! When’s the next part coming out? I can hardly wait!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    April 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    This story is amazing!! You have a way with words and I can’t get enough – bring on the next series, please!!

  • Reply
    Cara
    April 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    It’s April – it’s time!!!! Please! I found you on Pinterest about how to curl hair, then identified with your secret and was sucked into everything else fascinating, but this is by far my FAV part of it. I do love all the help about the children too – but please post number 11! I look forward to this every month lol

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    April 18, 2013 at 2:55 am

    I love your love story. I get excited every time I see that you’ve added a new chapter. Can’t wait to read the next one.

  • Reply
    Dede
    April 20, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Love this! Can’t wait for the next installment!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    April 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I loved reading these. I felt like I was reading a novel; you are an amazing writer! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Reply
    Marianne
    April 30, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Can’t wait for the next chapter!!!

  • Reply
    Sarah W.
    May 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    You’re due to fill us in on some more of your story! 🙂

    • Reply
      Ellie Murphy
      May 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      I just found the love stories and I can’t believe I’ve already caught up! I’m dying for the next chapter! As I don’t think I could wait months for a new update in the story!

  • Reply
    Irlanda Ruiseco
    May 20, 2013 at 1:41 am

    C’mon! you are taking too long! My friend and I started reading your love story and couldn’t stop. We really need more.

  • Reply
    Jenna
    May 25, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    OH MY GOSH WRITE MORE SOON PLEASE!!!

  • Reply
    Tracy
    May 26, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Can you please write another post!!!

  • Reply
    Liv
    May 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Cannot wait for the next installment!!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    May 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    WHAT?! I seriously started reading this story thinking that it was already completed, that I just needed to continue pressing links! Aw man! Well, you know how to hook a reader!!

  • Reply
    Hannah Davis
    June 5, 2013 at 2:58 am

    I saw a pin for your blog on Pinterest, and it was about curling your hair. From there I started exploring your blog, and since I’m a romance addict/fanatic/obsessor, I saw the tab called “Love” and found your posts about your love story. I began reading, and the first post instantly captured my heart. I couldn’t stop reading each story, and I fell in love with it. Please post the rest or else my nails will continue to suffer from me constantly biting them because I’m waiting on you to continue the story. I can’t get enough. It’s addicting, and one day I hope to find the love that you and Ben share. I love your blog. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Reply
    Nicole
    June 13, 2013 at 3:56 am

    Please write the blog for the next part! Your love story is so amazing and it’s so much like what woudl ahppen in movies! :’) It’s so beautiful 🙂

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