Just a few weeks before project ended, I came to the realization that our time left in Clearwater was short. I didn't want to go back to Clemson yet, I wasn't ready to leave. That night, I quickly decided that I would sacrifice being in bed by 10pm to spend some extra time with the people I had so easily come to love.
I headed out to pool, the unofficial hangout place at our motel. There were several students sitting and standing around talking, laughing and enjoying themselves and I easily joined right in. Why hadn't I hung out before? I asked myself realizing how much fun I was having. Oh yea, work starts at 4:30am...that's why. Oh well, gotta live sometime.
Tonight it just didn't matter to me that I was going to be dead tired in the morning. I could always take a nap when I got home from work and I wanted to soak up as much time with my friends as possible.
As the evening continued, I found myself sitting in a group next to James Bush. I watched the way that he talked and his mannerisms. He made me laugh and feel at ease almost instantly and began to wonder why I hadn't really talked with him before. He loved the Lord, he was kind and smart, funny and certainly handsome, but I had never made the effort to get to know him.
At first, we were hanging out in a group of friends, but as the night wore on and students started heading to bed, James and I began talking just to each other.
I didn't know much about him, but I realized very quickly that he was easy to talk with. He had a way of making me feel comfortable and as I sat there I not only wanted to hear what he had to say, I wanted to tell him about myself too. We talked about all kinds of things that night: family, hobbies, what God was teaching us, friends back home, college, funny things that happened on project and in our lives.
Before I knew it, the last few students headed to their rooms to go to bed. I had completely lost track of time. In fact, I hadn't even thought about it once since I had started talking to James. I was learning so much about him and thoroughly enjoying his easy going company.
What time was it anyway?
I glanced down at my watch that read almost 3 am. THREE am? How in the world was I going to get up in an hour and half for work?
I didn't want to say goodnight even though I knew that I had to. I was going to be tired enough as it was!
James sweetly walked me over to the door of my room. Somehow we had gotten on the subject of old tv shows and I laughed when I told him I felt like saying goodnight at our motel was kind of like the end of the Waltons where they were all in separate rooms and you hear them say goodnight to each other as the lights go off.
He smiled and just looked at me for a moment. I blushed. Did he think I was silly for saying that?
Then he broke the silence, Goodnight MaryEllen, he said with a wink as he started to walk away.
I grinned and murmured, Goodnight Johnboy, as I slipped into my room.
Two of my roommates were still awake when I walked in the door smiling from ear to ear.
What's going on? They asked with big grins.
What was I supposed to say? We were just talking. I lost track of time. You only live once. Isn't he dreamy?
None of those sounded right. Instead, I answered, I don't know. But I'm pretty sure they knew from the huge smile that I could not seem to wipe off my face...