The Story of Us (part one)

This story is one I feel hesitant to write because, to be blunt, i'm a perfectionist, and our story is anything but perfect. It's raw and real and vulnerable and beautiful, but also disappointing and terrifying and at times terribly heartbreaking. I don't want lose even a moment of it though, because every decision I made, every experience I had, every person I met, chiseled and lifted and broke and healed and ultimately shaped me into something different, someone a little more empathetic, with a little more courage and spunk and resiliency and a WHOLE LOT more lessons learned.

Whatever the story, the point is that it's is the one that brought us together. And, for the record, i'd do it a million times over if it would mean that in the end I would get to be with  Jackson! He makes the most wonderful eggs and lets me steal his blankets and burn his food and you wouldn't believe the comfort of his hugs after a terrible day. He's seriously the best you guys, I feel so lucky.

This is Jackson Kyle. 
Jackson was born on November the 21st, 1993, in a little town called Blackfoot, Idaho as the sixth of ten children (whom he would give his life for.) Jackson is such a unique mix of things, and for those of you who know him, you know exactly what I mean. He is non-confrontational yet bold, strong yet gentle, comfortable yet polite, submissive but confident, stubborn but open-minded. He has a way with people that is difficult to explain, a presence when he walks into a room. He is also the GOOFIEST-haha person I know, but that side only comes out with his very close friends and family.

And that's little me in the over-sized hat. 

I was born 24 days prior (Yes, I'm older!), on October the 28th, 1993 as the first girl and the middle child of five. My mother brought be home a few days before Halloween and remembers holding a little bundle of pink as she passed out Halloween candy that year. Fall reminds me of her, and has such a special place in my heart. From the moment I was born I had my own little personality--spunky and horribly sassy and independent and curious and absolutely determined to do everything my two older brothers could do.

This is the earliest picture I have of us, though we met a year prior to this picture. 

10th grade school dance. (Look at that hair!)

It was the spring of 2010. I remember the cool concrete holding my back; the three of us girls casually slouched against the wall of that Junior High like we owned the place. He ran past, tall, freckled, auburn hair, quickly holding my brief and complete attention. I called up to him, "Hey, what's your name?" He paused, attempting to swallow some large bolus of Snickers and replied in the passing; "Jackson." as he pounded through the exit of the building, 2 more boys chasing behind him. We didn't understand what he said, so we called him the boy in the red vans, and resumed our school day, forgetting the strange encounter with the strange boy. I didn't forget him though. That auburn hair has always been hard for me to forget.

Jack snapped this of me in the canyon one afternoon while trying to explain how Instagram works. :) 

My mom took this picture before our sophomore prom.

A few weeks passed, and I received a message on Facebook one night from "the boy in the red vans." He asked if i'd be going on the cross country skiing field trip the following day, and while I had been planning to miss it and sleep in, my plans quickly changed with that little message! We took the yellow school buses up to the mountains, and spent the day a few steps behind everyone else. The sun was somehow shining that February afternoon and I distinctly remember the way the sun reflected off the snow into our eyelids and onto our fingers and into his big brown eyes. He told me about his family, describing each one in great depth.  All I knew of boys was immaturity and insecurity, but he was calm and descriptive, polite and confident.  We slipped away from the group, pulled off our ski's, and climbed up into a tree and wasted the rest of the afternoon in lengthy conversation. We were late getting back to the bus, and late getting home from school every day after that. As soon as that bell would ring, we'd walk to a little park behind the junior high and talk, and talk, and talk for hours on end. Our connection was simple and quiet and honest and tangible. Neither of us had kissed someone before, so we were shy and awkward and hardly touched at all, it took him at LEAST four weeks to even give me a hug, but oh, i'll never forget the way those arms fit around me for the first time. We drifted apart as our ninth grade year wrapped up. The summer after our freshman year brought each of us our first kiss (with other humans), but I never forgot my boy in the red vans who understood my heart.
My favorite back-seat

Summer came and went, and we found ourselves thrown into a pool of change. I noticed Jack in the hallways the first few days of school, but we both kept our distance. I took High School in hungrily and happily, melting into a world that I felt brought a heightened sense of freedom, and a new sense of myself. Jackson slowly became a distant part of my memories and I his.
The night before my sixteenth birthday, October the 27th of 2010,  I received a call from a number I didn't recognize. I answered to Jackson's voice on the other line. "Rachael,".. he said, "I just wanted to be the first to wish you a Happy Birthday." My stomach immediately flip-flopped on-top of itself as he asked if he could come see me that night. Water fell onto my shoulders from my recent shower and I had already changed into a pair of old pajamas, but I quickly agreed, pulled some boots on, and ran out into the falling snow to meet him. We drove around in his car (technically his mom's stolen car--remember--he's still fifteen) that night in a complete blizzard, laughing and reminiscing as we parked at the elementary school we had spent so much time at the year prior. I remember it perfectly. I was leaning against the jockey box, the sound of the car heater humming behind us. We just sat there for a moment, within inches of each other. It was almost as if that February field trip, every after school hour we spent at that little park, and then the empty summer after that just hung between us, creating this unfinished, wonderful and terrifying tension. And then he closed the gap, and I know how cheesy and ridiculous this sounds, but I felt as though a million fireworks exploded inside of me. Needless to say, that surprise kiss was the best birthday present I could have asked for.

My brother Joshua's homecoming, shortly after our Senior year. 

It is basically impossible give high-school the conglomeration of words and time and energy it truly deserves. The closest thing I can come up with to satisfy it all is a blog post I wrote after one of our break-ups (we broke up and got back together more times than either of us care to admit throughout-high school). I labeled it; Here's to you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Here's to you.
We were sitting on your porch one day. Remember? You told me if I ever had a blog, you would read it. I laughed quietly and swore to myself I never would.
Someday, if you ever read this blog,
This one is for you.
Here's to you.

Here is to thick, creamy, raspberry milkshakes. Here is to the first letter I ever received; five pages of left slanted handwriting.  Here is to cuts on fingers, the warmth of your eyes, that night in the rain, a first beautiful, crooked smile on a yellow school bus. Here is to the boy in red vans, a mouth full of snickers, finding the courage to say hello. Here is to not feeling the rain as it fell onto us that night, to our first slow dance. Here is to every post of every American Fork High School girl that has written about you. Here is to the metallic smell of two empty swings, the pressure of your fingers pressing gently into my hand as you processed information, to full moons, and 11:11. Here is to "what do you want?", "can i ask you a question?", "tell me a secret", "you feel like home"and "I will always come back, I promise." Here is to the missionaries, the two brothers that left their legacy for us. Here is to braces, and and growing up together; learning from each other. Here is to the twenty eighth, the twenty first, and March the fourteenth.  Here is to knowing every detail of ones soul one day,  and pretending you have never met them the next. Here is to the white house with the wrap around porch that will never be sold,  to the freckle right underneath your eye, the one on your arm, and my desperate attempts to count the ones on your fingers. Here is to nine crimes. Here is to the first time you ever hugged me, it took three months, remember? Here is to Abby, Jeremy, and Ema. Here is to your testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through your example.  Here is to sunrises, sunsets, and talking until five in the morning. Here is to Oakland's silly face he made, to Madison running to greet me in the front yard.  Here is to kisses that mean something, taking a nap in a field, and a river in the canyon on a hot summer day. Here is to a library, with oak floors, thick rugs, warm reading lamps, and a window seat facing the sunset. Here is to people being worth more than what they wear. Here is to otter pops, hot fudge sunday poptars, blue gatorade, cowtails, lemon yogurt, and scraping barbeque for 7:25 an hour. Here is to the boy that taught me to slow down, to appreciate every little thing along the path,who taught me how to love.
Here is to not forgetting, but letting go, and moving on.
Here is to saving that small part of your heart. 
Here is to acting like it never happened.
Here is so saying hello in the hall.
Here is to falling in love when you are young, fearing absolutely nothing, diving in head first, and following your heart.
Here is to being willing to do anything for one person.
Here is to him not deserving you at your best, when he can't handle you at your worst.
Here is to building your foundation on what matters most.
Here is to the boy that deserves somebody, someday to match his socks, to wake up with him in the mornings before he leaves to work, to give him an attacking hug when he walks in the door, to make sure he wears thick wool socks and drinks lots of orange juice when he is sick.
Good Luck boy in the red vans, thank you for being a part of my story.

Oh, how he loved that thing.
The story (thankfully) doesn't end there, but i'll let it be for today.

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