Flowers in a Tequila Bottle

A few days ago, my husband wrote his very first guest post here on AbbyGabs. And it was centered around these daisies:

I promised you then that I would tell you the story behind the significance of flowers in a liquor bottle. And I always keep my promises.

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…in a land far, far away…

Er, well, Boone. We lived in Boone, North Carolina.

Brian and I had just started our whirlwind romance. We were in that “new relationship” place. We would talk on the phone at night until one or both of us fell asleep. We’d sit in the floor of Brian’s apartment, sharing a pizza, recounting the stories of our lives. A movie date took hours, not just for the movie, but all the kissing that took place at his apartment, in the car, in the parking lot, during the movie, after the movie, in the parking lot, in the car, and in his apartment.

Even in its earliest weeks, I could feel the staying power of this relationship. I felt like I already knew everything about him. And I felt a trust I’d never experienced with another guy before.

Then we had our first fight. And it wasn’t just a normal couples’ spat. It was the kind of fight that ends a relationship before it truly gets started.

I’d found out that, in the very hours our relationship began to blossom from friends to more, Brian had lied to me. Even if he’d told me the truth, it wouldn’t have altered the course of our romance. But the fact that he lied to me cut me to the quick.

I was furious. Hurt. Determined to turn my back on this new love if only to save my own pride. I retreated to the basement apartment I shared with my best friend, Jenna, cranked my Ani Defranco, and let my phone ring off the hook.

For 3 or 4 hours, my phone rang every 10 minutes. Brian poured his heart out on my answering machine, but I refused to allow myself to feel anything but anger and resentment toward him.

Suddenly, the calls stopped. I wavered between relief and sorrow.

Several hours went by. Jenna came home from work and asked what was wrong. I gave her the short version, terse and angry. Most friends would have immediately taken my side, a wall of female solidarity. Jenna, instead, tried to get me to see things from Brian’s point of view. She created a crack in my armor, but I still stood firm, not returning Brian’s calls.

Finally, around 8 pm, my phone rang again. Caller ID confirmed that it was Brian. I took a deep breath and answered, preparing to deliver the final blow. I’d decided to end things officially.

“What do you want?” I said fiercely into the phone.

“Just to say I’m so sorry. I screwed up.” he said quietly.

“You’re right. You did. Big time.” I bit out the words viciously.

“Just promise me one thing,” he asked.

“What’s that?” I replied.

“Just look on your porch before you make any decisions. Sleep on it. And call me in the morning. Ok?”

I started to drop the ax. But instead I found myself agreeing to think on it for one more night. And I was curious as to what I’d find on my porch.

And there they were. Wilted wildflowers stuffed into an empty tequila bottle, with a hand written note.

This action in and of itself would have been enough. But the fact of the matter is that Brian had no mode of transportation: no car, no bicycle, no roommate willing to drive him to my apartment. We lived almost 4 miles away. It should also be explained that the apartment I shared with Jenna was located in a small community on the top of a mountain. (Yes, I’m serious. No, I’m not exaggerating.)

He walked 8 miles. Up hill. Both ways. Literally.

Don’t be surprised at my lack of artistic ability.
I warned you once before that I can’t draw!

I felt the tears well up behind my eyes, and knew my heart was in his hands. I knew he was sorry, I knew he’d take it back if he could. Yes, it was important to me that I be in a relationship where trust was like second skin. But what was more important to me in this situation: my pride? Or finding forgiveness in my heart for the guy I thought was my perfect one?

I didn’t have to sleep on it. I didn’t even have to dissect it with Jenna. One look from her and I  knew what was in my heart.

I called him, accepted his apology, and invited him over for dinner.

And I’m so glad I did.

In the ten years since our relationship almost wasn’t, I can say without a doubt that Brian has never lied to me again. The foundation for our marriage was built on trust. And I’ve never doubted, from that moment on the porch holding an empty tequila bottle filled with wild flowers, that I made the right decision.

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Epilogue:
After several years of telling this story as is seen above, Brian confessed to me that, while he DID walk the 4 miles to our apartment, he did not, in fact, walk all the way home. Rather, he ran into some friends at the bottom of the mountain, at our local baseball practice field. After a few hours, they eventually gave him a ride home.
Did he lie about this? No. He just let me tell the story my way. Because it’s my truth.
His just happens to be a little different.