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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » He said, she said; a joint landmark (Page 1)

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Author Topic: He said, she said; a joint landmark
mr_porteiro_head
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For my landmark, I thought that I would share the story of how Mary Cate and I met and courted. Both Mary and I will tell our side of the story. You can believe whoever you want.
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beverly
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Maria was my dear, best friend of several years. We had been through so much together. We were like soul-sisters. Our lives paralleled in eerie ways, especially our love lives. We dreamed of having a double wedding together someday.

Maria told me about her awesome cousin, Porter, who had just returned from a church mission to Brazil, and she was going to visit him. She wondered if I might like to come along. We had been on numerous spontaneous road-trips together, and I was game for this one too. When she spoke of her cousin Porter, he sounded arrogant and like too much of a "player" for my tastes. I was sure I would have no interest in him. He would probably really get on my nerves. Besides, I was getting pretty close to dating a really nice, sweet Texan boy. Nothing to stress about here, just fun.

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UofUlawguy
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A likely story! I feel skeptical already.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I first met Mary Cate a few days after I returned home from my 2-year LDS mission in Brazil in September, 1995. My cousin Maria and I were good friends, and she had written me throughout her mission. When I came home, she drove up to Oklahoma from Dallas for my homecoming. She brought her friend, Mary. The three of us hung out that whole weekend. Maria and Mary introduced me to some films that I had missed during my mission. IIRC, we watched Much Ado About Nothing, Maverick, and Disney's Three Musketeers. We had a fun time, and I really enjoyed talking with Mary. I recall being distinctly disappointed when I learned that she was planning on going on a mission herself in just a few months.
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beverly
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Contrary to my expectations, I found Porter fascinating from the start. He was very tall and striking with his restlessly wavy, light brown hair and deep voice. He was very intelligent, indeed very opinionated, with such unconventional perspectives. He had a powerful sense of self. He compromised for no one, yet could easily admit if he was wrong. It seemed a compelling if contradictory mix of arrogance and simple humility. One thing I really liked was that he really seemed to want to know what I thought about things, listening to what I had to say. I had never met anyone anything like him. I loved the way he made me think, the way I felt when we talked. I still found him very intimidating though, and I promised myself I must not develop feelings for him because I would get my heart broken. In my mind, this man could have any girl he wanted, and I would not even be on the list.
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Architraz Warden
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quote:
, I was getting pretty close to dating a really nice, sweet Texan boy.
I feel the need to state that this was not me.

Feyd Baron, DoC

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mr_porteiro_head
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LOL. What a joke that she thought that of me. What a pleasing hallucination.

Yes, Mary and I had a great time. We talked a lot, and really enjoyed talking to each other. I remember thinking what a great sense of humor she had. In reality, what that probably meant is that she laughed at my jokes, but it sure endeared her to me at the time.

I had come home from my mission in the beginning of September, so I barely missed the cut-off for fall semester. As a result, I was stuck in Bartlesville, OK for the next four months. There is almost *nothing* for a single adult to do there. I got a job and spent as much time as I could playing music and practicing karate, but I was still bored out of my gourd.

So I went on a trip. I visited both sets of grandparents, and then went down to visit my cousin Maria. While there, I hung out with Mary some more. Unfortunately, she was dating some guy, which was a bummer. I did get to spend some time with her, though. One fun thing was that Mary introduced me to the mini-series Joseph with Ben Kingsley.

Later that fall, Maria and Mary came up to Oklahoma again, and I got to spend more time with her. It was during this visit that I discovered Mary's deep, irrational hatred for edible fungi. I'm serious -- she *hates* mushrooms. It's really weird. Anyway, we had a blast together. Unfortunately, she was still planning on going on a mission, so I wrote her off as a possibility and looked forward to when I came out to BYU in January.

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beverly
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So I started dating David, back home in Texas. It wasn't long before he started talking marriage. How could he be so keen on marrying me when we still didn't know each other very well? LDS boys newly returned from their missions are notorious for being over zealous to get married. I really enjoyed dating David, but I didn't want to marry him. He figured I just needed time to "come around". I was frustrated because I felt like I couldn't just enjoy a fun, casual relationship.

When Porter came down to visit Maria, I explained my frustrations to him. He was a good listener and didn't try to tell me what to do. I felt much better after getting my thoughts out. I remember seeing "Les Miserables" with Porter and a group of friends. We also went to a hayride activity with the young adults. David was there too. It was such a beautiful, romantic sort of evening. I remember enjoying myself and being glad I had a boyfriend so I didn't have to be confused about Porter.

While in Texas, Porter met a girl who he hit it off with and was quite attracted to, according to Maria. She thought he was pretty cool too. So when Maria was getting ready for another road trip to Oklahoma before Christmas, she invited both her and me. This annoyed me, but not enough to keep me from coming along. My relationship with David continued to be under stress and I needed some time away to think. I tried very hard not to like Porter on this trip, keeping my distance emotionally. I despise competition, and the fact that Maria brought another girl I knew Porter liked, I felt like I was being sized up and compared or something.

I don't remember much from this trip, but I do remember that on the way home I decided to break up with David. I couldn't deny that there was something "there" when Porter and I talked that just could never exist for David and I. I told David why I was breaking up with him. I told him it was because what I had with Porter was what was missing in our relationship, though I had no reason to believe that anything would ever happen between Porter and I. But when my relationship with David felt so empty in its shadow, I could lead him on no more. I felt terrible, because the day I broke up with David, he presented to me a large, gorgeous wooden dollhouse he had made for me with his own hands. Ouch. David would prove not to give up on me so easily.

I remember Porter sent me a Christmas card that year. I was pretty excited to get that card, but made a point to not get my hopes up. After all, I knew it was impossible that anything would ever happen between Porter and I.

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mr_porteiro_head
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OK, before I continue, I have to say that Jean and I did not "hit it off". We talked together for about ten minutes, and I mentioned to Maria that I thought she was cute. (Well, she *was*.) I was actually annoyed when Maria brought Jean on the next trip, because as host, I had to devote time to her. That was time that I would have preferred to devote to Mary.

So, I went out to BYU in January. In February, Mary went on her LDS mission. The first step for that is to enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Mary's whole family came out to see her off and brought Maria with them. Maria looked me up, and I hung out with her and Mary before Mary entered the MTC. I was even there when they set Mary apart as a missionary, and when she actually went into the MTC. It was odd being there, because I wasn't *that* close to her, and I wasn't family. I kept asking myself "Why am I here?"

Two months later, Mary left the MTC to fly to the Philippines. Mary's sister called me up and asked if I'd like to see her off at the airport. I accepted, and Mary's older brother picked me up, and we all went to the Salt Lake City airport. Again, it was slightly uncomfortable. Out of everybody there to see Mary, I was the only one that got a handshake instead of a hug.

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Farmgirl
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Whooo - hooo! I love landmarks!

Keep it coming!

Farmgirl [The Wave]

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beverly
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Ok, so I broke up with David and all, but he, Maria, and I still hung around together a lot. I began to let myself wonder if something might eventually work out long term between us. I think I was fooling myself though, and David still made it very obvious that he wanted things to continue between us. It was also easier to get together when I knew I was going away for 18 months and had plenty of time to think things over. So it wasn't long before David and I were "an item" again. He was had every expectation that I would come home and marry him. I was sad to say goodbye for so long, but when I was up in Utah where Porter was (he was attending BYU) I still couldn't deny a very strong attraction and interest there. But of course, since nothing was ever going to happen, I didn't dwell on it too much. I still found Porter very intimidating, like he would never think much of me. I figured he hung out with us so he could see his dear cousin Maria, and I was just her best friend. They were so comfortable together that I felt like a third wheel.

He did come along to a lot of the missionary "stuff" leading up to my departure to the Philippines, like the private family ceremony of "setting apart". I thought it was very sweet for him to be there as I went into the MTC. I remember getting a letter or two from him during that 2-month training period. I loved his letters; they were always so fun to read. He told me all sorts of things that were going on in his life, and how well he was doing in school and work. I was in the Utah MTC during those 2 months, but visitors are prohibited during that time. He was living just a few blocks away. I remember having a dream in the MTC that Porter "liked" me. In the dream, we were at a dance and Porter was trying to kiss me. I was being rather coy because I was not sure of his intentions nor did I know my own heart on the matter yet. I thought upon waking up, "How silly! And what an inappropriate dream to be having in the MTC! I should have my mind on the work at hand."

I got letters from David too, and when I wrote to him, I was still up front that I was in no way certain about how things would go between us when I got home. But he seemed as confident as ever that he knew our future.

I thought it was really cool that Porter came to the airport to see me off. He was the only non-family member in attendance. At this point, Porter seemed to me like the sort of person who will really be there for you no matter what. That meant a lot to me. I still felt like I hardly knew him, and he seemed to be there at so many important cross-roads of my life. I found myself wishing I knew him better. A lot can happen in 1 1/2 years. For all I knew, I might never see him again.

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mr_porteiro_head
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So, Mary's off to the Philippines. About that time, I started dating a girl named Sarah. Things were going well with her. During that time my cousin Maria came out for a week or so to visit me in Provo, and stayed with Sarah. Maria and Sarah got along great.

I went home to Oklahoma for summer term to work and spend some time with my family. On July 1, 1996, I was talking to my cousin Maria on the telephone. I told her that I thought my relationship with Sarah had the potential for getting serious, and that I was contemplating the idea of marrying her.

Maria told me that that was great, and Sarah's a great girl. "But, I have to admit that I always held out some hope that something would happen between you and Mary."

BAM!

That sentence hit me like a load of bricks. Emotionally, I reacted by going "Oh yeah, I forgot about Mary!" Of course, this didn't make any sense, because there was nothing there with Mary to forget about! There was no reason for me to take her into account. At least, none that made sense.

But for some reason there was. From that moment on, I could never summon the feelings for Sarah that I had before. I cared for her, but the romantic feelings were *gone*.

So I was in Oklahoma for the next two months with absolutely no social life beyond my family, thinking of almost nothing but Mary Cate. I was working a mindless graveyard job, and I would spend every night mulling over the same questions about Mary Cate. Why did I feel this way about her? What did it mean? What should I do about it?

I finally came to the conclusion that I was going to have to try to pursue things with Mary Cate. I had to see how things would go with Mary. In Mormon nomenclature, I was going to wait for her. This *really* chapped my hide. For years, I had felt scorn for people that waited for missionaries, or missionaries that asked others to wait for them.

When I left on my mission, my girlfriend told me she was going to wait for me. I told her "Don't you dare!" I told her to date, and if she were available when I got back, I'd look her up then. I figured that if we were meant to be together, then she wouldn't be married by the time I got home. If she did get married, then congratulations to her. And then the first letter I ever got in Brazil was one from her telling me that she was engaged. I hear that she's very happy. [Smile]

One big reason why I was against waiting for missionaries is that I figured a mission is a time to do the Lord's work, not a time to be worrying about your boy/girl friend across the world. Because of this, I refused to tell Mary about my feelings for her. I decided to start writing her more. I wrote her one letter every two weeks. That was enough for good correspondence, but not too overbearing. Still, I didn't know Mary that much. I wanted to write to her as much as possible to get to know better this girl that would not get out of my mind.

edit: contradulations to congratulations
curse you peter!

[ July 19, 2004, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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beverly
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I had a pretty hard time when I first arrived in the Philippines. But that is another story. I remember thinking it strange that while Porter sent letters telling me all about what was going on in his life, was that he never mentioned his girlfriend, Sarah. I learned about her from Maria. Apparently they were getting quite serious. So if Sarah was such an important part of Porter's life, why would he leave her out of things? That seemed very odd to me.

At some point, Porter sent a letter saying that he would like to try to get to know me better through correspondence and that we could make a game of it. He sent a list of "getting to know you" questions. He also sent his own answers to those same questions in a separately sealed portion. (He used a wax seal on parchment-esque paper--now how cool is that?!) I wasn't allowed to read his answers until I had written all mine down. Then I could read his and comment on them, make up my own list of questions, and send the same sort of thing back to him. I remember feeling really flattered and excited that he wanted to do this. I really wondered what his intentions were, though. Was he just interested in friendship? Or was something more there? He seemed to give no clue either way, in fact it almost seemed as though he was trying very hard not to give any clue either way.

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mr_porteiro_head
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I'm sure that the reason I didn't mention Sarah to Mary was because of my not-fully-accepted feelings for Mary.

Of course I wasn’t going to give her any clue. As I stated before, I didn't want to confess my feelings to her. But I *also* didn't want to communicate the false idea that that I didn't have those feelings.

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beverly
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Oh, Porter did an excellent job of walking that fine line! He sure kept me guessing. So for me part of the game became asking questions that might force him into "giving something away". I didn't feel I could just come out and say, "Hey, what's the deal? Are you looking to start something when I get home?" It seemed preposterous. I guess what I was really afraid of was him saying "Uhhhh, no," and things being terribly awkward because of me asking. And I wasn't ready to consider pursuing something with him yet.

Technically, I was still "David's", though I still made it clear to him that I still wasn't convinced that I thought we'd end up married. When a letter from David came, I thought, "Oh, how nice." But when a letter from Porter came, my heart would pound and my stomach do flip-flops! There were times when I would take specific passages from his letters and say to my apartment-mates, "Why did he say this? What does this mean? What is this boy up to, anyway? Is he just playing with me?" He eventually mentioned Sarah, but not until after he broke up with her. That seemed suspect too. But if he had feelings for me, why wouldn't he say so? There wasn't even cautious hinting.

Then there were the men in the Philippines who would "come on" to me. It was nice to have an excuse, to claim that I was spoken for. But the funny thing was, when ever I did that, in my mind it was Porter I was talking about, not David.

After a few months, Porter sent a letter about his new girlfriend, Elizabeth. He said that he didn't think anything long term would happen with her, but he gave such glowing remarks about what an awesome person she was and how she was so good for him. I thought, "Oh sure, you say that now...." I was pretty heart-broken. In my mind, I wrote Porter off as a possibility for me. Around this time, I also finally told David to just forget about me. I had been hoping that after me being gone long enough, he would be the one to decide things wouldn't happen between us. But it had been long enough, and he was still hopeful, and I had been through enough emotionally to know that my heart was not going to change on the matter. David never would be "for me".

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mr_porteiro_head
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Even though I knew that I had to see what would happen with Mary when she got home, I wasn't going to cloister myself in the engineering lab for the next year. I still dated and socialized, and had a couple of girlfriends. One of those was Elizabeth. She was a really sweet girl, and a little naive. She decided that she wanted to be in a relationship with me. I was OK with that, but I was completely honest and up-front with her. I told her that there was a girl named Mary Cate, and when she got back from her mission, I wanted to date her. I was perfectly willing to date Elizabeth in the mean-time, but if we were still dating when Mary got home, then our relationship would end then. Elizabeth said she was OK with that, so we dated for a while. It turned out to not be a great idea. As I look back, I think that Elizabeth was thinking to herself "He says that now, but he'll change his mind for me." I never changed my mind, and I hurt her. Not my finest moment.

It was precisely because I didn't allow Elizabeth to be in competition with Mary in my heart that I was able to talk to Mary about her. If I thought things might get serious with her, I would have been comfortable talking with Mary about it. Mildly ironic, if I understand what that word means anymore.

edit: heart to hurt. Curse you peter!

[ July 19, 2004, 11:42 AM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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beverly
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To complicate matters, it was around this time that I encountered a remarkable individual: Mark. He came into my life like a typhoon. Now, as a missionary, there are strict rules about not getting emotionally involved with the people I taught and worked with. Missionaries are instructed to "lock" their hearts, devoting all their energies to God's work. I tried to deny my feelings for Mark for a long time. He was a brilliant man. He was searching for the truth. He was a student at the University of the Philippines soon to take the bar exam to become a lawyer. He figured he could read the "Book of Mormon" in 6 days. But when he discovered what was in it, he was overwhelmed. He pondered passages for hours. For within the book, he found answers to questions he had been wondering about for years and no one had given him sufficient answers to. He wondered, though, if the whole thing was a sham, and Joseph Smith was a charlatan like David Karesh and many others.

I remember the day my companion and I fasted and prayed for him to have a witness of the truthfulness of our message. That day we taught him about the "Plan of Salvation". In the middle of the lesson, he declared. "I can't believe this. This is true. There is no way this came from anywhere but from God. I want to be baptized as soon as possible!" This was a very big deal for him. He had been struggling and questioning for so long, and now he felt as though he were finally coming home. It was my greatest moment of joy as a missionary, seeing him go through this. In the days leading up to his baptism, I felt a closer and closer kinship with him. He felt like the soul-mate I had been searching all my life to find, like I had been waiting for him all my life. I had never felt like this before.

A few days before his baptism, I had an interview with my mission president and confessed my feelings for Mark to him. He was very, very dismayed, even shocked, with me. He prepared an "emergency transfer" that sent me out of that area, not to return during my time as a missionary. I was devastated, but I obediently accepted. After all, I knew the rules. I had let my feelings get out of control. But to miss Mark's baptism--that hurt. Mark cried when I left. He was an emotional wreck, in fact. I had already had an idea that he returned my unspoken affections, but now I knew for sure.

In my new area, I tried my best to forget Mark and immerse myself in the work. I did. It was wonderful. It was by far the best part of my mission. I put all my mind, spirit, and passions into the work and received so much joy. At this time, Porter started writing me again. He and Elizabeth had broken up. I began to feel some of that old hope return, especially since the end of my mission was fast approaching. Also, there was an odd sort of "longing" or "urgency" that I sensed in his letters that I couldn't quite understand the significance of.

But just as my mission was ending, I allowed my thoughts to turn towards Mark again. I knew that there was a way to see him again. My parents were coming to the Philippines to meet me. It doesn't happen often, but occasionally parents will decide to come out to the area of their son or daughter's mission, see the area, and travel home together. Once I was released from my responsibilities in that mission, I would be free to travel--to see Mark again. And I did. I still was "officially" a missionary, so I stubbornly refused to "confess" anything to Mark, but he took us to his home province and I met his family. I probably should not have done this. It complicated everything.

As I went home, it felt like my heart had been ripped out. It was bad enough that I was leaving a country and a people that I had grown to love deeply, but leaving Mark behind was almost unbearable. If we were to have a future together, one of us would have to give up their homeland. I already knew I wasn't willing to give up mine. And somehow, deep down, I knew that him leaving the Philippines was wrong. I felt terribly guilty and selfish for wanting it. He was such an amazing person with dreams, aspirations and passions about helping his people and country. I felt the Philippines needed him far worse than I did. Besides, I didn't know him very well! I was "in love", like I never had been before in my entire life. But I promised myself that if something worked out with Porter, I needed to give that a chance.

I remember giving Mark a brief phone call once I was back on American soil. I confessed my feelings, he confessed his. He told me that ever since I had been transferred, he had been asking himself if he would be willing to give up the Philippines and live in the US. He had made his decision, and he figured he could be in the States in about 8 months. I forgot my earlier concerns and began planning it all out in my mind: Mark and I. It all seemed so perfect. Little did I know what was in store for me when I got to BYU!

Oh, and David got married to a sweet, gorgeous gal just a month before I got home!

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mr_porteiro_head
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Huh. I don't remember ever stopping writing letters to Mary. Maybe I did, or maybe they just got delayed. :shrug:

After the unfortunate events with Elizabeth, I realized that it was probably a bad idea to date while I was waiting for Mary. So I didn't, or at least not much. For the first time in my post-pubescent life (excluding my mission and small periods of times after break-ups), I had no interested in pursuing anything romantic with anybody. I stopped caring about how I came across to others, and I stopped trying to impress anybody. I still socialized, and I still flirted, with no intention of anything going anywhere.

Something weird happened. I had never had much success with "the ladies". But once I took myself off the market, for some reason I became much more desirable. It appeared to follow the rule "desirability is inversely proportional to availability". Girl after girl that I hung out with told me that she wanted to date me. It blew my mind. In a two-week period of time, I had to tell three awesome girls that I wasn't going to date them because of Mary.

The less I tried to be attentive, romantic, etc., the more attractive I seemed to become. If I just hung out, had fun, and didn't care what anybody thought about me, I became more attractive. The lesson that I should have learned from this was "People are attracted to sincerity and confidence." Unfortunately, I learned the wrong lesson. The lesson I learned was "Girls dig jerks." This would be a difficult lesson to un-learn, and it caused problems during my courship with Mary.

I was really anxious for Mary Cate to get home. As any of my roommates can tell you, I got *really* cranky that last month before Mary got home. I was so annoyed at Mary. "Hurry up and come home so that I can get on with my life! Will something happen or won't it? ARRGGHHH!!!!"

Sometime during that year, my feelings changed from "I will wait for Mary, and when she gets home, I will date her" to "I know this is weird, but I think that I want to marry this girl that I have met only five times." The stakes had gotten a lot higher.

So Mary finally comes back from her mission. By that time, my cousin Maria had moved to Provo and was living in my apartment complex. Mary moved in to be Maria's roommate. One of the first days she was there, a group of us hiked up Mount Timpanogos.

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beverly
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Yeah, when I got up to BYU, Porter was right there waiting to pick up things where they left off. I didn’t forget my promise to myself to give Porter a chance. He talked me into going up Mount Timpanogos, even though I really wanted to spend the day unpacking. I thought, “This will be a nice chance to spend some time together.” Unfortunately, an old friend of his came along, a gal he hadn’t seen in years, who had just got home from her mission. Seemed to me, they talked together almost the entire time up and back, catching up on old times. That was really annoying. Porter invites me to this and then spends the whole time talking to this girl! It’s not that Porter ignored me, because he didn’t. And I had plenty of time to “observe” him and learn more about the guy.

On the way down, we passed by a lake of melted snow. The water was just above freezing. I remember Porter took off his shirt and jumped in for a swim! (Mmmm, nice view!) I still have an awesome photo of him emerging from the sparkling water. It is one of my favorite pictures ever. I definitely admired his charisma and passion for life. He had certainly captured my attention once more.

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mr_porteiro_head
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BTW, I don't think that lake was above freezing at all. I'm pretty sure it was 32 degrees. That's something that I don't think I'll ever feel the need to do again.

That evening, Mary and I went out to get a bite to eat. It was the first real chance that we had to sit down and talk with each other. And what does Mary talk to me about? The fact that she had fallen in love with a Filipino while she was out there. Not only that, but she thought she wanted to marry this guy, and he was coming out to the States in a few months.

ARRGGH! What to do? What to do?

There is a time for caution, and there is a time for boldness. I threw caution to the wind that evening. I confessed my feelings for her. I told her that not only did I have feelings for her, but that it was my intention to court and marry her.

So I went home shaking. I was completely vulnerable, and the ball was in her court. Man, that sucked...

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beverly
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Well, this certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I mean, I thought there was a decent chance that Porter had some sort of romantic feelings for me after writing to me fairly consistently throughout my 1 ½ years of being away. But when he told me everything…. It pretty much ruined our chances of ever having a “normal friendship”. I just didn’t know what to do. I certainly admired Porter’s courage. To lay everything out on the table like that knowing I could just walk away from it… I was in awe of what he had done. Once again I thought, “Why me?” This guy could have any girl he wanted. Why did he pick me above all of them?

My feelings for Mark were very strong, but could I trust those feelings? I knew that it was very likely that the spiritual feelings and excitement I felt at Mark conversion may have had a significant influence on the way I felt. Anyone who has ever been an LDS missionary can tell you that being one can do funny things to your judgment and emotions. You are so immersed in what you are doing, it takes some time to get a normal perspective on life again. It was too easy to feel idealistic about Mark. Mark was a fantasy. Porter was a reality.

Mark wasn’t here. He couldn’t be here for another 8 months. Porter was here. And I liked Porter. Though to be fair, I didn’t know him very well yet either! But the many letters between us helped. We at least had a foundation. I told Porter I needed some time to think about it. He seemed to understand that. My head was reeling. What to do?

Mark just had the poor timing to call right after that. I wasn’t ready to talk to him about this yet! Not when I didn’t know what I thought. But it felt wrong not to tell him. I told Mark what happened and that I felt I needed to give Porter a chance and why. It was a difficult conversation. I had no intention of “closing the door” on Mark, but I think in his mind things were over at that point. We had another brief phone conversation where I let him know I was dating Porter and I sent him a few letters after that about how things were going in my life, but I never heard back from him again. I still feel deep, wrenching regrets about how I handled that whole thing.

So I started dating Porter. He took me on our first “official” date. We had an enjoyable time getting to know each other all over again, or perhaps, for the first time. After a tasty Peruvian dinner, we tried to find a nearby park that we knew had a really awesome playground, but couldn’t find it. We settled for the cemetery that we could find. Now, a lot of people find cemeteries morbid. We both find them fascinating, peaceful, and lovely--and this night, quite romantic. With was a distant thunderstorm rumbling gently I dared to kiss Porter for the first time. I think he was pretty surprised. And looking back, I don’t think I should have done it so soon. My soul was still in so much turmoil. To me, a kiss is a promise of commitment. And I wanted it to be so. But I’m not sure I was ready to really “mean it”.

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mr_porteiro_head
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So we started dating. Before long, things started getting pretty weird. You see, we weren't just dating. I was courting her, and we were getting to know each other at the same time. Mary Cate handled this in an odd way. (Of course, how do you handle something bizarre like that in a normal way?) It seemed that she would take every little comment or action of mine, extrapolate it 20 years into the future, and ask herself "Do I want to deal with this?" Of course, these extrapolations were waaaaaay off-base. But Mary was trying to paint a full picture with very little to go on.

I recall one day that Mary asked me if it would be Okay if she got a cat in our future home. I said something to the effect of "Let's discuss that when it's a possibility." I'm not a big animal fan, but I didn't want to start negotiation pets when there was no way it should be an issue for several years. Mary did not handle my response well. She assumed that the only reason I would say such a thing was because I would refuse to allow her a cat, but I didn't want to admit it to her yet. It freaked her out, and was the cause of a big fight.

When Thanksgiving was coming up, I bought a diamond ring for Mary, because I thought that things were progressing in that direction. Within a couple of weeks of getting the ring, Mary dumped me. This began a very sad time for Porter.

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beverly
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Yeah, the cat thing did turn into a big “fight”, but it was mostly because of all the underlying tension. To backtrack just a bit, after that first kiss of commitment (for me) and with the burning of the bridges with Mark (very heart wrenching) I felt obliged to follow through with things.

But it wasn’t long until I began to realize that I wasn’t sure what I thought of Porter. I thought I knew him so well with all the letters. But when I watched him interact with his guy roommates, long-time pals, I was really turned off by his behavior. He was extremely obnoxious! Now, there are plenty of girls out there who say they want a nice guy, but then fall for the jerk. I was bound and determined NOT to become one of those. I wanted a nice guy, darnit! Porter and the guys were downright bawdy. I could understand guys talking this way when the girls aren’t around, but they did it when the girls were around as though for the purpose of shocking and upsetting. I did not like it one bit. (Consequently, this behavior attracted the admiring glances of many a female in our apartment complex!) I knew that Porter had become “cranky” the last little while that I was away, but I expected that to evaporate since the cause of his crankiness was over. But it had left a lasting “bite” in him that didn’t let go easily. I had to learn to fit the Porter I knew through letters, intelligent, funny, responsible, with the Porter I was seeing here. It was very difficult for me.

Add to all this the fact that my roommate, best friend, and his cousin, Maria, then gets engaged to one of Porter's roommates. They are all lovey-dovey and never around. I was very busy with school, work, and Porter. I had been away from college for a very long time. My previous college friends were all elsewhere. I couldn’t stand my other roommates—very incompatible. I didn’t take a lot of time to reach out and get to know anyone else, so my main socializing was with Porter and his group of friends. They accepted me well enough, but this group had known each other for years. They were always talking about “the good ol’ times”, times I wasn’t around for. They loved to tell me stories of all the outrageous things that Porter did, some of which disturbed me. It didn’t help that sometimes Porter and I had trouble communicating.

More times than I care to recall, I was on the verge of calling it all off. But then something would happen that would cause me to hang on. Porter and I took a horseback-riding class together. That was pretty cool. I loved horses. Porter learned to tolerate them, barely. We were so very different, he and I, and it frightened me. On the other hand, he stretched me in ways that were very good for me. I remember the time the group took me rock climbing for the first time. Porter was my belayer, the one who stood at the bottom, held my rope, and guarding my every move from danger. The climb (for those of you who may know it) was called “Ed and Terry Wall” and is quite challenging for a beginner. I thought I would try it out for a bit and then quit. But between my stubborn determination, and the cheerful encouragement of the group, I made it to the top! I remember thinking, “My life is in Porter’s hands” and the trust I had in him to give me just the right amount of slack or tension on the rope. I remember feeling that Porter was someone I could depend on to be there for me, a true friend, someone who would never let me down.

I also remember the romantic evening when Porter looked me in the eyes and told me what his love meant. He told me that there might be times where he might not “like me” but that he would always “love me”. He told me love is something you do more than something you feel, and that if you do it, the feeling will always return. He told me I always had his “will”, that he would always be committed to “us”. These sentiments may not strike the average romantic as heartwarming, but they filled me with something comforting that I can’t fully explain. I had complete confidence in what he was telling me. I somehow knew that he was telling me the truth, that this was a promise that would never be broken no matter what. I was inspired by the foundation he was working so hard to lay for us, despite all my doubts and fears.

I also remember him “wooing” me with the lines from the end of Henry V. “But, in faith, Kate, the elder I wax, the better I shall appear: my comfort is, that old age, that ill layer up of beauty, can do no more, spoil upon my face: thou hast me, if thou hast me, at the worst; and thou shalt wear me, if thou wear me, better and better: and therefore tell me, most fair Katharine, will you have me?” I believed this was true, that though Porter was now rough around the edges, that he and I were a good match and that things would only get better between us.

I went to visit his family with him at Thanksgiving. We had a lovely time, but when we returned to BYU, my old fears and doubts redoubled themselves. There was this guy, Ross, that I had known my freshman year and felt something for back then. We had a class together this semester, and several times he had asked me out. I had always turned him down, but never said that I was dating someone. I had not seen fit to burn any more bridges at this point, I felt somewhat cornered in my situation and felt I needed to be open to other options if this was indeed headed towards marriage. He asked me out the day after I got back from the Thanksgiving trip and I accepted. It was a group date to a movie, a harmless social event in my mind. But that evening, Ross seemed to me to be everything that Porter wasn’t. I got scared. I couldn’t continue with things if I was feeling this way. I wanted time to think, but Porter sought me out that evening. I told him I needed “a break”. And so our dating relationship went on hiatus at this point.

Seeing as almost all my social interactions were with people who were more closely bonded to Porter than to me, this was a painfully lonely time. Christmas was approaching, and my parents had already purchased a ticket for Porter to come out and visit us over the holidays. Awkward situation. What to do? (My parents had even moved since my mission, so I didn’t even have any ties there!) Isolation….

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mr_porteiro_head
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Yeah, so that was a lousy time. I remember coming home after Mary dumped me. I went back and got the ring I had bought for Mary and handed to my roommate. "Would you please put this in your safety deposit box? I will have no need for it."

I remember (from before she dumped me), Mary had a lot of concerns that we weren't compatible, or at least that we weren't very similar. This is true. Mary and I are not very much like each other. But I told Mary that I didn't want to marry somebody just like myself. That's not what marriage is all about. Marriage partners are supposed to *compliment* each other. As a person, I have some strong strengths, and some appalling weaknesses. I need somebody that will help me be more balanced, not someone that will help me be more unbalanced than I already am.

So I went out to Florida during the Christmas break. Even though we weren't dating anymore, Mary's father still gave me "the interview". He wanted to know what all of my plans were for finishing school, career, etc.. He seemed pleased with my answers.

While out there, Mary decided that we should start dating again. I didn't understand why we were dating again any more than I understood why she broke up with me in the first place. But though I was ignorant, I was in bliss that we were back together.

After we got back together, the problems became much less stressful. All the same problems were still there, but it seemed that instead of trying to decide if these stumbling blocks were big enough to just abandon this path, Mary had decided to stay on target (almost there!) and work through the problems with me.

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beverly
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Porter and I had spent some time together during the “break”, but he always seemed so uncomfortable. I took a bit of opportunity to “look around” at what else was out there. What I found was not terribly encouraging. Whatever else these other guys offered, I felt from none of them the firmness of mind that Porter possessed. After being with Porter, a man who boldly stood by his words and actions, others seemed to pale in comparison. The things that troubled my mind were still there, but somehow they seemed less important that something so lasting. In my mind, Porter was an unpolished diamond, extremely rough around the edges, but I knew that the roughness was only superficial. I wanted that diamond enough to deal with the work it would take to have it. It is certainly not the common romantic approach to love, but I had confidence that the other things would be overcome with time and effort, and what I would have with Porter was precious enough to work for.

I had a few days alone at home with my parents before Porter arrived. That gave me some time to think. I found talking with my parents very helpful. I learned that the feelings I was going through were actually very similar to how my mother felt. She also chose a man who was not necessarily “the man of her dreams”, the sort she always pictured herself with, but had something of greater worth, something even more important. I remember my Mom asking me if I thought I could imagine us happily married. I told her that that was easy for me to imagine. It was the *getting there* that I was struggling with. I couldn’t deny that I had already hurt Porter a great deal and he didn’t know what to expect from me. That made the already-present barriers even more difficult to deal with. We needed to heal, to grow closer together, build trust between us if we were to ever reach that beautiful relationship that I could picture us having.

By the time he arrived, it was clear to me that I needed to put all my effort into rebuilding what we had between us. Porter was very cautious, and I tried my best to soothe his fears, convince him that I wasn’t going to “bolt” again. We enjoyed that brief holiday vacation together and looked forward to starting a new semester.

It wasn’t long after we returned to school that he proposed to me. We were on a brief road trip to attend the Manti Temple. Neither of us had been there, and we both really wanted to go. The drive was pleasantly long through a gorgeous mountain pass. Porter wanted to stop at a viewpoint, which was very lovely with the winter snow covering the high mountains. It was there that he brought out a stunning ring and I was so shocked all I could do was hug him. He hadn’t actually *asked* after all. He prompted me for a more definite response, and I said “yes!” When we passed a lovely cemetery closer to Manti, it isn’t surprising that he took the moment again to ask me “properly” down on one knee. After all, our first kiss was in a cemetery. It also isn’t surprising that we chose the Manti Temple as our place to be married three months later.

It has been a long and difficult road, but Porter and I have achieved something marvelous together and have both become so much more than we once were. For we balance each other out and complement each other just as we both knew that we would. While we may not have started out as instant soul-mates, I don’t think we have done a half-bad job at reaching that point the “long way”. We value most the things that we have worked the hardest for.

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mr_porteiro_head
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That was over six years ago. Since then, we have acquired three degrees, three children, and a house. We surprised ourselves by not leaving Utah as soon as we could. We are still not two people that make the most natural match. But it works for us.
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eslaine
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(happy 2k mph!)
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Space Opera
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What a great love story. All true loves have bumps in the road; thanks for sharing yours!

space opera

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Hobbes
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All your various love intrest's make my love life sound vagely pathetic. [Wink] Congrats on the two of you, six years overdo or not. [Big Grin] [Group Hug]

Hobbes [Smile]

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Noemon
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Great landmark guys--congratulations on six years of marriage too!
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PSI Teleport
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quote:
He was very tall and striking with his restlessly wavy, light brown hair and deep voice. He was very intelligent, indeed very opinionated, with such unconventional perspectives. He had a powerful sense of self. He compromised for no one, yet could easily admit if he was wrong. It seemed a compelling if contradictory mix of arrogance and simple humility. One thing I really liked was that he really seemed to want to know what I thought about things, listening to what I had to say. I had never met anyone anything like him. I loved the way he made me think, the way I felt when we talked. I still found him very intimidating though, and I promised myself I must not develop feelings for him because I would get my heart broken. In my mind, this man could have any girl he wanted, and I would not even be on the list.
Holy crap. I think my husband has a secret wife in Utah.
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Dan_raven
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You two are now my heroes.

That was just ...

wow.

(Unlike my stories, you didn't leave us waiting for days at a time for an update. Thanks!!)

Love is the second greatest power we possess. It is stronger than fear and anger, war and death.

Only Human Stupidity could destroy love, and you two avoided that pitfall.

Here is wishing you 60 more years.

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Farmgirl
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That was beautiful! Wonderful!

you make me wish I could fall in love again....

FG

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Nick
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Right on. [Cool]

But...
quote:
It was during this visit that I discovered Mary's deep, irrational hatred for edible fungi. I'm serious -- she *hates* mushrooms. It's really weird.
YES!!! Finally somebody else with some sense! [Razz]

[ July 16, 2004, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Nick ]

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Farmgirl
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quote:
I remember Porter took off his shirt and jumped in for a swim! (Mmmm, nice view!) I still have an awesome photo of him emerging from the sparkling water
post it! This we have GOT to see! [Big Grin]

Farmgirl

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zgator
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Do you two get the sense that God really wanted you to end up together.
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PSI Teleport
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quote:
post it! This we have GOT to see!
Yes, post it. I want Farmgirl to tell me if Porter looks like a German exchange student she had once.

*shifty eyes*

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Farmgirl
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[ROFL]

no, no, that was......who was that?... Jesse?

FG

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Synesthesia
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That was so beautiful, lovely and romantic!
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PSI Teleport
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Exactly, Farmgirl. Exactly.
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NdRa
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Aw man, that was really beautiful. Thanks you two.
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rivka
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That was lovely. [Smile] And I agree with zgator!

Congrats on 2000, mph. And congrats to both of you on six years of marriage. May you have at least ten times that many more.

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tt&t
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Oh, wow. Awesome landmark! Great story! It was very interesting to hear both sides, too.

...You give me hope that what is meant to be, will be, no matter what happens in between. Thank you for sharing this.

Congratulations on making it through, and on 2000. [Big Grin]

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ClaudiaTherese
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Wonderful landmark. I get the sense that the style of this thread echoes your relationship: "Marriage is one long conversation."

Beautiful. [Smile]

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pooka
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Great story, guys!

quote:
Love is the second greatest power we possess.
Okay, Dan, what's the first?

Oh, and Porter used "compliment" and not "complement". Sorry. I am trying to only point up typos that could conceivably cause misunderstanding.

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Lupus
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wow, that was amazing.
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ak
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What a fascinating story! Best wishes for the rest of the book. I can't wait to read the next chapter! [Smile] Seriously, do we get to hear about the wedding, the learning to live with one another, the kids, and so on? I can't bear for this to end so soon!
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Mabus
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You all keep talking about Mary Cate...what happened to Ashley? [Frown]
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PSI Teleport
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I was waiting for that.
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Jutsa Notha Name
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You guys jumped in and out of love-thinking-of-marriage between people pretty darned quick. Just thought I'd point that out. It's almost lucky that you guys wound up together. [Razz]
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