He is a small town. Quiet, simple, unassuming, and completely set in a motion of life that makes him steady. Because I grew up in a place so similar, Paul has always felt familiar somehow.
I think that's why I love him.
And away from the stress of work, school, laundry, and Utah's obsession with homemade wreaths, the two of us were fee to be our true selves. In Southern Illinois if you want to have a southwestern themed house you do, and if you want to paint a bathroom fuchsia you break out a brush. The Jones' live far enough away that keeping in touch replaces keeping up. Listening to my grandmother talk about her fun Friday nights at the auction in Ina was such a jarring contrast from the frantic soccer, scouts, dance, football, drama club, band concert schedules of the women I'm accustomed to listening to here. And I could feel Paul humming like a tuning fork, and the tones of this new world resonated notes I'd never heard from him. "I like it here," he said. "I can see myself here."
And just as I discovered a new him, he discovered a new me. On Sunday, we drove to my old house, the one my parents built, guided completely by my memories. "Look! There's Dee's Pet Shop! Turn here. There's the place were we fed the horses. Turn here. There's the pond we use to fish in, turn! There's the house. . . There was my home. . ." And sitting in front of that one story house with white siding he looked at me and peered into the vulnerable spot I'd been hiding for so long. The normal girl from small town nowhere. The girl who moved away and was bullied for her accent, out of style clothes, and love of country music. And I was afraid. . . afraid he'd wouldn't like that girl either.