I waited anxiously for Rob to pick me up at my house (which was actually my aunt and uncle’s home). He was running a little later than I was expecting. Anything could have happened on the two-hour drive.Traffic. Car Crashes. Zombies. Big Foot Sightings. “When is this guy going to enter the 21st century and get a cell phone?” I thought to myself.
I flipped on the t.v. to pass some time. I was packed up and ready to go, excited as could be to see Rob after an entire week and a half (which felt like forever to a 19 year old who was deeply in love!).
I finally heard a knock on the door and ran to greet him. After giving him a huge hug and a brief tour of my house he grabbed my bags, threw them in the trunk of his blue Honda Civic and we headed off to Washington. The plan was to introduce him to my family on our way back through, so we headed straight out without any home town tours or introductions.
For the next three hours we enjoyed each other’s company in the solitude of his car. He told me all about his time in Southern California and told me quite a bit about his family and what I might be able to expect over the next week.
I was excited to meet them, yet extremely nervous. He had hardly mentioned a word about me to anyone—he was apparently a big fan of secrets!
I am very likely about to meet my future in-laws. I thought to myself. They don’t even know that I’m alive.
We stopped for lunch at a Subway just off of the freeway in Washington then got back on the road as quickly as possible. It was a long drive, but the company was fantastic!
Finally, we turned off the freeway and eventually arrived in his hometown. We had some time to kill before his mom and step-dad would be home from work so Rob gave me a little bit of a hometown tour complete with all sorts of commentary about his life and friends in Washington. I loved hearing about his life about there. I loved every aspect of getting to know him. And what better way to really get to know him then to meet his friends and family on his home turf?
After our mini tour we finally headed toward his mom’s house. As we were driving I saw lots of big houses in beautiful neighborhoods. This was a little bit of a novelty to me because my hometown was just starting to get developments like that. I only had one friend who lived in a big beautiful new house like the ones that we were passing. And she was very well-off. The rest of us lived in ‘normal’ houses in well established neighborhoods that were nothing special to look at—inside or out.
But these houses were huge. They must have had 100 bedrooms a piece and maids and butlers and landscapers and live-in handy men! Okay, so I might be exaggerating a little…but I was in shock over the size of these houses.
(Side note: In reality these houses were fairly ‘normal’ sized 2,000-2,800 square feet. They were newer homes, and very nice, but not quite the opulent houses that I imagined them to be in my head at the time. They were simply settled into really nice neighborhood developments that I wasn’t used to in my small town… so I felt like they were mansions!)
I enjoyed the scenery, marveling at the beautiful neighborhoods and imagining what it would be like to see inside of one of these houses. I also wondered how long it would take us to get to Rob’s family’s house. We must have been getting close since we’d turned off of the beaten path.
Certainly he didn’t live in one of these neighborhoods though. He was a simple guy, living on a fairly small, very tight budget. He was always dressed nicely but his clothes weren’t expensive. His car was older and his entire apartment (um… barn) in Salem was just over 400 square feet—furnished entirely with hand-me-downs.
Then all of the sudden he put on his blinker. Oh, we must be taking another sight-seeing detour, I thought to myself.
We pulled into one of these really nice neighborhoods full of really big beautiful houses with perfectly landscaped lawns. I could imagine block parties and kids riding their bikes on the streets. Most of these driveways had very nice cars parked in them.
This was clearly a neighborhood I didn’t belong in. The biggest home I ever lived in was about half the size of one of these. And the newest car I ever drove surely cost less then the set of tires on any one of the vehicles we were passing.
Then the unthinkable happened. Rob pulled up in front of one of these houses—and turned off the engine. “This is my house,” he said. I looked up at what was quite possibly the biggest, prettiest house I had ever been in up to that point in my life.
I just about panicked. This was way out of my comfort zone—not at all what I was expecting. Am I thinking about marrying a rich kid? This couldn’t be the right house. Maybe he’s lost? No way on earth was this the house his parents lived in. He’s got to be joking with me, right?
Suddenly I began to try desperately to remember every set of manners I’d ever been taught. If it had been an option for me to turn around and run away I might have done just that. I wanted to explain to Rob that he’d fallen for the wrong girl and turn the engine on and make my way back to backwoods Oregon—where I belonged. Unfortunately, however, it was Rob’s car. And I was more than 3 hours from home in a completely different state.
Like it or not, I was about to meet his parents. You know—the ones who thought Rob was bringing home a really big guy friend? If I was nervous before I was petrified now.
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