(read part 1 here)
a growing friendship… from bantering to “starry-eyed?!?”
i don’t think zach and i interacted much at all for the year that followed our first meeting. we didn’t really have a context for interacting. we lived in 2 different states and didn’t even really have any mutual friends. all that changed, however, when his best friend jonathan (baird) started a long distance relationship with my cousin nicole in the fall of 2004. (note: nicole and becky are the closest i have to sisters, and our relationship grew even more when all 3 of us girls lived in gilbert) i’m pretty sure that jonathan & nicole’s relationship was initially what paved the way for zach and i to begin growing a long distance friendship. jonathan and zach threw a big new year’s eve bash in 2004 and invited a number of their friends from other states. zach used me as his contact point for arizona invitees and we began exchanging emails and/or chatting online about party details. we both had a penchant for wit and banter, as well as a common interest in all things spy (the tv show Alias, etc). our online chatting conversations were super fun, spunky and always made me smile. i drove to pasadena with nicole and another friend (bethany) for the new year’s party and after that, zach and i continued to chat off and on via gmail. we had a few opportunities to interact in person – primarily at conferences. (ah, conferences. you’ll see as our story progresses, conferences play quite the role in our relationship. )
the Celebration conference where zach and i first met was sadly the last “official” one. however, 2 years later, the churches in the west decided that they wanted it back and thus threw their own “Together 2005” conference! aaaand that was where zach and i had our very first “real” conversation. i’m actually serious. up until that point, the nature of our friendship had been very light-hearted, replete with banter and wit. very “beatrice & benedick” if you will. the first day of T’05, we were hanging out with a group of people and i said to zach, “so when are we going to have a REAL conversation?” and he said, “how about right now?” um yeah, 30 seconds later we were back to teasing and laughing.
however, on the second day of T’05, i was walking back to my dorm room in the late afternoon and saw zach sitting on a bench by himself watching a group play volleyball. i headed over and sat down and we started talking – seriously. hey hey, what do you know? it could be done! we chatted about work and school and random life stuff. there was still some laughter and lightheartedness but it was actually a real conversation. like friends! i remember him asking me if i thought his heely shoes were dumb. i told him i thought they looked like a lot of fun.
at one point, our mutual friend mark converti – who was taking pictures throughout the conference – stopped by and joined the conversation. aaaand, you guessed it, snapped a couple pictures of me and zach talking.
(who knew these pictures would become so meaningful years later!)
so after talking “seriously” for about an hour, the cafeteria opened up for dinner across the walkway. he had to eat early so he could get over to the auditorium in time for the evening session’s band practice, so we decided to just head over and eat together. we split up to get our food and then joined back up at a small table. we were only there for about 15 minutes before we were joined by some other friends and zach had to head over to practice.
sooooo funny story. after the conference, my mom told me, “yeah so mrs. _______ found me that night and asked, ‘who was that young man with andrea? they were having dinner together and were just starry-eyed!’” i busted up laughing. “starry-eyed?!? me. starry-eyed. over zach boomsma??? are you kidding?! that’s hilarious! gosh people really just see what they wanna see, don’t they?” i found the whole thing utterly comical. and, i have to admit, not entirely unexpected. i mean, we WERE a young single male and a young single female sitting ALONE having a meal and talking. there MUST be something going on, right?? i actually found this humorous enough to call zach after the conference and tell him about it and we both had a good laugh about the difficulties of single guys and girls trying to be friends.