On Friday, September 20 I went to my friend Sandra's 30th birthday bash. There were a ton of people there from a bunch of different groups of friends and among the AORYA group, I saw Duane. At one point in the evening one guy sidles up to me and starts commenting about me being single and asking if I was interested in anybody. His question could be considered inappropriate considering the context of our friendship but it was awkward more than anything else since Duane was standing beside me when he asked. I gave a non-committal answer that "there might be someone I was interested in" and when he asked if the guy was there that evening I was grateful the sun had gone down and my blushing face was hidden when I said "maybe". Poor Duane! I found out quite a bit later that he wondered if he even had a chance since I probably liked another guy that was there. I still had no idea whether Duane was even interested.
A group of us from AORYA had made plans to go skeet shooting the morning after the birthday bash and Duane asked me a few times to clarify where it was. I had no idea (I'm not exactly the directions expert). Little did I know he was trying to have a conversation with me and I kept pointing him to other people. (not one of my brightest moments)
On Saturday morning we met at our friend's workshop and he supplied with all the guns, targets and ammo we wanted. Too bad I fell really sick that morning and so instead of enjoying myself and spending time with Duane, I was curled up in a ball trying to pretend like I was okay. Duane was definitely showing interest as he kept asking if I was okay and when I insisted "oh yeah, I'm fine", he would offer me the gun he was shooting and ask if I wanted to try. I did, a couple times. I finally had to give up and go home. I couldn't believe that he might be interested and I had to be sick! The rain probably didn't help me feel much better, but here are a few pics of our adventure:
Duane (isn't he handsome?!) with Caroline and Jenn.
It was a bit rainy and I was in pain, but I tried to muster a decent smile for the camera.
I took a couple pain relievers and after a short rest, was feeling much better. Then I get a text on my phone from an unknown number, and it was from Duane! We had a conference that day and he knew that I was responsible for getting the food and setting up and offered to help. I remember thinking: "Duane texted me! How did Duane get my number? Duane has MY number? How? Nevermind how, he texted me! EEEEE! Maybe he IS interested? Oh calm down, he's just being helpful. How on earth did he get my number?" I texted him back and said that would be great, but tried to not sound too giddy...but it's pretty obvious that I'm not good at keeping my emotions in check.
I picked up the groceries, drove to the conference and soon after, Duane arrived. I'm sure there were others, but at that point I was just excited to see him. I've always known that he was helpful and kind, but that day I had the privilege of watching it first-hand as he stuck by my side the whole day and offered to do whatever needed to be done. Whenever something was finished he would come back and find me (although there were at least half a dozen of us organizing the conference) and ask me "what's next" or "what else can I do". Such a kind, servant-hearted man and we were hanging out!