We trusted that God was taking care of him. Of Eddie Kindle. It was obvious at this point that any message sent to him would be ignored, so we all tried our best to resist and just leave him be.
I found out later that I wasn't the only one who caved in to the longing to at least say goodbye. I could have whacked Facebook and Myspace in the face with every textbook in my return-to-lender pile for making contacting him so consistently and glaringly easy.
I cringed as I clicked "send" on my message that simply read, "Will I get to bid you farewell?". Genevieve's Myspace comment more classily stated, "Stop by and say goodbye. Or hello. Either one."
Imagine our shock when he wrote us both back!
I clicked the subject line that was only a series of dots and read his words. "I figure so. It just seems that we will see each other at some point along the way. :)" Not exactly like plans to meet up, but the fact that it was a response at all was cause for a little celebration, emotionally.
Along came another Thursday. The last day to be out of the dorms.
I was already out. Since my parents had moved to Indiana just after my return from Oz, I had been unsure of where to go when school ended. Kentucky noticed I was feeling a bit lost one day in class and grinned that I should just stay with them. When I had replied with my usual, "Oh, if only!" she clarified that she was serious, and that their family would love to have me.
So by the last Thursday I had crammed everything I owned into my car and driven it over to the Hanwell's house to spend the summer sharing a room with my sweet, gracious Kentucky.
I was sitting on the couch watching The Office with Rosie when my phone rang. It was Eddie. Was I dreaming? He hadn't called me all semester. In fact, this was a phenomenon that had not happened in so long that it had fallen out of the category of legend and slipped into that of myth. Funny that the boy who used to sit and wait in his room for me to get online so we could hang out before I had a phone had utterly failed to use my number now that I did have one.
"Sarah, where are you? I've been looking for you all day and I can't find you anywhere."
I told him I was at the Hanwell's and he said he'd be over in a minute.
He was truthful. It wasn't long before his lanky self came through the door and there was a moment of joy all around before he disappeared into the kitchen with Genevieve. Nobody told the rest of us to keep out, but we could tell by the somber murmuring we heard through the hallway that the talk they were having in there was loaded. They were talking about things that mattered. He was confessing secrets. Genevieve was finding out why he had spent the semester avoiding us.
When their talk was over and they re-emerged into the living room, I could have sworn I noticed a tear streak on his cheek. I went outside and gathered up all the kittens the Hanwell's cat had birthed some 4 weeks prior, came back in with my stack of kittens and sat down next to Eddie on the couch, dumping them all on his chest at once. It seemed logical to me. He looked amused and surprised as he chuckled, "You would just go get all the kittens."
We slouched for a while and watched the kittens stumble clumsily all over, getting their baby claws stuck in our shirt sleeves and batting at the air in their determined little kitty way. We laughed. So simple a statement it is to acknowledge that there was laughter, I know. But the remarkable thing about this laughter was that it was real. It was genuine, refreshing laughter. There was nothing forced or obliging about it.
We prayed for him. Hands on. I, on the floor at his feet with my fingers inside his shoe, fidgeting with the laces. And then we yarned him.
Yarning was a tradition started by Kentucky in a devotional we did together during the time that Eddie was ignoring us. She talked about a verse in Psalms that says, "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken."
She pointed out that it occurred to her that one way to cast our cares on the Lord was to share them with each other. The church. That we are so connected with each other spiritually, and we should know that we are all here for each other.
She then pulled out a ball of yarn that we passed around, each wrapping it a few times around our wrist and then passing it to the next friend. We all sat on the floor literally connected by the yarn and passed around a pair of scissors to cut it with. We cut the yarn and tied it for each other. Genevieve said she had claustrophobic wrists and that she would be cutting her yarn off later but for us to know she would be using it as a bookmark for her Bible, so we could rest assured that she was holding onto hers too.
On this Thursday night yarning, after Kentucky explained the devotion that Eddie had missed, he handed the ball of yarn to Rosie and asked that she do the honors. With a mischievous glint in her eye, she wound it around his wrist so many times he had an inch thick of yarn before she was through. It was as it should be.
There were heartfelt hugs all around, and then he was gone again.
If this was a movie, that would have been my moment of closure. Don't get me wrong, I did feel some closure. I felt the burning glow deep in my heart that God cares about the details of our lives even when we think He doesn't. It was one of many times that I would experience His infinite faithfulness in such an ostentatious manner.
But this was not a movie, it was my reality. And in real life, I have been silly more often than not. Closure doesn't always come perfectly on the first try.
When Eddie hugged me goodbye, many if not all of the walls of protection I had built against him in my heart melted into a puddle so vast and so gloopy, I was somewhat shocked that it didn't come oozing out my ears all over the floor.
I began trying to put them back up immediately, but it was like trying to build an igloo out of powdery snow that just sticks to your mittens and fluffs off in every direction.
It was too late. The tiny flicker of hope that he might change his mind and reciprocate my adoration had returned.