Sometimes honesty complicates things. After our conversation it would have been easier to retreat back into our own separate lives pretending nothing had happened. Anyone else would have had the opportunity to step back, re-evaluate, and move on from what could have been.
Not us. We were still signed on to play Justin and Jennifer McCue for weeks. We had to figure out how to work together in the middle of a new normal almost immediately.
Initially, we approached each other tentatively and with reserve making sure not to send any unintentionally confusing messages to the other. Our conversations were politely short and to the point. We did what was necessary to maintain the integrity of our characters and for all intents and purposes, it seemed to work. No one knew there was anything different between us.
From a congregational standpoint, the weekly drama series was a huge win. Since we clearly worked well together, Pastor suggested Mike and I collaborate on a full-length Easter presentation – me writing and directing, and Mike producing. He made it possible for us to attend a dramatic presentation at another church for ideas. Neither of us could overlook the excitement of the opportunity he presented to us . . . even if that meant we had to work together a little longer.
To make it clear we were not going on a date, Mike enlisted his friend to accompany us. When his friend backed out at the last minute Mike emphasized to the point of embarrassment that we were only attending the presentation as friends. I had not expected anything else and his candor annoyed me.
Despite all our misgivings, all the awkwardness, and all the crazy annoying moments we’d shared over the previous weeks, something changed as we drove to the church that night. We didn’t say anything, but we both felt it. Much later Mike explained to me how hard it was for him not to reach over to hold my hand. As much as his head told him the timing was off, his heart steadily whispered something different.
We stopped talking about what might or might not work in a relationship and let be what was. What began to blossom was real and authentic. I stopped questioning if he had feelings for me because it was increasingly hard for either of us to deny they were there . . . and that they were real.