Year Four: 2003By far my biggest and longest year yet, in a good way.
Edward and I rocked out the spring semester in style and everything was going perfectly. Life was good, I was happy, and the future seemed bright. Another guy, DS, was hanging with us a lot, and by the end of the semester he moved in to take Edwards spot when he graduated. We stayed there to live out the last few weeks of our year lease and at the start of the summer moved across the drive to an odd little house that would have been a great progression, until the landlord sold the house to a fraternity shortly after leasing it to us, so we packed up and found another place across town on Timberline Drive.
DS and I got summer jobs at a local outdoor shop that was opening a new location in Rogers: Lewis & Clark Outfitters. It was there that I met the girl that was to become my wife. My girlfriend and I had split up for good and I had my eyes on the manager of the apparel department. I told DS the day I met her that I would make it my goal to make her smile at least once everyday.
We worked there all summer and by the time the fall semester started DS had quit to focus on the tennis team at the U of A. Munsey and Hunter moved in with us on Timberline and we were looking forward to another great year. Sometime during the first few weeks of classes I saw a friend on campus that I had known in high school. Peter was a freshman and we immediately re-connected and starting hanging out everyday. We were camping, fly fishing, and rock climbing almost every day of the week. Peter and I were skipping classes and sleeping under the stars more often than not, living out of my Toyota 4Runner. I helped Peter get a job at Lewis & Clark and we would often roll into work directly from camping the night before, reeking of campfire smoke, chalk dust, and rainbow trout.
I was taking my time with Micaiah, the girl I worked with at the shop - she seemed interested in another guy and I wasn't in a hurry to settle down and get back into a relationship. Peter and I were having way too much fun dreaming and being dirtbag climbers.
About halfway through the semester, I did something that would change my trajectory forever. I called up HogCall, the automated telephone registrar at the U of A, and withdrew from all my classes, just like that. I had plans to pack up my car and drive to Alaska to fish and camp, never to return. By that time, Micaiah had quit Lewis & Clark and moved to Guatemala to live with her parents, who were missionaries there. We kept in touch via email and often sent pseudo-flirty messages to each other, not sure where any of it was leading. Before she left we had been out together a couple of times, but nothing more than friendly dates. When I told her in an email that I had dropped out of school and would be driving to Alaska soon, she dropped a bomb on me that I could not stop thinking about. She told me that her parents were looking for a young guy to come to Guatemala to start up a youth ministry for them at their church - and that I would be perfect for the job. Just like a lot of guys have that point in life where they drop everything to ...go see about a girl“, I accepted the invitation.
By Thanksgiving, I was living in Guatemala, and by New Years Eve, Micaiah and I were making out on the roof of the church as the fireworks exploded all around us.