The darkness of the sky was all encompassing as we cruised down the unlit highway. Old R&B jams sauntered through the speakers filling the cabin air of Kendrae’s Chevy Silverado. As smooth and cool as the air being pumped through his vents in attempt to combat the thick, summer heat.
His large, calloused hand interlocked with mine making me feel so small. A feeling that was foreign to a 5’11” girl like me. The warmth in his touch made my entire body tingle. Even though it had only been two weeks since we’d last seen each other, holding hands made me realize how much I truly missed him. I leaned into the side of the seat and fixed my gaze on Kendrae. This.This was what I had been waiting and praying for. All the dates I never went on. The dates I was never asked on. The nights spent alone rather than seeking solace in another for the sake of company. All the heartbreak and longing seemed like another lifetime in comparison to this.
I didn’t care if we ever made it to his parents’ house. I was relishing the moment to sit and enjoy being in Kendrae’s company. Words were unnecessary. I had never been so comfortable and so at home in my own skin. I took a deep breath and breathed in the scent of his intoxicating cologne. I could get used to this.This feeling. This man. This woman I became when I was around him.
My thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from Kendrae’s mom, checking on our drive. We were expecting to arrive in Crosby, a smaller town northeast of Houston, sometime around 1:00 AM. His mom expressed that she was excited to see us, but would be in bed by the time we got in. I was a little relieved that I would be able to get my bearings and make sure that I looked parent-presentable before meeting his family. Who really looks their best after a three-and-a-half-hour car ride at 1:00 in the morning?
The next morning at 6:00, not my best time of day either, I was awoken by a knock at the bedroom door. Kendrae was adamant that we get a good run in before making the rounds of introduction. I rolled out of bed, threw on some raggy running attire and barely managed to brush my teeth, let alone do anything to my wild hair and bare face. I walked down the stairs, still mostly asleep, and was startled to find Kendrae’s mom waiting to greet me.
“Hi honey!” she cooed, her voice as sweet as honey. She wrapped me in a hug and assured me how glad she was to meet me.
I’m not even sure what I managed to stammer out because I was so caught off guard by our greeting. This was NOT my best representation of myself and certainly NOT how I wanted to look the first time I met my boyfriend’s mom. Our casualties were interrupted by Kendrae’s entrance from the garage into the kitchen. He smiled at us both and announced that he was ready to go, and off he and I went.
The muggy Houston air filled my lungs and made my face even more red than it felt from my brief encounter with Kendrae’s mom. I mentally kicked myself the whole two miles until I realized that I would most likely look even worse post-run. What a winner he brought home with him…!
Later that afternoon after I had meticulously fixed myself up, I reemerged downstairs, ready to meet anyone. I quickly fell in love with his Dad. He was a quiet, reserved man who liked what he liked. I knew Kendrae admired him and they had a close relationship. I could sense that he had a somewhat rough exterior, but all I could see was his heart of gold. Kendrae told me that his Dad enjoyed cars and cowboy boots, so I worked those topics. Before I knew it, he had pulled out every pair of cowboy boots from his collection, and had them displayed in the living room for me. I knew right there, that we would get along just fine.
I was a little more self-conscious around his mom because I knew Kendrae thought the world of her. Not to mention my less than perfect, first impression. But, she was the most welcoming, down-to-earth individual I had ever met. She made you feel like you were the only person in the room when she talked to you. And she beamed sunlight.
Kendrae’s younger sister was so similar to him in many ways. She was easy going, full of laughter and possessed an upbeat attitude. Kendrae’s older brother was kind and equally laid back. He was witty and possessed the same welcoming qualities as his mother. I loved watching Kendrae’s interactions with his siblings; their love for one another so apparent.
I was surprised how effortlessly I fell into stride with his family. Similar to the way I felt instantly at home around Kendrae. It made sense. The rest of the weekend was smooth sailing. I really had hit the jackpot. Phenomenal guy. Phenomenal family.
Was this the stuff dreams were made of? Was it really possible life could work out so storybook-ending?Except, why had I never felt this sense of belonging with my family? And what about their less than loving feelings towards Kendrae? Would they come to love him as I did? Could they?