Friday, September 02, 2011

Stories of Jeff Excell - A New Year's Kiss?

The big debate. Whether or not to go down to Cedar City for my first New Year's Eve of knowing Jeff Excell. My big kiss break with the crush of my life. What to do? What to do?

The decision became even harder after Jeff sent me his completed homework assignment from me of writing up a life list. It was good. And as I read it, I couldn't help but imagine myself walking down Hollywood Boulevard with him, or being beside him as he caught that grand slam hit, or keeping him company in that hammock tied up by two palm trees.

There I had it. My life with Jeff Excell all planned out in the form of a list. I knew exactly what my future held. And I could no longer bear to imagine Jeff making any of his dreams come true without me. I smiled the whole time I read through the list. It was so perfect. It was so Jeff Excell.

Then I noticed he had added an extra goal. He was clearly the above-and-beyond type. My eyes glued to my computer screen as I read, "101. Spend New Year's 2008 with Sarah Thomas."

That little stinker. Using his life list against me. How could I stop him from accomplishing a freshly hatched goal?

I teased him in my email back that he could definitely spend New Year's with me by coming up to Salt Lake. The 8-hour round trip drive was his defense. He figured I needed to make it down to Cedar City either way, might as well be sooner rather than later.

I surveyed my family to see what their plans were for the holiday. Nothing. And besides, I wasn't interested in a New Year's kiss from any of them.

Jeff Excell had a hook on me. Which is why it only took about one day of debating before I announced to my family I was suddenly leaving a week early. And all for a boy. A boy with a very persuasive life list. And a very persuasive set of lips.

I got down to Jeff's new apartment the afternoon of New Year's Eve. I hadn't seen it yet, so Jeff gave me the grand tour.

One of the first things I noticed were the glamour pictures Jeff and his roommates had not only taken, but also hung on their wall.
You see, my roommates and I loved taking pictures. And we loved America's Next Top Model. Put the two together, and we ended up with milk mustaches smeared on our faces in an attempt to imitate a high fashion photo shoot. And what good would all those pictures be if we didn't pick our favorites to display in our living room?
I appreciated seeing our idea was such an inspiration. After the tour, Jeff and I played video games until the other party guests arrived.

I felt vulnerable being there. In a house full of Cedar City locals who all knew each other very well. Being the mystery girl who had come down from Salt Lake to spend the evening with Jeff. Having our first kiss in front of a bunch of strangers. The anticipation made me nervous. As we counted down the minutes until the new year, I attempted to play out all the possible ways the night could go, and the kiss could happen. They were all awkward.

I couldn't help but feel like maybe I was too bold to chase Jeff Excell in this way. It really was not my style. It was all too much. But it was all too late. The clock was quickly approaching midnight.

One way or another, I ended up sitting on the floor while Jeff sat next to one of his old mission companions on a tiny chair when the clock struck twelve. I looked at Jeff. Who looked at his companion. Who looked at the rest of the room and saw that no one brought in the new year with a kiss.

As the guests filed out of the house, Jeff took me up to his room to look at some old pictures he had. I loved looking through Jeff's old pictures. Discovering his past. Hearing all the stories the pictures would provoke. His arm around my shoulder as we flipped through his history.

I was really tired and the night ended up being a bit of a disappointment. So when my blurred brain came to realize the possibility of a new year's kiss was still lurking, I told Jeff I needed to go. Because our first kiss had a lot of pressure now. It needed to have the fireworks of happiness and perfection. Not the gloomy sense of obligation.

Jeff walked me to my car and reminded me he had work off the next day. He told me he wanted to take me sledding. I had nothing better to do -- being stuck in Cedar and all -- so I agreed.


Rebecca said...

Jeff is so fierce!

Anonymous said...

those pictures are way too awesome.

Kenzman said...

You are an amazing writer sarah. I'm so proud and inspired by you. Thanks for sharing your talents with us and letting us glimpse a small part of the special bond you and your cute little family has.

Them them all. Especially YOU!

The Stevens Family said...

I love it! However-once again you've left me hanging!! lol!