How Did You & Zach Start Dating? (Part 6)

As I was writing this entry, Zach texted me:
What are you up to?

Not a lot. Getting ready to post part six. People are really getting into this!

Oh, good! I'm excited. I can't wait to read it.

Zach, you already know what happens!

I know. (pause) But I love our story.

I do too, buddy. I do too.

If you've missed any part of our story, you can catch up here: [part 1] • [part 2] • [part 3] • [part 4] • [part 5]

• • • • •

That weekend sparked the summer romance of a lifetime. After Zach texted me, he came down to main camp and we sat on the grass next to Hillside, talking into the wee hours of the morning about everything from faith & family to our mutual favorite food at Olive Garden (Zuppa Toscana) & obscure favorite childhood television shows (Pappyland). There was no stopping it---I was quickly falling head-over-heels "in like" with Zacharie Jones.

Before the camp week started, we agreed that the campers were our main priority of the summer, so apart from David and Alyson, nobody even knew we were together. (Days later, I started "Choose-day Tuesday," which may single-handedly be the highlight of my Camp Bethel career, lest anyone think that my love interest hindered my ability to be an amazinggg counselor.)

I only went home for one weekend the entire summer---immediately after my baby cousin, Reese, was born. When I went to my aunt and uncle's house to see my cousin for the first time, I got a phone call from David. He asked my shoe size and hung up as soon as I responded. I didn't think anything about it until I returned to camp on Sunday afternoon and Zach gave me a new pair of shoes---the most adorable pair of blue flats with the Duke University Blue Devil logo on the side. Um, hello. I had a winner.

(I'm kissing the Big Oak, by the way. No big deal.)

Honestly, the memories from that summer are endless. We filled our weekends with Salem Avalanche baseball games, the Salem Fair, sparklers on the 4th of July, the Roanoke Star, and our first ever date night: Wall•E in theaters. I remember exactly where I was standing the first time he told me that he was falling completely "in like" with me. I remember every detail about the night it poured down rain at Home-in-the-Woods and Zach spent hours helping my unit build a fire so we could cook our supper, even though all the other units had given up and returned to the cabins for the night. I remember the upside-down lime green bowl on the top shelf of the staff closet where we occasionally hid notes for each other whenever we went in to get alligator boards or twine.

Zach & the infamous fire in the middle of the rain

our first ever picture together

And I remember the moment Zach told me that Susan (our boss) had told him that I was "a good catch."

Oh, no. No no no! I was Beth Haynes. I was not meant to be "caught." Not ever. But especially not now.

How could I let myself get swept up in a summer romance? What was I doing?!

I freaked out to David as we sat on a bench up by the Big Oak. We seemed to be co-counselors a lot that summer. Thankfully so, because he knew everything about me, even before things with Zach happened. We couldn't have been more different---I always wanted a plan and needed to know exactly where things were headed, while David was content to fly by the seat of his pants. I thought strictly with my head; David thought solely with his heart. Together, we balanced one another out, which was good. I don't know if David ever learned anything from me, but I learned so much from him that summer. I learned that when it comes to life and love, there isn't always a way to know exactly how things will turn out. It's an awful lot like grabbing someone's hand and jumping off a waterfall together---somewhat terrifying, but so good. And in the end, it's almost always worth it.

That weekend, our last weekend at camp, I sat quietly in a hammock at the shop while I watched Zach help David with his love gift. I watched the most selfless boy I had ever met spend hours making a love gift that wasn't even his to give. I watched him patiently piece the wood together and meticulously sand it down with care. I watched him go above and beyond as he added little details to make it just perfect. I didn't say anything; I just watched. It's hard to explain, I suppose. I reflected on the summer, thinking about this incredibly godly man and thanking God for bringing him into my life.

And although neither of us would say the words to one another for quite some time, that was the exact moment I fell in love with Zach Jones....

(to be continued)