But in late October, a text message changed everything. I was at home with Emma, and Peter happened to be visiting. I heard my phone beep, read the message and burst out laughing. It was from Duncan, of course, and it said, "Hi Sarah, I hope you're not missing me too much." This message was unusual in every way. Firstly, Duncan seldom texted me, unless it was to ask about something general, like a gathering of mutual friends. Secondly, it had flirtatious overtones.
"What's so funny?" Peter asked, amused.
I showed him the message, and he smiled at me craftily.
"This guy likes you."
I refused to believe it, even though my heart was fluttering the way it does when I've had too much caffeine. I texted Duncan back, telling him I was missing him terribly, but made sure the tone was humorous.
A few days later, another text message from Duncan arrived. This time he chatted about random things, such as a rabbit which had been eating the lettuces in his vegetable garden, and that it was going to be a dead rabbit soon (he inserted a smiley face after this). I begged him to have mercy on the rabbit (times have changed as I would show no mercy to the rabbit now). The text messages continued sporadically over the next month, and I was in such a daze that I couldn't concentrate at work. Was what Peter said true, I wondered? Did Duncan really like me? (Peter didn't know Duncan by the way). Or was I just one of his many female acquaintances? I tried to quell my excitement. I didn't want to get my hopes up for nothing, but suddenly I had something to look forward to, and that was Duncan's next visit to Perth at the end of November.
After church, we went with a group of friends to an Indonesian restaurant in East Victoria Park for dinner. Duncan and I were sitting opposite each other. I caught him staring at me, then he'd look away. Then he'd catch me staring at him, and look away. Fun times!
The next day, a text message woke me quite early in the morning. It was Duncan, asking if we could write to each other (he had no computer at this stage) and if he could have my address. I literally got out of bed and did a victory dance, and then the letter writing phase began.
Duncan was one of the first people I confided in about my blog, and he was very interested in Sarah's School of Dating. He wanted some tips onn understanding women, so I printed off the first few lessons and mailed them to him. Then I froze. What if he was interested in some other chick, and was merely using me as his token female friend who would help him get a girlfriend? Luckily for him, he was using my dating advice to get......me :)
Suddenly the word 'Duncan' started appearing everywhere, it was bizarre! I went to the gym and found myself walking behind a bloke wearing a basketball singlet with 'Duncan' on the back. Another day, I was driving along, stopped at a red light, and looked up to see the intersection was at 'Duncan St'. I felt like I was going crazy, and that even when I wanted to stop thinking about Duncan, his name would just pop up everywhere! Yes, I think God has a sense of humour. Perhaps it was even his way of guidance?
We continued to write about all sorts of things, asked each other a heap of questions, and soon our 'relationship' progressed to phone calls. I dreaded the first night Duncan rang me. I was afraid the conversation would dry up and be awkward, but we chatted for over an hour. For Christmas, I went to Albany and he went to Dunsborough, but he made me promise to send him postcards. Then I rang him on Christmas night, and my mum became very suspicious as to who I was talking to for so long at such a late hour.
By this stage, I had told no-one about our fledgling relationship, except Emma and Peter and some of my other school friends. I wanted to tell Craig and Sarah, but they were engaged by this stage and busy planning their wedding which was less than a month away. I was also wary about the unfortunately gossipy state of my church, and I didn't want to be the butt of rumours. Besides, there was still an element of doubt as to Duncan's intentions. I knew he had heaps of female friends, and for all I knew, he could be writing to them and hanging out with them 1-1 too. Note to guys here - you may think it's nice to have lots of female friends and hang out with them by themselves, but many girls look at guys surrounded by a gaggle, and think COMPETITION! I wanted to be sure. I wanted him to clarify the relationship.
We both went to the same New Year's party, and to be honest, it felt like Duncan was stalking me...but in a good way. When I was dancing, he was on the sidelines, taking photos of me. He followed me everywhere and some of our friends got very suspicious. I slept in the next morning until Duncan woke me up with a phone call, asking if I would like to play tennis with him and Craig (Sarah was busy so she didn't come). Craig spent the journey to the courts being a not-so-subtle matchmaker. He insisted I take the front passenger seat next to Duncan, then proceeded to tell me about all of Duncan's fine qualities, including his taste in CDs.
When I turned around to give him a 'look', he just smiled at me slyly.
The next morning, Duncan was due to head home, but he invited me out to breakfast before he left. Unfortunately being the 2nd January, a lot of businesses were still closed, and out first 'date' ended up being at McDonald's. When he went to leave, I desperately wanted to hug him, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Before I knew what I was doing, I had reached out and given him a little pat on the upper arm! Duncan still teases me about this to this day; he calls it 'The Pat'.
Three days later, he rang me and we 'officially' became a couple.
Of course, the first few months were incredibly difficult and tumultuous, which I wrote about here.
But I don't want to dwell on the sad parts. Today we've been married for two years with hopefully many more to come. What an amazing journey it has been!
Kissing Kath and Kel style.