(Andrew(on the far left) and his football buddies. First picture I ever saw of Andrew pre-blind date 2005)
The first time I met Andrew Heard was at one of his intramural basketball games. Up to this point, I had only seen a picture of him. I walked in the gym and saw a guy jump out of bounds and yell a profanity; I thought he was Andrew and my first thought was “great first impression” (so judgy, I know). Half way through the game, I found out that wasn’t Andrew (he loved to tease me about how I thought he was another guy). He lost the game that night and I was curious to see if he would be in a bad mood because of the loss, but to my relief he was not. A few days later, we went on a double date with the friends who set us up. I remember him being serious and intellectual. I also remember feeling like I needed a dictionary to look up some of the massive words he was using. I felt extremely intimidated by his intellect. In the middle of dinner, I found out that it was his birthday. I’m not going to lie and say it was love at first sight because I don’t think it was that way for either of us. Quite honestly, I didn’t think he was interested in me at all. By that time, my friend had already told him I was going to ask him to my sorority function, so of course at the end of the night I asked him and he told me he would have to check his schedule and a second later said yes.
The next time I would see Andrew was on my 20th birthday at Christmas in Salado. My second impression of Andrew was much better than the first. He was an incredible country western dancer and taught me some fun moves. Then on the drive home, our conversation really hooked me. He told me about how he had cancer when he was 18 and how he just finished his first book about it. He also told me how he wanted to be a pastor so he could help people understand God better. I had never met anyone who had gone through so much in their life at such a young age. The fact that he was driven and had writen a book was fascinating to me. I loved that he was so smart. When I saw him, I saw a man and not a boy. That was the beginning of my intrigue with Andrew.
(Me and Andrew in Salado taking our first picture together in Dec. 2005)
Rafael and I were still friends during this time and I remember telling him about Andrew and how well the date went. Rafael listened and was kind, and in the end told me to be careful. It was right before Christmas break, and before I left, Raffy asked me if he and I could write letters to each other over the break. I agreed. Also, right before school let out for Christmas break, Andrew called me and invited me to coffee. I decided to write a list of Bible questions for him to field because I thought it was amazing to know a Bible scholar (he later made fun of me for what he called “the interview”). At the end of our discussion, I completely offended Andrew by equating him, as a seminary student, to the Pharisees in the Bible. Luckily he thought it was more funny than offensive. Before I left for break, Andrew gave me the manuscript to his first book, “Your Best Life Later.” I couldn’t wait to read it and learn everything I could about this fascinating person.
Over Christmas break I was reading Andrew’s book, which made me feel like I knew him way more than I did, because I was able to somewhat read his life story. We were also talking on the phone every night. Even though we were doing those things, I didn’t think Andrew was as into me as I would soon find out he was. Meanwhile Raffy and I were writing friendly letters back and forth pretty consistently, but on Christmas day all of that would change forever.
On Christmas morning, I opened a package from Rafael and it was something he had been working on all Christmas break. To this day, it is one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received (I still have it)! It was a video full of pictures, accompanied by music, of every game we traveled to that year in football and every special event we had with cheer. He made sure to put in some of the songs that both him and I would listen to over and over that season. At the end of the video, he wrote me a letter saying that I was always a friend that he would be there for. I called him and told him thank you so much for the video. I also told Andrew about the video and how amazing it was. That same day I received 3 dozen red roses from Andrew (he swore it was supposed to be 4 dozen) and a letter asking me to be his official girlfriend. Honestly, I was kind of surprised that he asked me, because I was not confident that he liked me enough to make it exclusive. I told him yes and then immediately wrote a letter to Rafael saying that I had to cut communication because I was now in a relationship.
I left home early during Christmas break and went back to Waco like I did every year to cheer at the basketball games. I was nervous to see Rafael because of the letter I sent him. He greeted me with a huge smile and seemed so happy to see me and he was so playful. I thought to myself that he took me shutting down communication really well. Later that night I got a call from Raffy and he was not happy. He told me when he got home he had a missed call from his mom. When he called her back, she told him he had received one more letter from me and asked him if he wanted her to read it to him. He agreed. I don’t exactly remember how our conversation went but I know he still didn’t tell me how he felt about me, which was frustrating because obviously I knew he felt something to be that upset. He quit cheer the next day, walked onto the football team later that month, and that was the beginning of a long period of silence between us.
(80’s cheer event. I’m in the crazy pants and look who is holding my feet!)