My 4th of July weekend took a few unexpected turns (literally). I will explain...
Friday was actually a really good day. I woke up early to go to the gym with Sam, which I was pretty proud of myself for, especially since it was 7am on a day I didn't have to work. Afterward, I came home to finish packing and then ran a few errands around Greenville before heading out. Before going to my parents house, I was making a stop in Denton to spend time with James and his parents (seeing as how I had only seen them for 20 minutes previously). It was so nice to be at his house, to just see where he comes from. I was finally able to see the bedroom he grew up in, for instance. There were pictures of him as a kid and he was the CUTEST thing! Those were the first pictures I had seen from his childhood. Adorable. I wanted James to introduce me to some of the things he liked to do when home so we went on the four-wheeler. I was a little scared at first, especially when I realized that we were going through the woods (I was even slapped in the face with a branch, but it didn't really hurt) but it ended up being a lot of fun once I relaxed. I think James was gentle with me because he knew I was nervous. Afterward, James and I went to a little restaurant in Denton for dinner...country cookin' to be exact. And that night, he took me down to the pond on their property to make a fire. I know that sitting by the fire is one of his favorite things to do so it was nice to be able to do it with him. Being there made it really feel like summer. I wish I could sit by the fire with James every night.
The next day was Independence Day and my dad's birthday. I was feeling a bit down most of the day. It had been very tough to leave James the night before. He was planning to come to my parents' house that day but he was unsure of how long he could stay. His parents were planning to see a fireworks show and he wanted to go with them. I know it's selfish but I just want to spend as much time with him as possible right now. Anyway, I was in a pretty low mood until he arrived. Then I perked up a bit. We grilled out for dinner and my grandmother joined us as well. Right afterward though, James and I left for the fireworks show (he had also invited me but I wasn't sure if my dad would be okay with me leaving on his birthday). We were running a bit behind and actually ended up seeing the fireworks (the whole 15 minutes of them) from the road. Just as we were almost there, the finale began and James's parents were calling to tell us we'd missed it. Oh well. We can't say we didn't see some fireworks for the 4th. We headed back to his house to talk to his parents for a bit, then it was back to the pond. We sat beside the fire, enjoying the time with each other, and talking. It was almost romantic even. :) I'm certainly going to miss nights like that.
Sunday morning and afternoon were uneventful. I had dinner at home and then got on my way back to Greenville around 5pm. That's when things became interesting. I was nearly home (about 5 minutes or so from my apartment) and had just gotten off the exit when I lost control of my car and ran into some bushes, placing my car at a nice little slant. I was hysterical. I've never had an accident before. My first thought was to call James, which I did. He couldn't even understand what I was saying through my sobs. I was on the phone with him when I looked behind me to see a man approaching my car. He was with three women and they had stopped to make sure I was okay. As soon as I got out of the car, the flood gates broke loose. I couldn't stop crying. James was still on the phone as I was trying to talk to this man. He asked if I wanted him to pray for me and when I said yes, he did it right then and there. I was just crying and clutching the phone. I can't even remember if I closed my eyes. The oldest of the three women came over and held me for a bit before I returned to James on the phone. He offered to come to Greenville and, of course, I said I wanted him to. By this point, 911 had been called and before I knew it, 3 highway patrolmen had shown up. One of them called someone to tow my car out of this small ditch and, fortunately, didn't give me a ticket. I still have no idea what happened...I wasn't texting, on the phone, changing the radio station, and I don't think I was speeding. I really can't explain it. They weren't sure if I'd be able to drive my car so I started going down the list of people to pick me up. Jodi was the first to answer her phone and she graciously agreed to come rescue me. Though I was able to drive my car after all, she had to take me to the ATM to obtain $225 (yes, that's right...I was taken complete advantage of) to pay for my car to be towed a couple feet. Both James and my parents were pretty heated about the price. The only damage to my car was a cracked panel on the passenger side. As far as I know, it's good to drive. I can't believe how blessed I was. I walked away without a scratch and, after looking at the scene, realized that I came VERY close to hitting a sign. I don't know how I missed it. James was there by the time Jodi and I returned from the ATM and he followed me home. His coming to Greenville very much improved my bad night. Though the circumstances weren't good, I was so glad to have another, unexpected night with him. As a little reward, I gave him part 1 of his two-part pre-deployment surprise. I had ordered him a stuffed animal (a beagle because he loves them) from Build-a-Bear, dressed in an Army uniform, complete with a little hat and everything. I was worried that he might think it too childish but he actually really liked it. It makes me so happy to give gifts...probably more than it does to receive them.
Today, James and I met Sam for lunch at East Coast Wings (I think I deserved a cookie skillet after last night). Then, we went to the barber shop so James could get a haircut. He has to report to duty tomorrow after 17 days of leave. It was strange to see him again with no beard and much shorter hair. I like his scruffy look. As usual, it was so difficult to see him drive away.
Needless to say, this is not how I expected my 4th of July weekend to turn out. I'm praying that this week will be a little less eventful so I can take a breath.