Saying goodbye is never easy, but the time to say it was drawing closer. Eric and I started off with a bit of an unnatural beginning, but it was wonderful, and it was us! Eric would call my house after school and invite me over. At his house he would open his notebook and read some new questions that he had about me, recite his nonsensical poetry, and show me his favorite songs. I showed him my sketchbook and went with him to run errands for his parents. We watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off together. A few weeks later, we kissed for the first time on his parent’s couch.
The school year ended and we graduated. That summer Eric went to Young Life camp for a few weeks for summer staff, and I went to England for ten days with my youth group. By the end of the summer, I was preparing to leave for Houghton College in upstate New York, and Eric (in typical fashion) applied last minute to Eastern University near Philadelphia and got accepted into the honors program.
While away at school, we talked on the phone all the time, but we still missed each other so much. Then half way through freshman year, Eric asked my dad for permission to marry me. My dad said “no,” and gave him three reasons. “The man who marries my daughter has to be able to support her spiritually, physically, and financially.” Eric, who is really determined, talked to his mom and said, “I don’t know what Mr. Niphakis is saying. I can support Melody spiritually. I pray for her every day! And I can support her physically, I’m really strong! The only way I can’t support her is financially.”
So what did Eric do? He dropped out of school and got a grueling job as a construction worker making $60,000 a year! But my dad still felt that we were too young to get married. My parents and Eric’s parents met a couple of times to discuss the situation. Eventually they agreed that Eric and I could get engaged on my 20th birthday which was in the February of my sophomore year.