The Ashton Saga: A Night to Remember (Part 7) | Ecofeminist in the Wilderness on

January 1, 1999 (age 19)

Dear Journal,

Nine years, 5 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days. I don’t know how much justice I can do what I am about to say, but I’ll try. It’s to be expected, though, you know? If a time like this comes in anyone’s life, the entire situation is so overwhelming that it’s bound to be confusing, among many other things. Unbelievable is also a good word.

Well, I guess I should explain myself. I can’t even believe it myself, all that I am about to write. But here goes. Ashton actually called me. I mean, he called me twice on Wednesday (it’s Friday, btw), and I called back and left a message. But that night I had to go to my LAST ball. So yesterday I wasn’t really sure if he was going to call me back or not, and I left the last message, so I wasn’t going to be all persistent. But he called around 4 or so, and we made plans for the night. I couldn’t believe any of it. Shock was racing through me, but I wasn’t really nervous, just because it seemed so natural and normal. It was just kind of…expected, you know? Just a part of the natural course of things. So I guess it wasn’t as shocking as it seemed.

He came and got me and we drove back to Lexington and he had to get something from his house. I mean, I had to just pinch myself every once in awhile (I didn’t really pinch myself; I’m just being figurative)–Ashton called me, I rode in his truck, I went to his house…it was all this dream come true! Every other second I’ll get this burst of something inside of me that makes me weak. He showed me around his house, his room (agh!!!), there were all these pictures of him as a baby and a little boy, and his blue eyes were so huge that they completely took over his face. Lovely!

We had some pound cake (my favorite) and milk–whole for him. Then we went to this place that seemed to be in the bowels of Lexington. It really was. I’ve never been in a trailer before, I was last night. And it was hilarious, and it was great. Lotsa rednecks, some semi-, but I mean there were some true ones there last night. I was just laughing to myself about it all.

There were two kegs. I was becoming more and more significantly out of it. Ashton and I were sitting on the couch just talking and drinking. We talked a lot of random shit. I bet he thought I was incredibly stupid because of some of the things I said (“When I think of LeAnn Rimes I think of Lexington”). I talked to Ashton mostly, and a couple other people. But we were pretty cozy, anyone could have testified.

We went outside and shot fireworks at midnight. Prince’s “1999” was on the radio, of course. And then Ashton looks at me and says, “How about a New Year’s kiss?” And we kissed. It was a short one, and I was disappointed in myself, and nearly said, “Can we do that over?” It was kind of funny. Then we went inside and there was craziness all around. We kissed again, this time for longer. I’m not really sure why.

Then we left. We went and sat in the car and talked. We listened to oldies on the radio. We had been sitting there for awhile, and the conversation just kinda stopped. I was sitting there, thinking hard. What was I going to do? All night I had been thinking hard about what had to happen. I concluded that everything that was going to happen that night was God’s will. It was up to God, and I left it at that. But I did know that something was going to happen, something significant. So I was sitting there with him, silently, thinking. How was I going to do this? It was up to me. I could do it.

So I looked over at him and didn’t really think about what I was doing. I grabbed his chin and started kissing him. It was bold. But we kissed. We did what I had been dreaming about for nine and a half years–that I would be reassured that there is justice in this world for me. We kissed forever. Each kiss was beautiful and perfect and wonderful. The only time we paused was when we spoke. All we said was: Me: “My mom told me not to throw myself at you.” Him: “I think we threw ourselves at each other.” And me: “You’re not going to tell Ryan about this, are you?” Him: “No, do you want me to?” Other than that, we didn’t say a thing. We just kissed, madly and even passionately, as cheesy as that sounds! Every once in awhile I’d pull away and just gaze into his astoundingly beautiful blue eyes. I couldn’t believe…but I’ve said that enough already. I don’t even have to wonder if I’ve kissed anyone better. Because I haven’t. Perfection.

Errr…well, almost.

Now comes the commentary. I’ve realized a lot of things through all this. Let’s see if I can remember to cover them all.

  • Ashton isn’t perfect. He drinks, he smokes (which sucks), he does bad things. I can’t say that’s all bad. I’m bad myself. But I also thought he was angelic. And he is not. I hope I didn’t disappoint him.
  • Nor are we so much alike. Our conversations proved this. We have quite different outlooks on a lot of things, and I don’t know if I like that or not. Ashton told me that maybe 2 summers from now he would come work at Lutheridge with me. Which would be terrible and wonderful…but I don’t know if I could handle that much pressure. No, I know I couldn’t. Anyway, that (hopefully) might not even happen but the point of him mentioning that is that he’s looking at the bigger picture–the FUTURE. And I am too. And I am scared to death!

We’re not “together” right now, and I’m glad–but why is it such a relief? When it’s all I’ve ever wanted? I heard that song “Sometimes Love Ain’t Enough” on the radio and I got really quiet. It’s true, it’s how I feel–I’m scared to death of the situation but mostly scared of myself–I can’t trust my own heart or my own actions! “There’s a danger in loving somebody too much, and it’s bad when you know it’s your heart you can’t trust.” It’s scaring me so much! I guess I’m okay right now, but if anything concrete starts to happen I know I won’t be. You’d think I’d be prepared, huh. But I’ve changed, and that has made the situation different and tougher. Oh Lord.

Anyway, I know I sound incredibly negative. Because it just seems that this isn’t how I planned it–but I didn’t really plan it at all, did I? I couldn’t. So I hope I can’t complain. And you know, I wouldn’t take back a bit of it. It had to happen just this way–it was all like this for a purpose–I don’t know the purpose yet but I hope I will at some point.

And it really was wonderful and desperately wanted, needed even–I could tell with him, too. He probably has no concept of how much of an impact that had on me, or how long I’d waited for that. But I could tell. Every moment or so I felt like crying, it was so beautiful and wonderful and scary, and gasping because it was so powerful. I almost couldn’t stand it. I’m surprised I didn’t confess everything–actually, I’m not, I guess because my guard’s been up about that for a long time, it really didn’t occur to me. I don’t know when I’ll tell him. I know I will, I just don’t know how or when. But I don’t want to think about that now. I just want to linger in that moment. In the best New Year that anyone has ever had.

So I guess it turned out that there was finally “justice in this world for me” (!!!)

When I think about my favorite band of all time, Weezer, I’m not really a huge fan of what their music has become. But I liked them so fiercely when I was younger that I will never have another “favorite band,” not in the same sense. There is no way that my level of commitment to them will ever be matched, even if I feel like a few of their more recent albums are duds and Rivers Cuomo has the lyrical maturity of a nerdy adolescent.

In the same way, I will always believe that my New Year’s Eve 1998–99 was the best one anyone has ever had. Nine and a half years of feelings all wrapped up into one amazing night. Even now, 18 years later, I can’t imagine how I could ever top that whole experience.

But what happened next wasn’t what you would think.

I wish I could tell you that after a few stops and starts (mostly involving the long-distance thing), we started dating and were together for 2 great years. After realizing that we needed to grow and become adults apart from each other, we had an amicable breakup, and remain friends to this day. I do wish that had been true.

But that night would be the last time I would see him for ten years.

So what the hell happened?

Originally published at on October 26, 2017.