Under the VW Glow

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. -Proverbs 27:9 


“Oh my goodness, look at you!” I heard as I walked into the coffee shop. It’s been so long since I’ve remembered how it felt to be in the light of Gunnar’s VW glow. This tree of a man with rounded glasses and a mop of dirty blonde hair has always been one of my purely perfect friends – you know, the friend that makes you believe in miracles, their hugs can heal your soul and their smiles could make the coldest heart crack – my purely perfect friend.


You see, Gunnar has been my friend for almost 10 years. He is a cool breath in the morning air, the sunrise over the mountains, the sand between your toes. The most talented person I have ever known has the time to sit down and extend his time to someone like me, an unbelievable feat to me. Gunnar is an overwhelmingly handsome traveler, photographer, videographer, sarcasm coordinator, style seeker, and most importantly, a fierce force in my life.

I feel this sigh of relief come from my soul, there’s something about seeing someone you haven’t seen in 9 months. As we sit down and begin to talk, I realize that I haven’t felt this happy, this alive, in almost a year. After losing the person I had sacrificed my life for, graduating college and realizing that the “real world” is about really knocking you down, and moving into a sad little apartment because that’s all I can afford, I’ve forgotten how to  live, how to not just be alive, but live my life in the glory of what God gives me every day – new life.

Gunnar tells me about his travels, his giddy nature when he sees the light in my eyes as he talks is inherently intoxicating- a drunkenness that alcohol could never supply. As I listen to his stories, I watch his brown eyes turn golden, his smile reaching to his majestic cheekbones and spreading into my bones like opium. He sees that sadness in my eyes and knows that I am deeply unhappy. I can tell it’s unsettling to him; Gunnar is that way.

But here is the trophy moment, the big bang– Gunnar does not act like my anxieties, my petty wonderings are anything but of the utmost importance. He does not make me feel as though I am insignificant, he makes me feel like the only person in the world.

If there’s something everyone knows about me, it’s that I am a creative, wild, free spirit. I love to create, to write, to paint; there’s no one who knows these things better than Gunnar. Watching an idea strike him is like watching the first drops of rain hit the flowers and quench them. “We’re gonna find you an Airstream! You can live in it, you can paint it! You can do this, Tessa. You can!”

If you’re thinking this is crazy, imagine my brain at this point. This boy wants me to… what? And yet, my soul is calm and reaching for the idea. We search and find a small travel trailer for $600. It’s like it was meant for me. In that moment, I realized that I am deeply unhappy in my life. I don’t have the freedom I once had, not a literal freedom, but a soul freedom. I used to see the brightness in a person when they couldn’t dig it out themselves. I used to love the rain as it pattered onto the concrete like an industrial prayer. I used to love myself for whatever I was.

Now? I don’t paint. I don’t sing, I don’t love unapologetically. But I will.

As his tan skins bobs in the sun, explaining that this is the life for me and that he’ll help me, I can’t help but remember why everyone is head over heels for this wonderful man. I can’t help but wonder why God made me so lucky in which I get to breathe his atmosphere and share a glance, a smile, a laugh with my personal favorite galaxy of human anatomy.

Gunnar, babe, you made me realize that my soul is in need of serious repair. You’ve always seen me exactly as who I am, nothing more, nothing less. You have loved me for such a long time and I feel like I’ve loved you forever. Thank you for harnessing my spirit, for taking the dive, for hugging me like you never wanted to let go. Thank you for looking at me and seeing beauty and grace and reminding me that I am made up of such. You are one of the best parts of my life, I could never, would never place someone in the spaces of my heart like I have placed you.

God has blessed me in the blanket of your VW glow and nothing will ever change me like you do. I love you.

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