Joseph was a big tall guy. 6’2″ with chin length wavy hair that he wore slicked back unsuccessfully because part of his hair would always fall out and hang over his eye. It was glorious.. Along with his earring, he wore a goatee and he had a mischievous twinkle in his blue eyes which is where his smile emanated from. He had just moved back home from Colorado after living there being a ski instructor. That’s all I knew. Yet I felt in my heart he had to be the one that I spoke with. He was a part of my plan somehow and I didn’t know what that entailed other than I had to speak with him.
After I took him aside that night at work and told him, “I was engaged and I didn’t want to be” and that I “wanted to talk to him”. He surprisingly didn’t look at me like I was crazy. He said “Ok” and went to sit up at the bar and order dinner. I think he came back every so often to chat with me while I did my side work. Maybe even helped me? And when I was done we sat in the booth and started the conversation. I think I described the state of the relationship I was in and why it was troubling to me. I also told him that I prayed about talking to him. I hadn’t prayed in years. I didn’t know him from Adam. I didn’t know what his faith was like. I just knew that he needed to know, I prayed about talking to him and God had him walk in that night!! And he said to me, “Actually, I needed someone to work for me tomorrow, which you have so graciously agreed to do.” There again, was the twinkling in his eyes giving me a hard time! He was playful and funny. We both laughed. He admitted to me that he had wanted to ask me out on date but knew I was engaged and so he wrote me off in that department. Instead, he would run my food for me and get bread boxes down for me. And spray me in the back with table cleaner! He was a stinker. He thought he was so funny!
Eventually the restaurant closed. I looked at him and said “Do you wanna get out of here?” And he said yes! We hopped in my car and headed to a coffee and pie restaurant until it closed as well. By this time it was 2 am and we weren’t done talking. We had SO much in common and so many neat differences too. We were both “Catholic”, and came from large families. In high school he was great baseball player/pitcher, who would’ve had a scholarship of some sort if he hadn’t followed his high school sweetheart to her college only to be dumped a couple of months later. He changed schools after a year to a college near his home. Eventually he decided he hated being attached to a desk even though school was easy for him. He dropped out of college and moved to Colorado much to his parents astonishment. We both loved Colorado and nature. In addition to becoming a ski instructor, he had worked as a lumberjack and a snow maker. He used to sky dive before he moved there. His life seemed like an exciting adventure to me. He was so confident and brave, too. I really liked that because I was not.
Having no more open restaurants to go to, we sat in my car. All night. That initial conversation was 10 hours long. I decided to just ask all the hard questions and get them out-of-the-way. If God was answering prayers then surely I was to go all willy-nilly to know if I was wasting my time or not with this guy. I asked him if he was Pro-Life. Even through all my struggles with faith growing up, even my month trying on atheism, I never quit being pro-life. I believe so deeply that a person has a soul from the moment of conception that atheism didn’t make any sense for me since I believed in souls. (Dumbest month ever needless to say). Well, he was pro-life! I asked him what he thought about living together before marriage. He said he’d never do it. Me either! Shawn had wanted to move in with me and I felt like he just wanted to put off our wedding by doing so. I didn’t want to be tested out. I didn’t want my time wasted. Joseph felt the same way.
I asked him what was going to happen when the sun came up that day. By now we were running out of words and drawing baby feet on the inside of my windows with our fists and making the toes with our finger prints, and giggling. And he said to me, “Do you mean, am I going to be here for the long haul?” And I said… “I don’t expect that, I just want to know if you’ll be here when I break up with Shawn.” He told me he was willing to see how things went… That was my answer. All I needed. He then asked me if he could kiss me. I looked at my engagement ring and then at him. I told him that even though I didn’t want to be with Shawn anymore, I was still engaged. And as long as I had the ring on, I needed to do things the right way. I told Joseph if he and I ever dated, it would be in the back of his mind that I cheated on my fiancé with him and he would always question me. I needed him to know I was solid. He accepted my answer.
I drove Joseph to his parents house where he was living temporarily. We exchanged phone numbers before he got out of the car. And then he was gone…
I headed to my art school since it started in 30 minutes. I changed out of my work clothes into one of the old outfits I had floating around my backseat from laundry days past, and I rushed into the building right into an angry Shawn.