|As I woke form a dream that frightened me into a sweat, I heard my roommate tapping on my door to inform me that our power had mysteriously gone out, again. Tap, tap…”Phoebe, are you awake?” “I am now…” I mumble through the covers over my face. “The power is out, again!” Charlotte says through my door, “Of course” is my response as I stumble out of bed. The sun creeps into my room to help me find my way to the door. As I fumbled through the apartment and my bathroom to get ready on time, without power, I began to think about the dream I had just had. Now I know what you’re thinking, dreams are dreams they are not real, well this dream seemed very real. Most dreams you know you are dreaming, this was not the case with this dream, I was very aware of everything that was going on and who it was with, even though I had never seen or met this person in my life. In my dream, though, I knew him very well, he was my husband.
So why is this so significant? Well, I guess I should tell you a little bit more about my self to help you understand why this dream and this year in my life need to be told.
I am a twenty-two year old single, Christian woman. Okay, not as dramatic as I had hoped for but give me just a little bit more time to explain my case. I am slightly different from the other young, single Christian women that exist in this world. I have never dated or been in a serious relationship, not for lack of trying or opportunity; things have just kind of fallen into this situation. Most people say, “You should count that a blessing…And I wished that I could say that.” Okay, yeah, I get it, but I am also looked at like a freak and I think that sometimes people think that I am lying (I wished). Don’t get me wrong I do count it a blessing I know that it has happened for a reason, but it does get old after the thirtieth wedding, the fiftieth engagement, and when everybody, including your own mother is trying to set-up with someone. And here comes the real kicker, my younger is engaged and headed to the altar, before me.
Well, other than the power going out and the dream this Monday seemed like any other Monday, well as normal as a Monday can be at a mental health clinic. I have worked at the clinic for about a year now and enjoy it but I have learned that things are never dull around here for too long. I walk into the clinic to go to my cubical where I am greeted by my co-worker, Ethel, who is way too happy this early in the morning but she has gotten me through many dreary, confusing days. We spend the next fifteen minutes chatting about our weekends and the annoying drive to work that I have to go through far too often. I didn’t mention the dream yet because, like I said, most people look at a dream as a dream. So, after we chat we both turn to our respective computers and begin our daily routines. I started to get really into my work and I suddenly started to recap this morning’s events during the dream when I heard, what seemed to be far off in the distance, someone calling my name. Wham! I am pegged in the back of the head by a paper clip. “Did you hear anything I just said?” I am jolted back into reality, and turn to see a very confused Ethel. “Sorry” I say as I try to play it off and give the excuse that I was very focused on my work. “Is there something you want to tell me about?” She as asks. “No, not really anything to tell.” “Okay, well, if you do, you know where I am” says Ethel as she turns back to her computer.
Mondays are usually catch-up days so most of us stay around the office for lunch. I went into the break room and ate my lunch and tried to get involved in the conversations that were going on but I kept drifting in and out of concentration. I finally gave up and headed back to my desk. As I sat down to start on the next leg of the day when I stop typing and then I hear Ethel’s keyboard stop. I turned around to say something and she was already turned around waiting to listen. I explained to her that the dream was so vivid and real, I couldn’t see who it was that was my husband but I knew throughout the entire thing that he was husband. I also told her how I had been trying really hard to be okay with being single and being content and not letting other people’s lives cloud my judgment. She, of course, could understand to an extent where I was coming from, literally. We both went to high school in the same little town. The plan for most girls there was to marry and have lots of kids. I had picked the day that she decided to let world have it. “You really start to wonder if there is something wrong with you!” She says “I mean guys don’t really get flack for being single, at any age!” “They are looked at as bachelors or driven for ministry or their career…” “You know heaven for bid a woman do that for awhile!” She stops looks at me and sighs. We both shake our heads and turn back to our computers.
On the drive home I roll my windows in my car and turn the radio to just a murmur and listen to sounds out side. Summer, it’s a great season, I prefer autumn and winter but there is something about summer that is just so freeing. I am still in college so it is very freeing for me. I get out until about late August for summer break. Friends are home from out of state colleges; I stay up much later, and attempt things I normally wouldn’t during the rest of the year. There is just something about summer. When I get home I find that the power has finally come back on and my roommate is not home, so I decide to take advantage of the evening and relax and do nothing. I end up watching a sappy romantic comedy that makes me cry and as I sniffle through the tries I am indulging in chocolate, lots of chocolate. As the credits start to roll, I start to wonder how many more nights am I going to spend like this. Will, I be the bitter thirty-something single that only ventures out of her apartment when it is absolutely necessary. I shudder at the thought and get up from my post on the couch and make a vow to myself that I will not let this be my life, single or not.
I work with my church’s youth group as the drama director. On Wednesdays I have to mentally prepare myself for anything because on those nights anything could happen. “Camp is only two months away!!” One of my senior high students says and I search her enthusiasm because this will be first year to go to camp. When I was younger I was not allowed to go on over night church trips with my youth group. But, that is a different story for a different book. I announce that we are starting a new drama for camp. We go through a routine of listening to the song and then giving ideas for a story line. At this stage things are exciting and fresh. As we wrap up practice for the evening, I hear the door open and in walks, Brian. Well, Brian would be one the people coming from college, but see he's more then that to me. A couple of years ago I asked God to bring a guy into my life that I could just hang-out with, a friend. See guys are different from girls when it comes to friendships they hold a different perspective and view on things. Sometimes you can just say to them I just want to have fun and they are okay with that. I really wasn't looking for a relationship or unnecessary feelings, but that's what I got. It's like old saying goes, "You don't realize what you have until it's gone” and I realized that when Brian left for college. I realized that my feeling changed from just friends to well, you get the picture. But I never told him...so we are still just friends.
As he walked towards me and smiled my heart skipped a beat and jumped into my throat. He gave me a hug and whispered in my ear that he missed me. He stepped back and one of my students asked the age old question, "Are you guys dating?" Silence... I shake my head no and and herd the stragglers out of the practice room. "How have things been?" I ask as I turn off the lights and step into the hallway. "Good and yourself?" "The usual stuff, church, work, and school that's pretty much my life these days, but I like it." Silence again. "I decided to change my major back to missions, “he says "I just feel that missions is where I am supposed to be." I plaster on a smile and say, "Great, if that is where your heart is and God's is leading you there you really can't change it." The year before Brian had told me of a different track that he was going to be taking for his major. It was one that seemed to have the potential of him staying in town. Unfortunately, I knew that he would change it back to missions. We went downstairs and out to a parking lot said goodnight and went to our cars. I got into my car, took a deep breath, and as I let out tears began to stream down my face. I understand, I really do, I have my own things that I am passionate about and will not give up but it still hurts. I drove out of the parking lot that night knowing that we would never be together.
"That's crap!" Esther says through her caramel macchiato, "That's just a bunch of crap, why did he have to go and change things up for!"
"The scary thing is you sound more peeved about this then I am and it's my future marriage that hangs in the balance."
I love Esther she cracks me up, always honest and always on my side. She marches to her own beat and doesn't really care if anyone else joins the parade or not. We have been friends for just a couple of years and yet I feel like I have known her most of my life. "Look, the only way anything will ever happen is if he stays here and I just don't see that happening." I try to explain, "I mean missions usually means out of state, out of the country, okay not always but the way he is talking he wants to do missions in a foreign country. Esther's response, "Well, the boy needs to get his head on straight and realize what he has in front of him." If only life were that easy, but it is not.
“We’re moving!” “We’re moving.” I repeat my boss’ statement trying my best to the let the information settle in. I just moved into a new apartment a month ago were my first thoughts. Too much change at one time is not good. Shannon realizes the shocked look on my face and reassures me that it’s not any time soon but in the near future. My heart rate begins to slow down back to normal and I take my first deep breath. After hearing the big news I remember its Friday. It’s amazing how a good portion of the country looks forward to one day out of the week, and we spend the other six waiting for it. I decided to meet up with Esther over at the local Christian bookstore for some new music. We got there and looked around the music some but didn’t really find anything new or interesting so we moved on to the book section. We proceeded to make a beeline for the relationship aisle to get a good laugh. Some of the titles and ideas that these books presented made me wonder how they got published in the first place. We grabbed a few books and took a seat on opposite aisles to make way for innocent bystanders that might get tripped. I cracked open the first book and began to pick apart the bad advice that was being dished for a price when suddenly a piece of paper floated down and on to the pages of the book I was reading. I glanced at the paper briefly and set it aside. Esther picked up the paper and read over it and decided to place back in front of my eyes. I stopped reading and looked up at her and asked why she was giving the paper back to me. “Just read it,” She persisted. I picked up the piece of paper to satisfy her and this is what I found
Think you have what it takes?
Submit your answer to the question to get the chance of a lifetime!
We are a brand new, hip and up and coming magazine that you’ve never seen before.
Winner of the contest will receive a guaranteed job as the advice columnist for SHE magazine and win a brand new car of the winner’s choosing.
I hate being single! I really want to be in a relationship, to have a boyfriend. What should I do?
I looked up at Esther and started laughing, I shock my head, handed her the flier back and went back to reading. She then puts her hand in my way of reading and clears her throat. “So!” She says, “So, what?” Is my response to her growing aggravation. She looks at me and shakes her head. “You’re entering the contest, right?” “Why would I do something like that?" I can tell she is not amused by my answers but I do have my reasons. She tries again, “Because you give great advice.” I let out a sigh and try to explain my case. “I can’t be expected to give advice on something I can barely answer for my self. I struggle with the same thing, a lot. I don’t think it would be fair.” She says, “Look give it a shot, be truthful and if you don’t win I will take you out for sushi.” I know at this point she is desperate and really wants me to do this, so I give in. “So, does that mean that you are going to eat sushi too?” I say jokingly, her face twists into a look of disgust and swallows. She responds, “As long as you don’t try to make me eat raw squid.” I put her mind at ease, and let her know even I won’t eat raw squid.
Over the next month or so I really don’t think about the contest. July rolls around, it always seems to go by so quickly. Our youth trip went very well, it was I expected and more. I made a new friend as well actually I adopted a little sister to be correct. Chastity, she pretty much stayed along my side during the entire trip. My birthday was this Wednesday, I didn’t really even think about it, it seems after I hit twenty-one the next big birthday was thirty and I was trying to put that off for as long as I could.
I woke up the morning of my birthday starting to dread the day and wishing I could go back to bed. The day went on as usual, and absolutely nothing happened. Okay, strike one; well maybe my friends will come through for me tonight. I get to church that evening and walk in for practice and find cupcakes that a couple of students had baked for me. That was a great moment, practice went okay, and I let them go early for the nice treat they had given me. Still, nothing from my friends, except for Esther who came by to give me my birthday gift. I smile at her and thank her for my gift and walk to my car. She called after me and asked what was wrong. I said,” Almost all of my friends forgot my birthday, I feel like the girl of that Sixteen Candles movie, my question is where’s my hot guy?”
I didn't mention to anyone that they had forgotten my birthday. I kind of let things settle and forgot about the whole incident. A week later I get a call on Thursday morning from Brian asking if I have plans on Friday night. I being the social butterfly had nothing to do. So, I told him I had no plans currently and asked why. He said he would call me tomorrow for further details about tomorrow. I said okay, and hung up the phone, completely confused. I had no idea what Brian was up to but I was sure gonna find out on Friday. I get a text message on early on Friday morning to dress nicely for tonight. So, I go ahead and get up and start getting ready for work. I decided on a cute black and white summer dress with a white cardigan over it. I slipped on a pair of flat dress sandals just in case I had to do a lot of walking to do. I had a hard time focusing on work that day; I had so many different things running through my head on what was going to happen tonight. It was finally five o’clock; I realized I didn't know where I was supposed to meet him or anything like that. So, I called him as I went down stairs and I got no answer. I looked up as I walked out the door and saw Brian standing in front of his car with a dozen white roses. I had to blink a couple of times to make sure I was not seeing things. I walk over to him and I just shake my head. He smiles and says, "Sorry I forgot your birthday” I laughed and said, "I guess you should forget my birthday more often if I'm gonna get treated like this. So, what's the plan for tonight?" He smirked, "It's a surprise, so let's get in the car and go." He walked over to the passenger side and opened the door. I nodded to him and got in. My stomach started doing flip-flops trying to imagine what was in store for me in the next few hours. As we drove to our first destination, it was quite not unpleasant but peaceful. We arrived at Jasmine's, a gorgeous Japanese restaurant on the upscale side of West Little Rock. I was surprised that we ended up there. I loved sushi but Brian hated it. I looked over at him and said, "Don't you hate sushi?" He said, "I do, but you love it and tonight is your night." I started to wonder if this was the same guy that I had met four years ago. I stared at him in complete and total shock. Brian and I had been through a lot together, his bad relationship decisions, and my pathetic crushes on guys. Now, we sit across from each other neither one of us in a relationship, neither one of us mentioning potentials for it either. Dinner was wonderful, we laughed and caught up on each other's lives and reflected on the past and how far both of us had come. We ended the night at the river, we walked and talked and there would be those comfortable silences as we walked along the edge of the river. We walked back to his car and he took me back to my apartment and as I got out of the car, he looked like he wanted to say something but he just smiled and gave me hug and said goodnight. A little confused I walked up the stairs to my apartment and tried to figure what could have been going through his head as we were saying good-bye. I mean could it be possible that he felt the same as I did and if so why didn't he just come out and say it. I tossed my purse on the floor and went into the kitchen to put my floors in water. I sat them next to my bed and as I fell asleep I could smell there sweet scent swirling around my head. My last thoughts as I drifted off to sleep were surrounded by that unfinished expression on his face.
Girl friend not girlfriend
"You know how some girls always the bridesmaid and not the bride. Well, I am girl friend and never the girlfriend." Esther looked at me and then down at her coffee and back at me. "What?” is her response.
Two months? It’s too bad that I procrastinate… How on Earth am I supposed to give advice to someone on something I don’t even have a straight answer on for myself? After a good forty-five minutes of frustration and advice block, I put down my pen and paper and got ready for worship team practice for the young adult service. Practice was typical, a good line-up for songs. Something felt different about tonight though; I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
I did my usual rounds saying hello and greeting friends right before service. I got caught in a conversation with Chastity and then I realized I needed to get on stage. I was walking backwards finishing our conversation and turned to step on stage when I ran straight into someone. I looked up to meet my victim and saw a pair of dreamy blues staring down at me. He smiled at me and, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to step in your way.” I blushed and realized it was actually my fault and said, “Actually I was the one walking backwards and not paying attention to where I was going, I’m sorry.” I just stood there in his trance and gorgeous smile. It felt like the world had stopped, unfortunately, time did not stop. I felt a tug on my sleeve and realized that one of my team members was trying to drag me on the stage. Through most of the worship set I was praying that I didn’t do anything stupid, like tripping over my own microphone cord or singing off key. After our set, I went to sit down in the audience to listen to the message and I ended up sitting behind the mystery guy I ran into earlier. As I took my set he turned around and said, “You have a beautiful voice and I failed to introduce myself, my name is Kaleb Ramsey.” I smiled and said, “My name’s Phoebe Anderson.” “Phoebe Anderson, it’s very nice to meet you.” He winked and turned back around to face the stage. I nearly melted into my set. Chastity leaned over asked if I needed any help picking up my jaw off the ground. I shot her a look and tried to focus on the message. After the service we always have dinner in the fellowship hall, tonight was my favorite, potato bar. I walked in to get in line and saw that Brittany had set her sites on Mr. Ramsey. “Of course”, Chastity elbowed me and asked what I was talking about. I told her it was nothing and kept walking to the line. What is it with those girls? They seem to be everywhere! They are at work, at school and at church. You know the type, the type every guy has a crush on and she has to pick the one guy that I, I mean, you like. It happens every time. I was feed up at this point; I decided I was done with dealing with girls like her. Enough was enough, I was not just going to sit by the waste side and have it happen again. Unfortunately, like many other things these days, I didn’t have a clue as to how I was going to do this.
Fall was about to set in and the freeness of summer was leaving. Along with that freedom went the college students that were home for a little while. Along with that Brian went back to college to finish his last year. Things were still the same between us, still just friends and nothing more. I started to wonder if he was the one for me, if he was the one for me then why he hasn’t said anything, why hasn't he made a move towards me. I decided that it was time I stopped focusing on the situation and started focusing on the answer. The answer being the answer to the question in the contest. I spent the next couple of months devoting most of my time to answering that question. I knew that it would not be a simple answer and the answer had to be unique so I started to think of the obvious answers that would be given. I started questioning my girl friends from church and work and school there opinions and thoughts on this question. Though all of there answers were as unique and different as they were they all started with a deep, labored sigh. This I knew all to well, because I gave that same sigh anyone asked me that question or anything regarding that question. One week before the entry deadline I sat down and typed up my final answer. It read like this
Dear Fed up,
I will begin by saying I know exactly where you have been. More then once in my life. I am also guessing that it's not just me and you in this seemingly sinking boat but almost every breathing woman has gone through this feeling. I being from the south know the pressure is a little bit harder, if you're not married and pregnant by twenty you are labeled a spinster. Okay, that was exaggerating but not by much. What I am trying to say is that you are not alone and you have probably heard that before but that is not the end of my answer to your question. I also want to say that life is not all about being in a relationship with a guy or getting married or having two point five kids and white picket fence. It's about doing God's will for your life. I'm not saying if you are following God's plan for your life things will be perfect and you will never get frustrated but I am saying that if you feel you are the right track then God will take care of the rest. Single or not, live your life to the fullest, love as many people as you can, and be joyful in all that you are doing. Because even though use singles seem to be overlooked by the married people. There truly is so much more that we can do while we are single. Take advantage of it, my guess is you won't be single forever. So, I hope I have shed some light on your life and situation, I will be praying that you find peace and comfort in your singleness and that you will have many healthy friendships and support.
I read over the draft one last time and then sealed it into the envelope. I drove to the post office and shipped it first class just to be safe. The registration form said it would take a couple of weeks to be sure all of the entries where in and to make a decision and that they would be contacting us by mail. I said a prayer and drove away from the post office back to work.
A couple of weeks had gone by and I had not received anything and so I just figured it wasn't for me and went on with my life as if nothing had ever happened. I was going to meet Esther for coffee tonight after work. I went home to change into something more comfortable and decided to check my mail on my way out to the coffee shop. I looked in the mail box and there sat one lonely envelope. I took in a deep breathe and reached my hand into the mail box and pulled out the envelope. The return address was one that was local and the company name said SHE magazine. My hands started to shake as I opened to letter. I started reading the letter and finally realized after getting half way through the letter that I had won the contest. I screamed and started jumping up and down. I stopped after I realized people were stopping their cars and watching me. I waved at my confused neighbors and jumped in my car and drove to coffee shop to give Esther the good news. I thought I was excited but when Esther read the letter she jumped out of her set tackled me to give me hug and knocked over a table a couple of innocent bystanders. She regained her composure after a bit and announced to everyone that I just become the advice columnist to a new magazine. To my surprise everyone started clapping and cheering for me and someone even offered to buy my coffee for me. I smiled and accepted the offer and proceeded to go over the letter with Esther.
“So, how many people are piling into your car?” “Well, John, Kaleb, you and me… I think that’s it. Why?” Esther had a look of intrigue and mischief on her face that I had seen too many times before. “What are you pondering over there?” “Who, me, oh I just remembered there’s something I need to discuss with John on the way up to Springfield, so you don’t mind if I stick Kaleb up front with you, right?” The look my friend had on her face now had action to back it. Unfortunately for Kaleb and I, when she sets her mind to something she follows through with it. I knew that this trip was going to be a trip I would not soon forget.
I told myself that I needed to get up earlier then normal to get packed, but for some reason I decided to hit my snooze button one too many times and overslept. I couldn’t figure out how I managed to run later the older that I got. In high school I had no problem getting places on time but now I seem to struggle. Mid-way through my frenzy to pack I heard a knock on my door. I stumbled over things that were laid out already and tripped over my purse and smacked into the door with a loud thud that I knew everyone in the building could hear. After I stopped seeing spots I opened up the door to find Kaleb standing there with Starbucks in hand trying to stifle a laugh. I raised my eyebrow and said “You know my middle name is not Grace or Elegance, especially in the morning.” He smiled, “I have a secret I have to get out if we are confessing things.” I thought to myself, what if he tells me he’s an ex-convict? And I am here in my apartment alone with him! But instead his response is, “My mom really wanted a girl, so my middle name is Grace.” He said with a wink as he handed me my venti, white-chocolate mocha. I blush slightly at the random thought I just had. That wink, that smile, those eyes, oh, how it can make a girl swoon. I am still trying to find something wrong with him, well, other then the fact that Brittany has permanently placed her claws in him. He offers to help me finish packing things. I thanked him for his offer but informed him that the only things left for me to get were things that I did not allow the male gender to see. Slightly embarrassed by how blunt I was, I told him he could take a set on the couch and talk to me while I finished things up.
For the next couple of minutes we talked about the usual, the weather, our respective weeks and such. Then suddenly I felt the urge to be bold (something I rarely do) and asked him how long he and Brittany had been dating. This time there was no denying that he was laughing. I walked into my living room, quite confused, and asked him what he was laughing about. He looked up at me and asked, “Why did you think that Brittany and I were dating?” I gave him my honest and truthful response, “Well, I see you guys around each other a lot and sitting with each other at church and so I just thought you guys were dating.” “So, this is coming from the dating guru herself?” I was taken aback by the backhanded compliment that had just been bestowed upon. “I have never claimed to be an expert on dating, I just take what I know and analyze the situation at hand and give my “OPINION” to the people that are asking the questions. Look I was just trying to make small talk and you decided it was time to make a bad assumption.” “I was not assuming anything, but you on the other hand were!” “Don’t you dare tell me when I am assuming something and when I am not!” BANG! BANG! BANG! Great now he’s gotten the cops called on me. “Look what you did! My neighbors are going to kill me!” “I didn’t…” I opened the door to John and Esther whose eyes were about to pop out of their heads. “What’s wrong with the two of you?” John narrowed his eyes and said, “We were about to ask you two the same question.” “For a second there I thought we had gone to the wrong apartment, and then I heard Phoebe’s voice and knew we were in the right place.” Said Esther I rolled my eyes and walked back to my room to finish packing my things. Esther of course was not far behind to try and figure out what they had just walked into. “I don’t know what happened, we were talking and I asked him if he and Brittany were dating and he freaked out.” “You really asked him that? Just out of the blue like that.” I said, “Well, yeah. Why?” “Well, for one thing it’s rude! Guah, how do like it when people assume that you are dating someone?” I was almost quick to respond and I bit my tongue and gave Esther a look of “I am such an idiot”. I asked her, “Do you think he’ll forgive me for being so rude and inconsiderate?” “Well, let me tell ya, I wouldn’t forgive you, that’s just mean.” She said as she started snorting in between laughs. I shock my head and through a pillow at her which made things worse. I told her I would apologize to him once we got on the road and things kind of smoothed over. Plus, I didn’t want to gravel for forgiveness in front of my other two friends. I would never hear the end of it. And of course, when I thought things couldn’t get any worse. Another knock came from my door. I opened it to find none other then, Brittany. “Hi!” “How is everyone doing this morning?” Brittany bubbled as she made a beeline for Kaleb to give him a good morning hug. I smiled and replied, “Okay, everyone it’s time to hit the road.”
Of course as luck would have it, John failed to mention that he had invited Brittany to come along with us. I plastered on my best fake smile and I slugged John in the shoulder as we walked down the stairs. “Ouch! What was that for?” “You’ll understand later, but I promise, you deserved it!”
We finally all piled into the car and began our four-hour journey to Springfield, Missouri. Esther was unable to finish that conversation John, and I was not able to apologize to Kaleb for being such a jerk. So, about an hour into the ride Esther, being her clever self, yells, “I got a pee!” So, either pull into the next gas station or your passenger set gets it!” Fearing for the possibility that she was telling the truth and not just being smooth, I pulled into the next gas station that happened to be just a mile away. Everyone decided it was a good time to get out and stretch and stock up for the next leg of the trip. I decided to stay behind; I leaned against my car and let out a huge sigh. Just as I did, Kaleb walked up and leaned next to me. He said, “Why such a big sigh?” “Well, you see I did something pretty stupid today and I need to apologize to the person, I just don’t know if he will forgive me.” I smiled at him and my stomach did back flips when he smiled back and respond, “Yeah, I did something pretty stupid too, I guess I just need to say I am sorry to her.” I looked at him and said, “So, am I forgiven?” He said, “Yeah, but you have to promise to let me ride up front with you this time.” I said, “I guess I could use a new co-pilot.”
As Kaleb and I got into the car, everyone else came back out to the car and got in. The look on Brittany’s face was priceless. You could see the frustration and disappointment when she realized she would not be spending the rest of the trip next to Kaleb. This time I sighed a breath of relief.
We arrived in Springfield around one o’clock and went straight to my friend Rochelle’s apartment to put our things up and get ready for dinner that night. Brian had planned for his friends from Springfield to join us for dinner that night. I hadn’t seen Rochelle in almost a year and she nearly plowed me over when she saw me. Tears welled up in our eyes. I knew there was so much that we needed to catch up on and so many things to be said. Corresponding through a phone for a long-distance friendship is extremely hard, especially when you were use to seeing that person everyday. As everyone kind of unpacked things and started getting ready, Rochelle and I slipped away into her bedroom. The first thing out of her mouth was, “Who is that hottie with stunning blue eyes?” I smiled a cheesy, girlish smile and said, “That would be Kaleb.” My friend of almost ten years sat there waiting for more details and I just went along unpacking my back. “Phoebe!” “What?” I said as I surveyed which outfit to change into. She said, “Don’t you what me, you know good and well what I am talking about, so spill it.” I gave her my best innocent look and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, and if there was anything to tell I would have already told you.” She gave me a glare, I said, “Look I am serious, I will be honest I wouldn’t mind there being something there but right now that would not be the case.” Satisfied with my answer she flopped on the bed and gave her opinion on my ensemble I had picked out. “I like the mulberry color on you; it just kind of brings out your eyes.” I thanked her for her approval; it was a simple outfit but a good choice at that. I had chosen the mulberry colored ¾ length sleeve v-neck shirt, with dark flared jeans, wedged sandals and a beautiful heart shaped pendant necklace that was the same shade of mulberry as my shirt. I grabbed a fitted black jacket and walked out the door of her bedroom to find everyone lounging in the living room. “It took you guys long enough to get finished in there” was Esther’s response to our arrival to the living room. I smiled and said, “Well, last I checked I am a girl and so I usually take a little longer to get ready.” I decided not to wait for a response and headed for the door. We took two separate cars and I told Kaleb to drive mine and I would ride with Rochelle. We arrived at the restaurant about an hour later after a few wrong turns. Rochelle and I led the way since Rochelle lived there I for some reason thought she knew where she was going. So for the second time in the same day I chose to make another bad assumption. It seems these thoughts were not working out to my advantage. I decided I had to stop the assumptions before I really did end up looking like a donkey.
Brian and the rest of his friends were already there waiting on a table. I walked in and looked up at him and nearly fell over. I hadn’t seen Brian since Christmas, and you know the saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder”. I was a firm believer in that statement at that very moment. As I was standing there in the crowd of people our eyes met and he smiled his adorable, boyish smile that made me weak in the knees every time I saw it and it was worse when it was aimed at me. He walked over and hugged me and said, “I missed you.” Those words, those three words echoed in my mind. I looked into his eyes and something, I couldn’t put my finger on it but something was different about him. It wasn’t a new haircut or new clothes or anything like that but his demeanor, his attitude, his, him. So many emotions flooded my heart as I stood there in that moment. I had to consciously step back and remove myself from that feeling. After another thirty minutes of waiting we were finally seated at our table. The restaurant that we had decided on was a local restaurant that had just opened called Gallery Bistro; it had been a local art gallery previously. The feeling of the restaurant was very modern but was very welcoming. We order our food and the food there was amazing to say the least. I chose to get the Tempura Mai-Mai it was to die for. After finishing our meals we sat around the table and talked for a while. Suddenly a piece of paper came flying across the table at me and it landed next to my hand. I picked it up and it read, “Want to take a walk?” I looked up and saw Kaleb smiling at me and he shrugged his shoulders and nodded to the door. I nodded a yes and we both slowly crept out of our sets.
We went and sat down next to a water fountain that was lit up by multi-colored lights. It was very beautiful. We sat there in the silence for a moment and just watched the water and lights change. He finally broke the silence, “So, I have a proposition for you.” “Oh, really, you do?” He said, “I know this may seem sudden but I feel if I don’t do this know I will regret it. Will you go out with me?” I nearly fell off the bench and into the fountain. I do know that my jaw hit the ground with a loud thud. He blushed at my response. I of course had a hard time regaining my composure. “I really don’t know what to say, I mean I want to but there are a few things…” “Look, I know it is something you need to thing about and you may not even feel the same way (I laughed at that comment) so I want you to think about this.” I stopped and really thought for a second and realized what was I waiting for Brian was not coming back to Little Rock and I had a great guy sitting here in front of me and I was having a hard time giving him an answer. I must really be screwed up, so instead of taking the chance of really messing things up I said, “Yes!” “Yes?” I said, “On a few conditions though.” The look on his face was priceless; lucky for him I put his mind at ease right away. I told him, “When I was twenty years old I made a promise to God and my future husband that the first man that I kissed would be my husband on our wedding day. This decision was made after I realized that God had given me a gift to give my husband and so I pledged to keep myself completely pure for him.” He smiled at me and said, “If I am the lucky man that will some day be your husband, thank you so much. That is truly a priceless gift that can not be replaced.” I said, “Well, I have never been in a relationship before so what happens next?” He said, “We have to go back in there and look at everybody the same and just kind of let them figure it out along the way.” I laughed, “That is going to hilarious.” “As far as the relationship itself we just spend time getting to know each other and having fun.” I rubbed my chin and said, “That sounds easy enough.” We got up and walked back into the restaurant to find everyone exactly in the same place that we had left them. Of course, Esther recognized that we were gone and she leaned over to me as I sat back down in my chair and asked where I had been. I told her that I was out in the parking lot making out with Kaleb. She for some reason believed me and so I had to tell her the truth about what had just happened. She nearly did a dance right there in the middle of the restaurant. I looked at her and said, “Don’t you dare tell a soul; we are taking things slow and the less people asking questions the better.” She said, “Are you going to tell Brian?” I hadn’t thought about that until she asked me the question. I looked at her and said, “No, I won’t be telling him, unless he asks.” Unfortunately I didn’t realize how soon I would be eating those words.
We stayed up pretty late that night talking and laughing and just having a good time, so the next morning, or should I say afternoon we woke up and started rushing to get ready for the graduation. We arrived at the auditorium at around one-thirty and the graduation started at two o’clock; we just barely made it to get a decent set. Of course, with all graduations they go on for far too long. With all the ceremony and speeches. We finally left at around four or four-thirty. We decided to go have dinner and then go out to a park near by to take some pictures. At the park Brian pulled me aside, he said there was something he needed to talk to me about. We walked away from the group and sat down on a bench near one of the small waterfalls. He looked very nervous; finally I asked him what was going on. He said, “I have made a decision, I am moving back to Little Rock to work at the church as the new young adults’ pastor.” I smiled at him and said, “That’s great news, have you told your parents yet?” He said, “Yeah, I told them this morning, but, Phoebe, there’s something else. We’ve been friends for a while now and I consider you one of my closest friends. I guess what I am trying to say is, that, I love you.” There was no question of my surprise and shock of those words. If I had not been sitting down I would have been face down on the ground from pacing out. I just looked at him, I had waited years to hear him say this and now, I didn’t know how to respond to it. I had to tell him that Kaleb and I were going out but we had just started going out. All of this was going through my mind as I sat in front of this man wanting to tell him that I loved him too, but wondering if I was just reacting in the moment. I looked up at his hazel eyes that were a deep green right now. I said, “Brian, look I care for you very much as a friend but...” He said, “What is it?” Just as I was about to tell him, Kaleb walked up. “Hey guys what’s going on, you’re missing out on all of the fun?” I looked back at Brian and then back at Kaleb and ran for the car. I couldn’t face either one of them right now. I just felt like running away and never coming back. I got to the car, panting and trying to catch my breath. I opened the car door and got in and just curled myself into a ball to try and make the world go away. How could this happen? He was supposed to just stay away and not have feelings for me and then Kaleb and I could live happily ever after. Right? I mean isn’t that’s what was supposed to happen? At that moment curled up in the fetal position, I didn’t have an answer for myself, but I knew that I had to make the decision of who I wanted to be with. But how would I do it?
“Make a list.” This was Esther’s response to my issue. I looked at her for a moment, giving that look that everybody feels is a look of anger, but it is actually frustration. It is frustration from me trying to figure out what is going on in my head. The longer I sat there the clearer it became that she was right. As much as I disliked that the thought of her actually being right also made me scared. It meant that I was slipping, not a good thing, especially now.
How on Earth could this be happening to me, now?! I go twenty-three years of my life without a problem of making a decision in this area of my life and now; when it is so crucial that I make the right decision, I can’t make it. So, is making a list really the best way of figuring this out. I decided to handle this the best way I know how to handle things, research. I will spend the next few weeks asking ladies that are married how they knew that their husband was, well, their husband.
I started off with the person that I knew would understand more than anyone, and she was the one person I truly trusted with everything. Julie she is the wife of my former youth pastor. I made a real connection to her when I was in high school. It is so nice to be able to talk to someone and have them understand because they know you so well, that is Julie.