While I was still licking my wounds from feeling like the rug had been pulled from beneath me, I did indeed keep up my end of the “Jericho prayer.” I remained Joel’s friend. God was right. That’s what he needed. Joel didn’t just need a friend who was getting to know him; he needed a friend who couldn’t be pushed away no matter how derailed Joel became. And that’s just how the Lord had equipped me. If I hadn’t learned how to love Joel with compassion, concern and understanding, I would have abandoned our friendship long ago.
My role in Joel’s life, however, didn’t change the fact that I still felt tricked.
After almost two years in Florida, I moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia where my family had moved to be closer to Charley’s job. (Giving credit where it’s due, Charley!) Through these circumstances, I began another faith journey into the world of hairstyling. The hitch? Well, I had about one month of nothing to do before beginning my hair apprenticeship.
Square Piece needed some cash. I devised a scheme to stock groceries at WalMart for that one month. Nobody ever has to know that I’ve ever worked here, I pridefully told myself. When I quit, it’s not like I’ll be irreplaceable. It’s WalMart.
Working overnight was not enough to cloak me from the truth that I had “succumbed” to working at WalMart (please forgive me for the pride that I had). You see, it was a 24-hour Walmart. A lot of strange people roll through WalMart at all hours of the night. And my husband happened to be one of those people.
Brian was hanging out with a friend and they decided to venture to WalMart in the middle of the night. The friend needed diapers; Brian, a heavy metal CD. Though the electronics section was on the other side of the store, somehow Brian managed to spot me stocking pasta on aisle five.
It was only my second night working and, up to that point, I think that I had already been hit on by about five different truckers. Needless to say, I had my guard up. Trying to seem casual, Brian went to another aisle and grabbed a bag of cereal so that he’d “seem” like he was grocery shopping and then made his way back to my aisle.
I wish that I could remember what all he said, but suffice it to say that Brian made small talk with me for about 30 seconds and then said, “So you wanna go out some time?”
Let me explain what I was thinking before I tell you how I answered that question:
He seemed like “my type.” Yes, I happened to like the “bad boy” look. Brian had visible tattoos running up and down both arms, hair to his shoulders and an eyebrow ring. (Don’t forget this post in which the mere first glance of him reduced my little brother to tears.) Brian is two inches shorter than me and I also found that attractive. He was dressed kinda grungy and sloppy, which was fine, except… well… I couldn’t get past his T-shirt.
Now, I’m not so shallow as to only associate myself with people who dress a certain way; but you have to hear me out. Don’t forget that I had just come home from BIBLE SCHOOL. Brian was wearing a “Scarface” T-shirt with a print that looked something like this:
You see the dilemma here.
Okay, I had never even heard of the movie, “Scarface.” But “Enjoy Cocaine”? Nope. Not gonna happen.
So I said, “No.”
Brian didn’t seem like some arrogant jerk who would ask girls out as a hobby. Rather, he seemed like he was just as uncomfortable as I was. So to be gracious and not completely dash his efforts, after declining his proposal I tacked on, “But if I ever see you again, maybe we’ll go out sometime.”
It was a small town. The way I figured, the odds of us running into each other later down the road were high. Maybe he’d have matured beyond the T-shirt and I’d be open to relationships again.
So he left that night.
And then came back the next.
“So you wanna go out sometime?” he repeated.
To be continued…
Psst… Thanks for your patience. I’m utterly in love with my son and feel so blessed to have the time and space to enjoy soaking up this new life. Hang in there and you’ll see plenty of Bennett soon! In the meantime, here’s a teaser: