I was interested. From the pictures that I had viewed on Facebook, he was very nice looking. But to be truthful, I really did not expect it to go beyond friendship. As I said before, Paul did not meet my criteria. But I figured, hey, we could go out, get to know each other, become friends,, and maybe Paul would introduce me to my future husband.......you never know, right?
We chatted back and forth on Facebook for a few days, and then I delicately suggested that he text me instead, it is so much more convenient than Facebooking. I casually gave him my phone number. So, now we are texting......a lot. He begins to talk about us finally meeting and asks about my church schedule. We just so happened to be in revival with Keith Clark at the time, so that gave me the opener that I needed to invite him to come to my church..........to hear Keith Clark..............of course.
We were to meet at Starbucks on Sunday, the first Sunday in August, before heading over to Modesto Revival Center for the evening service. I was nervous as any woman would be to meet a man for the first time. I took special care with my appearance enlisting Haley's help in choosing an outfit. I chose a straight black skirt topped with an leopard print wrap around lightweight jacket with ruffled collar and ruffles sweeping down the front and hem of the jacket. black fishnets and black pumps completed the ensemble. As I ran out of the house, I double sprayed my security blanket with Aqua Net. My best feature, "the hair" looked especially lovely, big, bold and beautiful curls were lacquered and placed atop my head to perfection. I pondered a large feather ornament for said masterpiece, but decided not to scare the poor man off before we had a chance to get to know one another.
He texted me to let me know he was already in Starbucks as I was pulling in to the parking lot. I told him to go ahead and order but he refused, insisting upon waiting for me. Wow, a gentleman I thought, nice. I checked my appearance in my rear view mirror and hopped out of the car and made my way towards my future, not having a clue.
I entered Starbucks to see Paul sitting in a chair waiting on me. My first thought was "Wow! He's better looking than his pictures on Facebook! It's too bad he is not an option!" I introduced myself and we shook hands. I could feel his eyes upon me as I stood at the counter and ordered my grande iced caramel macchiato with an extra pump of vanilla. He, in turn, ordered what I would soon know as his
"signature" drink, a grande iced coffee in a venti cup, (for cream......a LOT of cream) no sweetener. I then stood at the condiment counter and watched as he doctored his poison with cream, a LOT of cream and four packages of Splenda. Little did I know that I would experience this ritual over and over again in the months to come.
We chatted as he made his coffee, he, telling me about his children. He went on to explain to me that his oldest daughter is "special needs." If we had been on a television game show you would have heard one of those very loud buzzer sounds indicating that Paul had just given the wrong answer. Special needs??!! Oh no! Now he was really not an option. This certainly did not meet my list of requirements for a spouse. Oh well I thought, he will be a great friend. That's too bad though, he will make some lucky lady very, very happy.
As we sat down, cups in hand, Paul said "Before we go any further I want to be sure of something." "What is it? I asked. He replied, "If you are looking for a preacher, I just want to be up front with you and tell you that I am not a preacher and have no desire to be one." I just about danced right out of my fishnets. I laughed and said "I am so glad! You are exactly what I am looking for! Someone who is NOT a preacher! Been there, done that!" We both laughed and the ice was broken
He was so sweet! This really was the sweetest guy I had met in a long time. It was just too bad that he was not a little older than I and that he had three children at home. We began to swap stories. His was a story of rejection and betrayal. He had been separated from his wife, the mother of his children for three years, divorced for one year. I listened, my heart breaking for him. And then, I shared my story of which he had already been informed of somewhat by my cousin Kim. He sat in stunned silence as I recounted the tragedy that had befallen my children and I. At one point I glanced at him and noticed that his eyes had filled up with tears! Wow this guy was the whole package! Sensitive too! I was overcome with emotion and MY tears came, unbidden. Embarrassed, I apologized and fanned my face with my hand in an attempt to "dry up."
We talked until it was time to leave for church. Paul suggested that I leave my vehicle in the Starbuck's parking lot and ride with him to church. I agreed. As we drove I checked him out. He was really cute and he had nice forearms and hands. And he was so sweet! Oh why couldn't this guy be fifty, rich and kidless?!