[All photos from Unsplash]
Eventually, he stops strumming. I wipe my face quickly and glance around. Several people have their eyes closed. The silence persists until I hear whispers, and then, soon enough, everyone starts talking again. I sit quiet for a second longer in the midst of the din of voices.
Then a women walks toward me, the blonde model who had sat next to Anthony. “Are you Liz?” she asks.
I nod and she smiles. “I’m Kristina, the girl who gave you directions,” she says.
“Oh, that’s you!” I say. “Thanks for that.”
“So… how did you hear about our bible study, again?” she asks.
“Do you know Chad? I met him a few nights ago and he told me about it. I’m new in town,” I say.
Kristina nods, “I know Chad. Did he tell you he comes to this? ‘Cause we haven’t seen him in months.”
“Really?” I say, laughing.
“Hey, Jeremy,” she says, pulling you into our conversation, “Have you met Liz? She’s new in town. Chad invited her to bible study.”
“We’ve met,” you say to Kristina. Then you turn to me: “I forgot to mention at the door that Chad hasn’t come in awhile.”
“That explains a few things…” I say, smiling.
“How do you know Kristina?” you ask.
“I don’t, actually. We just met,” I say.
“Chad passed my number along to her,” says Kristina.
“You don’t know anybody here?” you ask. I shake my head.
“And you just showed up?” you ask. I nod.
“Huh,” you say and smile.
“So, what do you do, Liz?” Kristina asks.
I tell her I intern at a couple of nonprofits in town, and then Kristina tells me she also works at a nonprofit.
I ask what you do, and you say, “I wanted to fit in, so I work at a nonprofit.” I laugh. “I’m a designer – well, sort of. Junior designer. Junior contract designer. Not sure how long they’ll keep me around.”
“Jeremy is also a sculptor,” Kristina says.
“No way!” I say.
“Oh, it’s mostly garbage,” you say.
“What?” I say.
“Really,” you say, “I make art out of junk.”
“Ah,” I say, “I’d love to see your stuff sometime anyway.”
“Um, well, see, I have a website…” you say, and then you hunch your shoulders, pushing your glasses up your nose with your pointer finger and making a slurping noise. “I made it myself,” you say.
I laugh. “Now, is that ‘mad scientist’ or ‘eastern European hunch back of Notre Dame?’” I ask.
“You are such a nerd!” says a woman who strides up to our huddle. She punches you in the arm, and you wink at her. She grins back.
“This is Karen,” says Kristina. “Karen, this is Liz.” We smile at each other.
People begin to congregate near the door, and our conversation wanes. You excuse yourself to say goodbye to your guests. Kristina and Karen become engrossed in their own conversation. I look at my watch, and then walk toward the door, bending to collect my shoes.
Kristina touches my shoulder. “Hey, Liz,” she says, and I stand up, “I’d like to get coffee with you sometime.”
“I’d like that,” I say.
Then I turn to walk outside and you call out to me, “See you next time.”
I turn to give you a wave and a grin, and then I step out into the darkness with a lightness I’ve never known before, toward my car parked across the street, to drive home and write one emphatic, absurd sentence in my journal to sum up the evening: “I know that I know that I know, beyond doubting or dismissing, that I just met my husband.”
This is part of my serial publications of scenes from my in-progress falling-in-love memoir, about the anguished, beautiful, and spiritual way that my husband and I met, fell in love, and married.
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