Not a Date. Just Coffee.


Monday (June 17) is the anniversary of my first date with my wonderful partner, and I got to thinking about how it all began.

Our first encounter was not only unexpected, it was unlikely. Some would call it coincidental, if there is such a thing.

Yet, there we were.
The entire world wide web, suddenly narrowed to that chat room on that day, at that exact time. In a modern-day remake of Casablanca, Rick Blaine might say: “Of all the chat rooms in all of cyberspace, he logged into mine.”

When we first met, our identities were hidden by the Internet’s virtual mask. I was “Aslan” and he was “Red.” I was in the chat room, talking to my best friend, making plans to move across the country for a job I had accepted.

Red wandered in.

It began as a quick chat, prompted by fascination at our geographical proximity. He lived in Dallas, I was in Fort Worth. But that was the extent of the contact: typed words on a lighted screen.

Then, we agreed to a phone call.
Followed by more calls.

Casually carrying on lengthy conversations, Aslan and Red gradually learned more about one another. It seems we were both suddenly single, abruptly abandoned by a partner we’d trusted. Our hearts were still in recovery from the trauma of a failed relationship.

I’ll confess to some harmless flirting, but neither of us were ready to let another person in...beyond the confines and protection of our anonymous, electronic discussions. And beside, it wasn’t merely the 40 miles that separated us, it was also those famous “best laid plans.” In six weeks, the distance between us would increase to more than 1,400 miles. A new job loomed on my horizon. The future was mapped out, and held different destinations. Separate destinies.

Nonetheless, after hours of faceless conversations, and resisting the fearful voice of a wounded heart, we scheduled an afternoon date.

But...not really a date.
It was just coffee.
All the while reminding ourselves that a relationship was not a possibility.
There wasn’t time. The clock was against us.
My new job awaited.

And then, in spite of...or in direct challenge to…the plans that were already in motion, things drastically…dare we say, miraculously?.…changed.

We were at my apartment, packing for the move that would separate us when the phone call came in.

“The funding fell through,” the apologetic voice informed. “We’re rescinding the job offer.”

After the dust of a crumbled dream settled, there wasn’t an actual conscious choice to be a couple.
We just...were.

That first date…which was supposed to be only for coffee…was 15 years ago.
We still can't legally get married, but I know that God brought us together...forever.

I love you, Boo!


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