I must have felt the arrow hit me. That's probably why I was so cranky. He showed up at my church, had the guts to become a co-youth leader in my youth group (effectively stealing my thunder as the cool college-age leader), and stole all my friends. They began to time us. Who could last the longest in the same room together. We made it - on average - twenty minutes. Then one of us would beg our leave and depart. Gladly. There is nothing worse than an ogre crashing the party. And, Nate showed up often. Too often. Ogre. Blahk.
I drove to work distraught. Did God pick one perfect person for you or could you marry just about any Godly man and it would just be blessed? If God picked one perfect person, what if HE like the person HE picked, but YOU didn't? I prayed - heartily. Who could I give God as an example of the worst possible person on earth for Him to designate as my future spouse, the father of my children, my hero, my best friend. I thought of Phil. I met him at camp. Physically unattractive - very! - but inwardly a teddy bear of gooey ooze. Ew. I'm not into ooze, but then he'd treat me well. I could grow to love him. Nah. There was one worse. Nate. The Ogre. Oh, Dear Lord, please. Nate. There could be no one worse. No one more horrendous. No one more - unwanted.
Have you ever heard what happens when you pray, "Dear God don't send me to Africa?" That's what also happens when you pray, "Dear God, anyone but him." It didn't help that all our friends got married and we lived in a small town. Our Youth Pastor prophesied we'd start dating by default - simply 'cause there was no one else around. He was almost right.
I'll never forget the three long weeks when Nate disappeared to Columbia (yes the country of Guerrillas and drug wars). I wasn't worried about him. No. I was just ... bored. The tension had been removed from my life. The nasty man who picked on me incessantly, offered no compliments, told me the truth with the tact of Stalin, and who had ripped through the sarcastic digs to tell me I had a "nice face". There's compliments for you. A nice face. Guess it could've been worse.
He had the gall to return home. Tan. Blonde. Strong. In a plaid shirt that smelled of spice. With a smile that said he'd missed me too. But we'd never admit it. Never. Ever. Ever. ;)