Monday, May 21, 2012

On Stage Without a Script; Act II

The next week, ironically, I sent into the coffee shop, the same one as where I was suppose to have met the pastor.  As I walked past the tables to get in line at the counter, I looked to my left and there sat no other than Ralph and Linda. I raised my chin in a gesture of a wave. Ralph smiled back. Linda's was packing up her things like she was leaving.

Ralph was in his mid forties, a chiropractor. He was a good looking man, athletic build, graying in the temples.  Linda was actually, one of the most beautiful women I had ever known. She was tall, brunette with cobalt blue eyes. She was naturally thin and you could tell she didn't even have to work at it. Rumor had it that she was a professional model prior to getting her job with the district school office.

I got my espresso and join Ralph.

ME: "Good morning. What brings you out so bright and early."

RALPH: "Linda and I are co-leading the youth Sunday school class this year."

ME: "So, I've heard."

RALPH: "Well, Linda works at the school and has to be there at 7 and this is about the only time we could meet."

I sipped my coffee.

ME: "So . . . what's the subject matter?"

RALPH: "We have a great series put out by the denomination simply titled "The essentials."  It goes through the ten essential beliefs of being a Christian and of our denomination. It examines the truth behind each one, possible counterfeits that the kids will face, and how to keep a solid foundation of these ten beliefs for the rest of their lives."

I pick up one of the books and flip through it as I sip my coffee.

ME: "Ralph, I have an honest question for you."

RALPH: "Sure" he said with a look of surprise on his face.  He sips the remaining part of his coffee.

ME: (rubbing my face as I searched for words), "Does it bother Kathryn (his wife) at all that you are working with Linda?"

RALPH: (Looking very confused now) "Bother her how?" He stared at me waiting for an answer . . . but before I could give one, he answered it himself, "Katheryn thinks the world of Linda. She's delighted that I chose her to help me." Ralph was looking a little angry at this point.

ME: "What I'm trying to say is, I know it would be hard for Susan (my wife in this story) if I was spending a lot of time with Linda . . . I think. Well, I know it would hard for me if Susan was working and spending a lot of time with a really good looking man."

RALPH: (Leaning back in his chair and seeming even more irritated), "I have no idea what you are talking about. Linda is a wonderful and sweet God-fearing woman.  I love Kathryn with all my heart. I just don't know what you are implying . . . and personally I find it a bit offensive."

ME: "Come-on Ralph. You and I both know that Linda is gorgeous. I'm just saying that it would be natural for a man to feel attracted to her."  We both sipped our coffee and Ralph started to gather his things. I added, "Why did you choose her to co-lead with you anyway?  Why not Kathryn or some other woman, or man in the church."

RALPH: "I prayed for direction. I knew I needed help. God led me to Linda. She has a daughter of her own. She is a very talented woman, and seemed to be the ideal candidate."  He put the rest of his things in his brief case and stood up. "Dan, I don't know what your problem is. You just don't seem to get it. Outward looks doesn't matter to people when they have the Lord at the center of their lives.  I think you need to get your head screwed on right."

Ralph got up and walked across the floor, putting away his coffee cup in the dirty dish box. I noticed for the first time that his coal-black hair was really gray all over and he must dye it leaving the temples with a touch a gray. I faintly could see his gray roots. Then he walked past me in his Kevin Klein suit and stylish glasses and out the door to his BMW convertible.

I felt confused. I never intended to make Ralph mad. I was just curious. I didn't mean to be accusatory in my tone.  I was even open to the ideal that maybe I'm the only man alive that finds other women attractive at times and would feel vulnerable in Ralph' situation. But it was my curiosity that was my driving force.

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