If I Were the Last Man Alive
Chapter 26: Jamie

Copyright© 2014 by Number 7

Lori was thinking about my story, when I snuck in my comment about falling in love. When that happened, she virtually flipped out!

True, we had a lot to think about. We faced a lot of unknowns and had obstacles to overcome. But discovering and admitting love for one another made the future easier to contemplate.

Love is a big word. The wedding service tells us not to take it lightly.

Arthea lived out her love every single day. I never once doubted the sincerity of her commitment. I did everything in my power to prove that my love was just as sincere. I worked at being Arthea's husband and I loved the work.

The pastor who married us concluded our wedding ceremony by saying that in a moment our wedding would be over and a marriage would begin.

He said we would have difficulties, arguments, disagreements and times when we wished we hadn't gotten married. He reminded us, and everyone present, that God intended us to work through those times of trouble, giving one another real respect; in giving respect, we would create a marriage where troubles had a place to be worked out. Then the marriage would continue to grow and evolve as if it never happened.

I never wished we weren't married. Our days were filled with the normal work and challenges, but the magic of our love made it all a sweet memory.

That's what Lori and I would have, or we would have nothing at all.

My promise to her was good. I wouldn't stay in the same house with her until we were married. We would do this right, or not at all.

Arthea and I were always there for our friends when their love affairs went bad. It was so easy for one party to pack up and walk away from a live-in relationship, leaving the other one hurting, and confused. Arthea spent many nights with girlfriends, listening to them cry out their anger, hurt and bewilderment at the men who had abandoned them.

For men, it was different. When a live-in broke up with them, they came over for a meal and related their stories. It often took a long time for them to admit their breakups and almost never did they admit to being at fault.

I can't remember anyone feeling relived, unburdened, or guiltless.

Arthea gave me her whole life. Our marriage started the day we were married and not before. Most of my friends made fun of us for not living together before our engagement. Our four and a half years of marriage was longer than most of their live-in relationships. And that wasn't nearly long enough for either of us.

One strange thing happened to me when Lori professed her love. I stopped feeling like a stranger in my own life. Right then - it went away. I'd walked through the time since Arthea's death an observer to my life. When Lori spoke those magic words, I found myself living my life instead of waiting on the sidelines for life to happen. It thrilled me to feel that alive, again.

We needed to talk. That was certainly true. She needed time to get her head around the idea that God singled us out for His special purpose and He would work out the details in His time. We would know God's intentions before too long, I was sure.

As I looked at her in the Lexus waiting for me to respond, I thought she was adorable. God had chosen so perfectly for me. He chose Lori, just as He chose Arthea.

In the days before Arthea, I was content to wait. God wanted me to listen for His voice. While we were trying to figure ourselves out, God was giving us time to hear His voice more clearly.

The voice of God was speaking now. I could feel His powerful presence. Lori had spoken of God's plan too many times to be ignorant of how He lets us hear His voice.

We had lots of time to talk. We were the only people left. All we had to guide us was our shared and separate experiences in life and God. We would both be spending lots of time with Him in prayer and contemplation, seeking an understanding of His intentions.

"Please," I said to her. "Please, never stop looking at me the way you are right now. The smile. That happy, sweet, innocent smile. The dimples and the sunshine dancing in your eyes ... I can't get my breath, looking at you."

I found I could be transparently honest with her about my feelings. I needed assurance that she wouldn't reject my love before I lay my emotions bare. And after I was sure of her, I talked to her with confidence.

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