This is the story of how I met and fell in love with my husband, Joseph Loveless.
If you missed yesterday’s post you can read Chapter One here.
The first night I showed up to volunteer, Rebecca was manning the check in table at the gym. I’d heard a lot about a new student ministry on campus run by a guy named Josh Loveless and his wife, Rebecca. They’d moved from Orlando with their nose rings and matching tattoo wedding bands and non-midwest sensibilities. They’d garnered a reputation for being magnetic, down to earth and refreshingly edgy (especially for our über conservative microcosm).
“Here,” Rebecca said handing me a box of Hawaiian lei. “Pass these out to the students after they sign in and show them to the gym. (pause) What’s your name, by the way?” “Catie,” I answered. She turned her attention to a group of high schoolers who had just walked up. “This is my friend, Catie.” she said. I smiled at our accelerated definition as inta-friends. “She’s gonna give you a lei and show you where to go.” And with that, we were, in fact, friends.
Months later, Rebecca and I were hanging at her house attempting to assemble Ikea furniture while Gavin, her one year old took a nap. As I cleared space to work, I uncovered a stack of old family photos. I flipped through them, laughing at pictures of Bec from the mid-nineties wearing jean on jean on jean or, as I like to call it, the “Trifecta of Jeans” (jean pants, a short sleeve jean shirt, and a long sleeved jean shirt tied around her waist.) There were pictures of Josh with various hair styles and colors. One picture was a more recent family photo of what appeared to be Josh’s family.
I hung over the couch and showed the picture to Rebecca, “So, who is who?”
I’d heard stories about Josh’s brothers. Becca took the picture, “This is Jon,” she said pointing to the brother not smiling with a shaved, bleach blonde buzz cut. “And this is Joe,” she said referring to the younger one with tawny curls arranged haphazardly on his head. She paused, then added without looking up, “You should marry him.”
I squinted my eyes to study the picture more closely.
His eyes were round saucers staring straight into the camera with the expression of a person genuinely enthralled to meet you. They were blue with a touch of yellow, like a worn gentleman’s naval suit. I found myself swooning internally, cautioning myself in military lingo, “At ease, soldier.” I obsessed over his eyes for several seconds until my stare made its way to his lips. The lips, oh, let me tell you about the lips. Those babies made a statement – pouty and capacious, the bottom one with significantly more surface area and delicious prominence. His smile made perfect parenthesis lines at the corners of his mouth. I imagined how those would deepen with age, defining his lips in a way that felt dapper and rugged. I smiled and said out loud, “His lips are bountiful.”
Rebecca laughed grabbing the picture. “Yeah, they’re huge. He was only nine when I first met the family and I used say to Josh, ‘I hope Joe grows into his lips one day.’ You should have seen those lips on the face of a nine-year old!” She laughed and shot me a look, raising her eyebrows, “Bountiful, huh?”
I smirked and she tossed the picture back to me.
“Doesn’t he live in Orlando?” I asked.
“Yeah. So what?”
“That’ll never happen,” I retorted, secretly hoping she had an ingenious plan to make it happen.
“Well, you can marry him or you can marry my brother, Stevie.”
“I never took you as the arranged marriage type. Where does Stevie live?”
“Yeah, never gonna happen.”
I took one last look at the picture with a restrained mind and a buoyant heart. I felt in my chest a washing realization that I was made to be in love (though perhaps never with Lips Loveless) with someone again soon. Just as quickly as love derailed my life, a picture of a boy named Loveless set my heart back on track.
**Continue Reading: Chapter 3