2. Getting to know her
The weeks and months flew by. All through the working week, I was looking forwards to seeing her on Friday at the soup run, and on Saturdays I was looking forwards to seeing her again on the Sunday. We spent so much time chatting to each other as we prepared the flasks of tea and coffee that sometimes we almost forgot to go out and serve it. She wasn’t there every Friday – occasionally she had to be away for training or she was visiting her parents, so there was always a slight sense of disappointment for me when she wasn’t there. But the evenings she was were some of the happiest times of my life, but all over too quickly.
One Friday evening, she turned up wearing a dark blue top with stars and planets on it. Unknown to her, according to the secondhand copy of the Evening Standard I’d been reading on the train on the way home from work, that night five planets (Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune) were due to come into alignment in a once in ten-thousand year event. As we passed by the station, I glanced at the sky and pointed out the other four planets to her. Just as the planets were being brought together, it seemed to me as if we had been brought together too….
That night, as we walked home, she told me that she had an interview for a job in a neighbouring town, which meant if she got it, she would be staying around. I was so overjoyed, that after I said goodnight to her and made my own way home, I was swinging off the road signs and giving thanks to God for what seemed to be an answer to prayer.
Weeks passed, and spring turned into summer. No word came about her success or otherwise in the interview. Then one night, as I was walking her home, she told me she had an interview for another job in a different city, which would take her away. But it was a job she really wanted to do. The day of the interview, I took the afternoon off work so I could pray for her. It was the hardest, most intense prayer of my life. I didn’t want her to go, but I knew how much she wanted the job, so I prayed that she would get it, knowing it would break my heart to lose her.