She worked in the office next door and I saw her every day. She would surprise me with small treats, bring me muffins or pancakes, and on Valentine’s Day a cookie bouquet. I would smile, say hi, and go into my office. She would wave hello and goodbye, try to start conversations, and just be a nuisance. She was sweetly annoying. I was determined not to become interested in her. I believed work relationships only meant trouble. But day after day the ritual continued. She never gave up.
Then she discovered we attended the same church. I liked to worship quietly, at the end of a row by myself, close to the back. Dorah sat on the opposite side of the church. Because rows and rows of people separated us, I rarely saw her.
One day after the service started, Dorah and her three children began filing down my row, plopping down one at a time until Dorah, the last one of the group, sat next to me. I endured the intrusion, but Sunday after Sunday the group came in late and slid in beside me. When the service was over they would leave before I did, stepping over me one by one. Outside they would wait for me and as I walked to my car they would drive by. Dorah would stop and invite me to have lunch. Always my answer was the same. “No, thank you. I’m going to see my mother.”
I’m sure they wondered why I visited my mother every week or wondered if I was telling the truth. I didn’t bother to tell them that Mom was widowed or Sunday was the day I always visited her and worked in her yard. So always I turned them down.
Dorah was persistent. She emailed me and phoned me, inviting me to football games and other public events, usually at the high school where her daughter, Linda, was now attending. Then one Friday evening, determined to force my hand, Linda came up with a plan to stir her mom into action. Linda dared Dorah to call me and issue a challenge. She accepted the dare and this is what occurred.
My telephone rang. I picked it up and I heard Dora say, “Hello, Dan. What do you want to do? Go get coffee or make out?” I was stunned but secretly thrilled. I hesitated for a few seconds. “Uh, I think we could do both.”
We met at Starbucks, talked about everything and nothing, and had coffee. I found out I liked her values, her easy way of conversing, and her deep thoughts. Afterwards I walked Dorah to her car, pulled her close and kissed her.
She invited me to her house. It was not as if we were going to be alone. As I sat in the kitchen, Linda, Carl, and Katie came into and out of the room, saying hi and inspecting me up close. Finally they left us and the pressure was temporarily off.
Dorah showed me her house, going from room to room. As I passed a picture hanging on one wall, I said nonchalantly, “That’s a Steve Hanks watercolor.”She had other paintings by the same artist and I admired each one. Dorah was impressed that I knew her favorite artist. For her that was the deciding point.
We both enjoyed the same kind of art. That opened the door to other discussions. We liked Michael Jackson’s songs, especially “Beat It” and “Thriller”. We watched the same kind of television shows, “Charlie’s Angels” and “Everyone Loves Raymond”.
We continued to date and see each other frequently. A few months later, with the blessings of friends and family, we held a dedication celebration at our favorite restaurant. There was music and dancing, words of joy and commitment, and laughter. We were described as opposites, saying I was old and quiet while Dorah was young and loud. To help guests remember the music, joy, and laughter, they were given CD’s with our favorite songs.
Our relationship had started slowly, but built up to this climax. Those who knew us were not disappointed that we would be together. Our future held promise. We could grow closer, and our relationship might endure. We did not know what the future might bring, but for that moment, that event, it was time to rejoice.
By Dan Roberson