By August of 2005, I was fully moved into a cute third floor apartment in an old Victorian home in Ocean Grove, NJ- one block from the beach, on Embury Avenue. My new roomie Jill (Jess’s sister) and I had a blast together- both new residents of the jersey shore. (which by the way is NOTHING like the show)
Instead of teaching, I ended up with a job as youth director assistant at a church nearby- and worked part time at a small housewares boutique. I was so glad to be in a new place, surrounded by fun Christian people…it was amazing! About a month after I officially moved, Bart returned from YWAM.
What is funny is that from the moment I moved, Dan hinted to me about Bart…what about Bart, huh huh huh… I distinctly remember telling him that he was too short and way out of my league. (He worked in Manhattan at the time) I just didn’t think of him like that, and was sure he had never considered me either. Turns out, I was correct.
Life was good in NJ, our big group of friends hung out a lot, and within a few months, Jill and Jess’s brother Chris decided to move up to Jersey too- so we asked our next door neighbors if they wanted some renters. Chris and Bart moved in next door in October (?sometime around then). While I had been getting to know Bart before this, having him as a neighbor definitely sped up the process. It also helped that he didn’t have a job yet, and because I only held two part time positions; my hours were flexible and we started spending a lot of time together.
For awhile, I think he came up to my apartment for breakfast almost every morning…he came to a soccer game of one of my youth kids, with me…he helped paint my new office at the church…not to mention all the group gatherings we attended. Inevitably I fell for him. I fought it for a few months and rarely talked to anyone about him, but at some point I knew there was no denying it…I liked Bart.
I think it was the winks…even in a crowded room, I could look all the way on the other side to where Bart was standing and if I caught his eye, he’d wink. So. Darn. Cute. It helped that he was an amazing listener and a good question asker…he challenged me in my faith and was bold about loving Jesus…and he was super good looking with great style. (I got over his shortness pretty fast, plus he’s still taller than me, so no worries.) He was (still is!) the funniest guy I’d ever met and everyone loved him…I really felt like he was too good to be true.
But in late November of that year, 2005, everything came to a screeching halt.
to be continued…