After our first meeting, I was so intrigued with Ben. I remember asking other fellow co-workers about Ben and where he came from...
Someone told me he came from NY, so in my mind it made sense why he always came to work dressed nicely but with sneakers on.
Another time, I asked a gay co-worker if Ben was gay (he was just quite well dressed and stylish) and he replied, "Oh honey! He is too rugged to be gay!" With relief, I sighed.
My BFF and I would sit in the very last row of our American History 101 class and be passing notes back and forth. One thing that I could be found doing during that class was signing my name Rubyellen Bratcher (and that was before Ben and I even started hanging out, letting alone really talking as friends!). Another thing, BFF and I did during that class was ditch it and I made her go with me to work (she worked at the Gap too) because I just wanted to go check out Ben. He was just the cutest guy ever and I was in love! At least with his face cause I really didn't know him yet.
I really didn't work that much anymore, maybe one day or two days a week, but I would look up his schedule and if someone was trying to get rid of a shift when Ben was working, I would gladly pick it up.
I also remember working at the cash registers and Ben would often be working on folding clothes at the front of the store and when the line would die down, I would just stare at him. I know, so strange! He was (and still is) so hot that I couldn't (and still can't) resist. But I remember getting nervous that he would look up and catch me and I would be found out! Good thing he never caught me.
Ben and I were friendly at work and I was always so happy when we were working together because I would make sure to talk to him. I would even get to work 15 minutes early, cause I knew he might be in the back working on stock and that means I would get to just chat with him a bit. He laughs about it now because I am always late and never on time! But back then, he thought I was just a timely person.
My 20th birthday rolled around, just a little over a month after I met Ben and us becoming friendly at work, I was thinking about chopping off my really long hair. I thought I would ask the "cute guy" what he thought and and base my decision off that. Silly, I know. Well, I asked Ben if he thought I should cut my hair and he said, "Go for it." and so the next day, on my 20th birthday, I did. That decision is funny now because he actually prefers my hair long and just said that because he was just carefree like that. He didn't know I was basing my decision just on what he said.
After work, I would always go home and rave and rave about the "cute guy" to my mom and my closest friends. I know my slight stalking, for lack of a better word, was kind of a strange, but I really couldn't resist! He was hot and I couldn't help it!
Now here is the thing... I too had just gotten out of a relationship. I had my first boyfriend at the age of 14 and he broke up with me once a year until I was 19 when I finally did the breaking up myself. It was one of those things where you break up (usually cause he liked another girl), but then we would get back together (yeah, I was kind of dingbatty that way). Really, just young kinda stuff.
It was hard though cause I was always one of those dreaming girls who wanted to just have one boyfriend my whole life and I think that is one reason that kept me holding on for so long. Plus, we were also good friends, had the same circle of friends, knew each other since we were like 6 & 7 (he was younger than me), went to the same church, and our families were good friends. It is tough to get out of that cycle in those circumstances. At that age, I thought that was as good as it gets and my dream guy was really just a "dream," only stuff you see in movies. Now I see it was just not healthy to try and be in a serious relationship at such a young age, we were both just too immature, but I am thankful for that experience because God really used it to grow me and make me more appreciative for what lay ahead.
Anyways, we had broken up in August of '01 (of course, drama was involved with that as he liked one of my closest friends, but thankfully her and I are still close now and she was in my wedding!) and I met Ben in September. I didn't really think anything would ever happen with this cute guy at work. Oh, did I mention my ex-boyfriend worked at the Gap too?! Yup. He did. Awkward. I thought I would just admire Ben, be friends at work, and life would go on... end of story. Little did I know, God had other plans...
That fall, while working at the Gap at Brea Mall, I continued to actively pursue employment in the advertising field, but God kept closing doors (though I did not know it was God at that time), keeping me there. I remember when Ruby and her cute self would sit there in the stock room waiting to clock in. We would chat briefly, but nothing more. She was such a sugar-coated, adorable girl; she possessed an effervescent personality that was quite addictive; endorphins were released just from talking to her.
I also remember when she asked me if she should cut her hair, and being so happy-go-lucky with an open mind to trying out just about anything new, I said, sure, why not? Little did I know she thought so highly of my opinion! While I do prefer her hair a little longer, she was (and is) so pretty, the hair cut couldn't take anything away from her beautiful glow.
Now what I don't remember is the cuckoo-sounding infatuation she had! I'm not denying any of it was there, but looking back, it's truly hard for me to believe for two reasons: 1) It just doesn't really match her personality. Yes she's passionate, yes, she can get quite giddy, and yes she knows how to dedicate herself wholly, but she doesn't think irrationally! 2) I still don't see why she would be so infatuated with me. She's been blessed with jaw-dropping looks, paralleled by a creative, sharp, sharp mind. I ask her all the time what in the world she sees in me. And while it still boggles my mind, I'm actually glad it doesn't make sense, because that's exactly the way God operates. He's the one who changes people's hearts. He's the one who made, and continues to make, Ruby view me as someone loveable, as she overlooks my faults. Only by God's grace!
More of the story to come in a day or so (Ben isn't used to blogging daily), but as Ben and I write this out, we are discovering it is longer than we thought, so you may just get more than a week's worth of lovey doveyness from us! Hope you don't mind...
And don't forget to check out Snap It Pretty! Hurry up, spaces limited!!!