So, dinner with Marcus was amazing. I had such a great time. As I do my work, my thoughts take me back to that Saturday evening. He came and picked me up at my place at exactly seven. He looked very handsome in his expensive looking tan colored jacket and white shirt. His eyes traveled over me in my red dress with the cap sleeves and flare skirt. I had washed my hair and it fell in wavy curls about my face. I could see the admiration in his eyes and I was thrilled. “You look amazing,” he said quietly.
I smiled. “Thank you,” I replied as I preceded him into the hallway. After I closed and locked the door, we walked to the elevator. The Hispanic woman who lived opposite me was coming towards us. After she greeted me, I saw her eyes shift to Marcus and the way she looked at him. I glanced up at him but he was looking straight ahead. He was probably was used to women admiring him. I can just imagine that a lot of his female students had crushes on him. It made me feel great that I was the one he was taking out for dinner. Nervous excitement filled me and soon we were on our way to the restaurant. He drove a Bentley.
On the way, we talked about all sorts of things. I learned that he was a Seventh-day Adventist like me. The rest of the family was Baptist. “What made you switch?” I asked.
“When I started studying the Bible, I realized that there were some major doctrinal misunderstandings of the Baptist church such as the secret rapture of the church, immortality of the soul, eternal torment, Once saved always saved, Sunday sacredness and the law being done away with in Christ. There were Bible texts which refuted all of these teachings. An Adventist colleague of mine invited me to an evangelistic series which I attended. My life changed after that. I left the Baptist church and became an Adventist. What about you? Were you always an Adventist?”
“Yes and I’m thankful for that.”
We reached the restaurant which such a warm and friendly atmosphere. I loved it and the food was out of this world. I loved being with Marcus. He was so much fun. I felt as if we had known each other for ages. I could tell that he enjoyed my company too. I felt that I was on cloud nine and I didn’t want the evening to end. As we were having our dessert, he said to me, “I once had someone ask me if God only saves vegans. The person asked me that question because he was told by a vegan member that those who are still eating flesh food will never see Heaven.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I exclaimed. “What did you say to the person?”
“I told him that we are saved by Christ’s grace and His righteousness and not by our own works. We can’t earn our way to heaven by being vegan or vegetarian, nor do we choose to not eat meat because we believe that by doing so we will be saved. It’s like what Paul said when the Jewish Christians were saying that the non-Jewish Christians had to be circumcised in order to be saved. Being circumcised or not doesn’t save anyone. We are saved by faith alone and not by works so that none of us can boast about how good we are and how much we deserve to go to Heaven. Salvation is for everyone once they accept Christ.”
“I can’t stand it when people have issues with me eating fish and poultry even though these are considered clean. Jesus Himself wasn’t a vegetarian. He ate fish. When the Lord visited Abraham with the two angels, didn’t they eat Veal?”
Marcus nodded. “Yes. It’s a shame that diet is the bone of contention in the church. Eating meat became part of the diet after the flood and unless God Himself tells me that I should become a vegetarian or vegan, I will continue to eat fish and white meat.”
“Amen to that.” The rest of the evening we talked about other things and then it was time for him to take me home.
When we were standing outside of my door, he said, “I had a wonderful evening.”
“So did I,” I was quick to let him know. I wanted to say that I wish it wouldn’t end. I couldn’t invite him inside because of what could happen. As Christians, we had to be mindful of how easily we can become tempted to do things we know we ought not to do. If we didn’t believe in the Bible then, we would not have thought anything was wrong with him coming into my apartment for a nightcap or spending the night.
“When can I see you again?”
“Anytime you wish,” I was happy to tell him. Every single day would suit me just fine.
“Tomorrow I would like to take you to Napa. I can pick you up in the morning and take a scenic drive. It takes about an hour and forty-one minutes to get San Jose to there. Once we get there, there are several fun things we can do. What do you say?”
“I say yes!”
“Good, I’ll see you tomorrow. I will call you.”
I smiled up at him before I opened my door. I turned to face him. “Good night and thank you for a wonderful evening.”
“You’re welcome, Abi. Good night.” He reached out and gently squeezed my arm.
I leaned against the door frame, watching as he walked away. My heart leapt in my chest when he stopped and turned to look at me, a slight smile on his face before he continued down the hallway towards the elevators. I waited until one came and I heard the doors close before I went into my apartment. For the rest of the night and all morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about Marcus.
The next day, he took me to Napa and the first thing we did was go for a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards. It was an exhilarating experience. Marcus told me that the next time we would go early in the morning when it’s even more spectacular. Next, we went Olive Oil tasting, we had lunch a very nice Spanish restaurant called Zuzu. Afterwards we went to Sterlings’s where we stomped grapes. The grapes felt so yucky between my toes and my feet had turned purple but we got free tee shirts.
Before we went bowling, we wandered for a bit in downtown Napa with its shops, cafes and chocolatiers and visited the Oxbow Public Market where we treated ourselves to organic ice-cream. It had been a long time since I had an ice-cream so it was a big treat for me. After we finished our ice-creams, we headed to the bowling center where we spent the rest of the afternoon. I never had so much fun in my life and I thanked God for bringing Marcus into my life. As we drove back to San Jose, we made plans for our next date. And we have been dating ever since.
The ringing of the phone brings me back to the present. I stare at the display. I don’t recognize the name. I pick up the receiver. “Hello?”
“Hello Abiyomi. This is Philip Jennings. We met at the barbecue.”
“Oh, yes, I remember you now. You’re married to Bobby’s sister, Nicole.”
“Yes. I called your mother and she gave me your work number.”
I could sense that something was wrong. “What’s the matter?” I asked.
“It’s about Bobby.”
My heart was pounding now. “What’s happened to Bobby?”
“He died this morning.”
I began to tremble. “Died? But how?” As far as I knew Bobby physically fit. He hardly got sick.
“He took his life.”