They met when she was invited by a student to give a presentation on why it was important for women and girls to be educated in countries where they are marginalized and have little or no access to education. This was her first presentation as an advocate for the rights of women and girls to receive an education and she was nervous.
She stood in front of a auditorium filled with students from grades 8 to 12. While the student who invited her gave an introduction, she said a little prayer, to calm her nerves and to give her the strength she needed. She felt a peace envelope her and she smiled as the girl invited her to go to the podium amidst the applause.
She stood there, looking at the faces around her and she began her presentation with one of her favorite quotes, “The surest way to keep a people down is to educate the men and neglect the women. If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family.” Then, she shared facts, stories and information about the programs and activities that provided to help eliminate the barriers that women and girls faced in their pursuit of a right to an education. She encouraged the students to get involved. She answered questions and at the end of the presentation, she handed out pamphlets and fact sheets. Many students were eager to get involved and she told them to contact her.
As the students filed out of the auditorium, he went up on to the podium where she was gathering her papers together and putting them into her folder. She glanced up and her breath caught in her throat. For a moment, all she could do was stare at him. He had to be the best-looking man she had ever seen. None of her male teachers ever looked like this.
He smiled and held out his hand. “Jordan Hampton.”
“Michelle Johnson,” she said, as she shook his hand.
“I enjoyed your presentation. Thanks for coming.”
“It was my pleasure and I’m happy that you enjoyed it.” She was feeling shy and a little nervous because he was still holding her hand and his eyes were fixed on her.
He released her hand then, almost apologetically. “I am interested in learning more about the kind of work you do,” he said. “May I get in touch with you?”
“Sure.” She handed him a business card with her contact information. She also gave him some handouts.
“Well, I must be getting back to my class,” he said. “I’ll walk with you to the front entrance.”
“Thank you.” She gathered her things and followed him out of the auditorium. They went down the hallway to the front entrance. At the doors, he turned to her. They shook hands again and said goodbye.
A couple days later, she received a phone call from him. “Hi, Michelle. It’s Jordan.”
Her heart started to beat fast. “Hi Jordan,” she leaned back in her chair and swung round so that she was facing the window. It was so good hearing from him. After meeting him that first time at the school, she hadn’t been able to think of anything else. She had been looking forward to hearing from him. “How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you. How about you? Have you been giving any more presentations?”
“I’m doing well, thanks. I have another one next week.”
“Are you nervous?”
“Not yet,” she laughed.
There was a brief pause, then, “I’d like to learn more about what you do—over dinner.”
She sat up. “Dinner?”
“Yes. I would like you to have dinner with me tonight, unless… you have other plans?”
She shook her head at once but then realized that he couldn’t see that. “No, I don’t have any plans.” And even if she did, she would cancel them, for sure.
“Good. I’ll pick you up at seven. ”
“I hope you don’t get bored hearing me talk about my work,” she said.
“I won’t,” he promised. They spoke for a couple more minutes and then the call ended.
He showed up promptly at seven, looking amazing in a white shirt and a navy blue suit. She was wearing a salmon colored, spaghetti strapped dress which complimented her complexion and her hair was pulled back in a French twist updo. She smiled when she saw the way he looked at her. Clearly he liked what he saw.
Dinner was a fun affair. He started out asking her questions about her work and then questions about herself. It seemed like he would have been content just talking about her but she wanted to learn about him. He was a Political Science teacher and had been teaching for fifteen years. His father was British and his mother, Irish. He had two brothers and a sister. He was the second oldest. When he wasn’t in a classroom, he was on the tennis court or in the gym or reading or spending time with his family and friends. His favorite movie was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, his favorite book To Kill A Mockingbird was and his favorite song was Hotel California.
They laughed and talked about all sorts of things. Then, when they were having their dessert, he said, “I have a confession to make. I heard most of your presentation but I was distracted.”
She frowned. “Distracted?”
“Yes. I was distracted by you. I couldn’t get over how amazing you looked and how much I was looking forward to meeting you. I waited until the coast was clear and then I came over and introduced myself. You were even more stunning up close. I’m surprised I was able to speak.”
She laughed. “I was a bit tongue-tied, myself,” she admitted. “I remember thinking that none of my male teachers looked like you.”
He reached over and covered her hand as it lay on the table. His eyes were serious as they met hers. “I’d like to see you again,” he said. “Are you busy on Sunday?”
She usually went to church in the morning and then spent the rest of the day, getting ready for work the next day. “No, I’m not busy then.”
“How about going with me on a lunch jazz cruise on the Thames?”
“That sounds wonderful.” She had never been on a cruise or on the Thames before. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. She couldn’t wait.
He picked up his glass, his eyes holding hers in a steady gaze. “Here’s to an amazing evening and to many more like it.”
She smiled as she raised her glass. “Cheers.”