It all began at the College Avenue train station platform back in January of 2013 at 6am… One dark, cold morning as we waited for the train to come to take us downtown Chicago, Stephen stood next to me, and he started talking. He cheerfully said, “Good morning!” and then talked with me until the train arrived. His friendliness surprised me, and he seemed nice; however, since I had just started dating someone else, I kept things cool. We said “Hi!” to each other after that because we often sat in the same train car.
A couple months later, when I sat there talking on the phone to my long-distance boyfriend, after seeing Stephen looking at me, this thought ran through my head: “Why am I dating someone 1,000 miles away when there’s a perfectly interested guy sitting right over there!?” I shook the thought off and dated the long-distance guy until he broke up with me. I wasn’t ready for Stephen then because he both annoyed and intrigued me… (Early in the morning he talked loudly with his train buddies in the train, and he seemed to me like a boring suburbanite…I didn’t know that he had grown up in vineyard country, loved chopping firewood and the outdoors, loved God…I could sense that he was interested, but I had some growing up to do.) Over the next year and a half I tried going on over a dozen first dates with other guys (that never worked out, but) while running into Stephen a few times at church because his friend Lauren had invited him.