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PICTURE THIS…

It’s a hot, dusty day at an air force base in Tucson, Arizona. Shimmering heat waves roll off the tarmac as the throaty roar of jet engines makes verbal communication all but impossible. Two curious figures perch on a weapons crate not far from the gleaming barrels of an A-10 Warthog’s colossal gatling gun, texting each other while three feet apart - one, a tall, awkward fellow of indeterminate age with a beard and glasses; the other, a small, feisty Latina whose young face belies wisdom beyond her years. They look at each other and laugh over some inside joke; in the distance, an F-16 thunders off into the unblemished desert sky.

Wait.. what the heck was that? Apparently there’s a sappy romance novelist living in my brain, just waiting for her chance to strike and unleash cringe-worthy prose upon the world. Anyway, back to the story. Cesi and I first encountered each other at our workplace, a large government contractor/cubicle farm in the Chicagoland area. She was the first to notice me - at the time, I had a permanent standing desk, and she describes walking into the room where I sat (ahem stood) and seeing my head above the cube walls, surveying the area as if I was young Simba looking out over his future kingdom.

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As we rarely encountered each other, I went into her mental filing system under “strange but harmless; can’t sit down, possible medical issue?” Meanwhile, I had categorized her as “Level 137 Software Sorceress: Speed +7, Damage +12; special abilities: Death Stare; do not approach, respond only when spoken to.”

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We rarely encountered each other until one fateful day when we were both assigned to work on a new project as its only software developers. I soon piqued her interest with my Level 17 Charm, otherwise known as opening doors for her and generally treating her like a human being; however, due to my curse of -27 Social Function & Awareness, I had literally no clue what was going on.

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Fast forward six months: We had finished development of our project and were in Tucson with the rest of the team, where we were spending a week helping the military test what we had built. We were a few days in, testing was progressing smoothly, we were eating copious amounts of Mexican food, I still had zero clue Cesi was into me.. life was good! But all was not as it seemed. At the beginning of the week, I had announced to the team that I would be leaving the company for greener pastures. After some good natured ribbing and a few tears (were those tears of joy Dan? I KNEW IT), we all moved on.. or so I thought.

A week later, after many ineffectual attempts to get my attention, Cesi ditched the subtlety and straight up told me that she had… feelings… for me. Cue utter shock - not only that she had feelings for me, but that people could have more than one feeling at all. However, after a few days basking in the knowledge that a member of the opposite sex professed feelings for me, I had to drop the crushing news: as a Christian, I could not in good conscience date a non-believer. In other words.. I friend-zoned her for Jesus. And that’s how the story ends, folks!

…not so fast. We remained good friends and continued to hang out; I began to take every chance I could get to share the Gospel. However, it took a combination of the Holy Spirit and Steph Curry to finally secure the turnover. She was constantly skeptical that Christ had made a real difference in my life, but when she found out that Curry, one of her role models and someone whose behavior she held in high esteem, was also a Christian.. let’s just say, if he wasn’t already married, this website would have a slightly different name. But the Lord had other plans, and on one fateful night in July of 2017, Cesi prayed and accepted Christ as her Savior. And the rest, as they say, is history!

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