I arrived home on a Sunday night. Zeke picked me up from the airport, and by all appearances, we were right back to where we were. Happy, in love, ready to spend forever together. After a couple hours, he took me home.
The next night, our "band" met at Flying Star, one of the coolest little restaurants in Albuquerque, and our traditional meeting place. On the agenda was our upcoming ministry trip to Phoenix as well as our other gigs, a youth conference in March, recording studio dates, etc. I swung by Zeke's house to pick him up, so that we could snag a few "alone" minutes together before the meeting. On the way to the meeting, we talked about our future, and even the possibility of branching out from the group to start our own ministry. We were laughing, especially when I suggested that we should call our group "M&M", reflective of my pet name for him, my "Moshe Mexicano", my Mexican Moses. I had all sorts of ideas with what we could do with that, from having M&Ms in the lobby to designs for our decal, etc. It was a fun ride to the Star, but as we were pulling up, there was a dampening of the mood. Zeke indicated that Ben was going to say some things that I might not like, but wouldn't really tell me what was going on.
The atmosphere was ominous when I walked in. After going through line and getting my favorite Chicken Salad and Iced Tea, I sat down in the booth. Ben and Jill were across from me, Kelly to my right, and Zeke had pulled up a chair to the end of the table and was on my left.
Ben proceeded to tell me that he didn't want to go to Phoenix, and felt that we weren't "ready". He launched into a spiel about more practice, not knowing the people, yada, yada, yada, but I couldn't really hear any of what he was saying. I had planned that trip, by myself, at his request. Some of my best friends lived in Phoenix, my home. My Pastors out there, trusting me, had opened their doors and scheduled a couple of special services for us, after much discussion, and now Ben just decided he didn't want to go?
Because the rest of the group was all family, and he was the oldest, most of the decisions that were made were made by Ben, and the rest of the group followed along. I asked if Zeke and I could go by ourselves, as representatives. It made sense to me, seeing as I wanted my Phoenix family to meet the man I was planning to marry. Also, it fed right into our earlier discussions about branching out into our own ministry. Ben, however, would have no part of it. He became irate at the idea of Zeke and I traveling 6 hours alone together, and then started into a completely unrelated conversation about how he did not want Zeke and I spending any alone time together, because it didn't "look good" for the group. While I understand that when in ministry it is important to watch perceptions, I was floored by the idea that they didn't trust us, and that they were trying to dictate what we could and couldn't do. Looking back, I should have taken this as a complete sign of many family issues, but at the time I was so in love, that I was blinded to much of the obvious.
It was a very quiet ride as Zeke and I made our way back to his home. Very little was mentioned, and our goodnight was brief. I left knowing in my heart of hearts that something was brewing. If I remember correctly, I even called my friend, Donna, and said "something's not right". Little did I know just how big the storm was that was heading my way.
Two nights later, Wednesday, I finished work and headed straight to church. Our Pastor was teaching a Bible Study class called "Emmaus Road", which is the story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. I had taken the class the previous semester, but it was Zeke's first time through it, and Ben and Jill were also taking the class, and it was so good and soooooooooooo full of good stuff, that I wanted to take it again. So there I was. I found Zeke, Ben, Jill and Kelly all seated in the front row, and I plopped down right next to Zeke. His reception was cold, and he was aloof. Throughout the class I would try to write him little notes, or smile at him and he wouldn't even look at me. My heart started sinking, and my mind raced trying to figure out what was wrong. After class, Zeke walked me to my vehicle, and I tried to talk to him. He just started crying and asked me, "What if we can't be together?" Startled, I asked him what he meant. He just shrugged and said that he really wanted to be with me forever. I held him as he sobbed on my shoulder, and I assured him that we would always be together, and after a long embrace we parted ways. That would the be last night I would see him as my boyfriend.
Due to conflicting schedules, we weren't able to see each other until Sunday, at a Superbowl party hosted by Donna and Russ. The whole group was supposed to be there, mostly for the original Kansas City Barbeque and Commercials because no one really cared about the game.
But late Saturday night, as I was cuddled up to my computer, I received an instant message from Zeke. I don't remember how the whole conversation went, but sometime in the middle of it, he said, "I can't be your boyfriend anymore, just your best friend."
"What the H&*#$&(*# does that mean?", my heart screamed. Zeke said something along the lines of "I need to work some things out with God", and that "I really want to be with you, but..", and "This doesn't have to be permanent," but "you can see other people". And that was it. He was gone, and I was left with more questions than answers and more tears than I knew I could cry. My heart shattered in pieces and darkness settled in, and the hurricane of broken dreams swept me away.
Stayed tuned for Chapter Three: Darkness is Dark