Once upon a time, there was a girl named Wren. I know, quite an auspicious beginning, isn't it? I mean, as beginnings go, this one is pretty generic. Ahem. Anyway, on with my story.
Wren moved with her parents to a small town in southern Idaho where she enrolled in the local junior college and began attending classes in the fall. Because neither Wren nor her parents could actually afford her tuition, she applied for federal aid and was accepted. That fall, not only did she start her college education, she also started a work-study in the college's main computer lab.
The first semester went well. Wren excelled in her classes and developed hands-on experience with basic computer software (now outdated!). That was also when she gained her first introduction to the internet, without which you would not be able to read her story. Nevertheless, that's unimportant right now.
During the second semester, she started working at the computer lab one night a week. Shortly afterwards, she noticed a certain young man would come in to use a computer. Now this guy was weird. She had seen her share of weirdos, but for some reason this one stood out to her and she couldn't put her finger on why. One thing that really bothered her was that he always gave her what she thought was a dirty look whenever he came in. She didn't realize that her thoughts were clearly written on her face and he saw it every time he came in.
One day, Wren went to visit her friend, Tonya, at Tonya's workplace – The Christian Bookstore. She had met Tonya in their French class and they struck up an immediate friendship through their faith in Christ. While Wren visited with Tonya, she noticed one of the employees crouching in an aisle and straightening books. It was that same guy! The one from the computer lab!
Wren turned to her friend. "Tonya, who's that guy?"
Tonya leaned over the counter to look, and then sat back on her stool. "That's Jon. He's a little weird."
"Tell me about it!" Wren grimaced a bit. "He comes into the computer lab at school sometimes. He kinda creeps me out 'cause he's so weird."
"Oh, Jon wouldn't hurt anybody." Tonya assured her friend. "He just likes to keep to himself."
"Hm." Wren's mind was spinning with thoughts. If this guy's working at the Christian Bookstore, it stands to reason that he's a Christian. If he's a Christian, then he really must not be as weird as she thought. But then, why did he always give her such dirty looks? "Well, I need to go, Tonya. See you in class tomorrow!" With a wave to her friend and another curious look at Jon, she was out the door.
The next time Jon came into the computer lab, she watched him as he talked with a girl sitting beside him. To Wren's chagrin, she realized she had been misjudging Jon. Now that she knew a bit more about him, she saw him in a different light. Why, he actually seemed pleasant! Wren buried her nose in her book the rest of the time Jon was there.
One Sunday night, several weeks later, Wren was at church waiting for the college group to start. She was sitting at a table near the door, chatting with friends, when who should walk in? That's right, it was Jon! Uh, oh, thought Wren. Please don't come over here! That means I have to be nice to you. She pretended she hadn't seen him until he found a seat at a different table. Whew! Got out of that one—for now!
Jon came every Sunday night after that. Wren grew used to seeing him, and even spoke to him on occasion, but she never felt comfortable enough to have a real conversation with him.
The group decided it was time to have their first retreat. The pastor was able to book the same retreat center the men's and women's groups used. Both Wren and Jon went. The retreat was fun as well as spiritually enlightening and thought provoking for Wren. She rededicated her life to God with great joy. When the group returned to the church that Sunday afternoon, it was announced that there would be no regular meeting that evening. Jon and Wren happened to be standing by each other at the time.
Jon turned to Wren as he picked up his duffel bag. "Now I don't know what I'm going to do tonight. I just want to keep fellowshipping!"
Wren grinned. "I know what you mean! I want to stay, too." She stooped to pick up her sleeping bag. "I'm tired, though. I didn't sleep at all last night, so I'm going to take a nap when I get home." She glanced up at Jon. "See you next week?"
"I'll be there."
"Cool. Well, see ya later, then!" She smiled and headed for her car. What a nice guy! I want to get to know him better.
That evening, the phone rang, jarring her awake. Probably for Mom or Dad. She closed her eyes to rest some more.
"Wren!" Her mother's voice made her eyes snap open. "Phone for you! Some guy name Jon."
Jon? Calling me? Wren dragged on a cord to bring her phone closer. "Hello?"
"Hi!" Jon's voice sounded a little bit too chipper. "Did I wake you?"
Wren rubbed her face a little. "Um, yeah, but that's okay. I needed to wake up, or else I won't sleep tonight." She rolled to her back. "So. What's up?"
Jon grinned. She could here it in his voice. "Well, I'm bored."
"No, seriously. This weekend was such a blast that I don't want it to end. I wanted to talk to somebody about it, so I called you." He hesitated. "That's okay, isn't it?"
Wren sat up. "Sure, it's okay! You just surprised me, that's all."
His relied came out in a sigh. "Oh, good. So. What did you think of this weekend?"
Sometime later, they were still talking. They had found so many common interests that Wren wondered why she hadn't talked to him before.
Finally, Jon said, "Well, I probably should let you go."
"Oh, Um, okay."
"Do you realize we've talked on the phone for two hours?" he asked.
"Has it really been two hours?" Wren looked at her clock. "Wow, I guess it has been."
"Yeah. I should go. It was great talking to you."
"Yeah, same here."
"Okay. Well, can I call you again?" he asked.
"Sure. Can I call you?" Wren smiled as Jon chuckled.
"Cool." They each waited a few seconds, then she said, "Well, bye!" and laughed.
He laughed, too. "Bye!"
So began the friendship of Wren and Jon.
This is a true story* about my best friend, Jon† and me. That phone call was the first of seven (so far!) years' worth of phone calls, visits, walks, talks, huffs, complaints, laughs, VeggieTales, movies, pizza – well, everything! We've endured many sly winks and nods about our relationship, even outright speculation—from our parents, no less! So far, we are living proof that you don't have to be married to your best friend.
* My memory is a fallible thing. The events are as true as I remember them. The dialogue may have been dramatized a bit simply because I don't remember exactly what was said. Jon could very well read this and say, "I don't remember it that way!" If he does, appropriate corrections will be made. Otherwise, this is it!
† His name has been changed because I wanted to protect his privacy somewhat. The person who asked me for this story knows his real name, anyway.