I would like to warn all you cold-hearted pragmatists out there that I’m about to tell you a love story about people taking their time to find one another. You can cease reading now if you need to iron or sort your recycling.
But if you have even half a heart, treat then you should rush to the nearest window, throw it open and shout, “I believe in love!” And you should keep reading (or listening), of course.
There was an open seat next to Justin at the bar. When I shook his hand as I introduced myself, I felt a surge of power rush up my arm. He immediately struck me as a man of great character, someone you want on your side. His smile and easy, polite way made me want to spend time talking about the meaning of life, or maybe just arm wrestling. He’d probably beat me with that strong grip, but Justin struck me as the sort of guy who makes you feel good about having your hand pressed to the mat.
As a group of folks sipped Val’s zippy Bloody Mary’s at the Lobby Lounge bar, sick the world seemed to circulate around Justin. Though the bar sitters all seemed to be strangers to one another, occasionally someone would look at Justin, softly seeking his approval, wanting some sort of acknowledgement of good deed from the positive force sitting with them all.
Justin explained to me that he had come back to his old Milwaukee stomping grounds from his new home in San Jose, CA. When I asked him what his favorite thing about coming back to Milwaukee was, he was quick to answer.
“It’s gotta be staying at the Pfister.”
I checked…Justin doesn’t work for the hotel’s marketing staff. He’s just a guy who likes to be treated well.
It makes sense. Justin treats people well himself. He excused himself for a moment to help a group of young ladies dealing with a frustrating Uber encounter, a knight in shining armor behind a Bloody Mary.
Somehow the attractive woman seated next to Justin had escaped my view while we had been chatting. But as he made his quick chivalrous trip, I spotted a lady who seemed in every way to be a part of Justin’s world.
Christina was her name, and I had guessed right, she was Justin’s better half. Christina certainly added to the reason that Justin felt a stay at the Pfister was a highlight of his hometown trip. Sharing the experience with a lovely lady surely adds to the charm.
Justin returned, and all had been handled without incident. He told me the Uber driver was a decent guy, but it was good that he had been on hand. Better safe than sorry. I kind of wished I had had a parking ticket to contest so I could take Justin along with me to make my case.
With his sweetheart by his side, Justin explained that he and Christina had a warm and lovey story of how they had come together as a couple. The two had grown up together, been great friends in high school, and then went their own ways and created their own families. After each of them had separated from their spouses, they reconnected and took their friendship to a new level.
The fact that it had taken two decades for their hearts to entwine kind of took my breath away. They seemed so right, so suited to each other. And so happy to be sharing their time together at the Pfister.
Now with a mix of children between them, Justin and Christina put family first. But celebrating together for a weekend of romance and fun was a series of their own moments. It had been a 20-year burn, but by the look of Justin and Christina hunkered together, the wait had been worth the while.