I texted my friend to tell her that we were running a few minutes that to meet her for coffee on Saturday.
When we got there, she was talking to an old man with a cane, and I introduced myself to him.
Steven started talking to me, and I barely had a chance to say "hi" to my friend. It was obvious that he was lonely. My friend was telling Steven about the new church that she and her husband are trying to start in town, and I thought "What a good pastor's wife."
We ordered some drinks as Steven continued to hang nearby. He even asked me for a ride to Walgreens so he could pick up some of his medication. I checked with Nate, because I sure wasn't going to give a strange man a ride without a male with me, and he agreed.
Then a waitress came up to try to shoo Steven away from us, telling him to let us enjoy our drinks.
"I'm not bothering them," he said. "They're my friends."
However, she took my friend aside and explained that we didn't have to talk to him. Steven got the hint from the waitress and sat down at his table, not talking to us any more.
After a few minutes of us catching up, Steven looked over and said, "I'm ready to go to Walgreens whenever you are."
I told him he could come join us as we chatted, and he used his cane to hobble over.
We didn't say much as he told us about growing up in Los Angeles, playing guitar, being a part of a gang, his problems with alcohol, how he reads the Bible now. He said he thought we were good people, because a lot of people push him aside.
"I don't like to be pushed aside," he said.
I found myself nodding along with him and putting on a fake smile. I knew that we were doing the right thing talking to him, but I had to say my heart wasn't in it. I realized that instead of just patronizing him, I should truly care about this man.
Time passed, and then we bundled up and took Steven to Walgreens after saying "good-bye" to my friend.
When Nate and I were driving away, I told him thank you for being nice to that old man. He said that Steven was making up stories — that white people didn't have gangs when Steven was young, and he couldn't play the guitar as well as he said because his hands weren't calloused like they should be — but he wasn't going to call him out on it.
Steven just needed someone to care, someone to not push him aside. And I'm glad that for even a few minutes we could be those people to make him feel like a human again.
That's why I hate the phrase that he's the "man of my dreams." When women say that, they're so proud their men are everything they thought they would be. My man is so much different and more than I thought my husband would be. He's not the husband I dreamed about. He's so much better.