I was out of Evanston and in Detroit for
the National Society of Black Engineers annual convention, the first national
event I had ever attended.
So, on the first real workday for us Northwestern University had a booth set up at the Career Fair. Somehow, I got stuck with working alone in
the booth for some time. I believe Barb was supposed to be manning the table with me, however she was back and forth with all of her former
MIT crew. MIT always rolls deep to NSBE, with about 50 students at this conference.
I guess Barb finally decided that she
had been gone long enough and decided to come back. But with her was a
friend from her MIT days
named Joshua. Now, my memory is extremely poor in associating names with faces, but not in this instance. I still remember his face. Or shall
I say, his smile. Barb introduced us and when someone came to the booth with questions, I continued talking with Joshua while she handled
the booth’s business. Now, I have no clue what we talked about those few minutes, but I do remember looking up from my seat at this guy
who wouldn’t stop smiling. Joshua with the perfect ‘fro, business attire, and the smile.
After Barb finished her NWU spiel, she
and Joshua went away leaving me all alone again. When Barb next returned,
she was alone, but
cracking up laughing! Of course, I asked what was so funny to which she replied, “Josh thinks you’re beautiful.” Joining her in laughter,
I asked, “Where did he go?” and pretended to look for him. And, even though we stayed in Detroit until Sunday, Joshua and I did not
see each other for the rest of the conference.
Upon returning to NWU, from time to time,
Barb would ask “remember Josh from Detroit? He asked about you.” My response
usually the same, “Oh, tell him hello and send me some email.” However, he never did.
Barb’s note about
the visit ~June 17, 1999
The phone call June 21, 1999
First date June 23, 1999
Second Date June 24, 1999
Well, I had just moved into the townhouse
and was sending out my new info to all of the friends. So, Barb contacts
me and asks
again, “you remember Josh from NSBE Detroit?” So, I say, “yes.” She then goes on to tell me that he’s coming to Chicago for a week
and wants to know what’s going on. She also mentions hanging out.
Since I was trying to get ready for yet
another international trip, I said, “Sure, I need some fun before being
in China for a month.”
I suggested that everyone roll out to Aurora to the new townhouse for a BBQ or something. Plus, the NBA finals were going on,
so that would be a good reason for a get-together. Tentatively, we planned for Sunday night. So, Barb said she’d get back with me
once she knew more details.
On Monday morning, I received this email (yes, I still have it!):
Subject: Re: what's up...
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 10:39:56 -0500
From: “Barbara M. Nichols" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>From: "Joshua Joseph, Jr." <email@example.com>
>To: "Travis Gaylord" <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
>"Barbara M. Nichols" <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: what's up...
>Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 03:00:03 -0400
>okay... its 3 o'clock monday morning and i am still at the office...
>obviously i did not make it in SUNDAY...
>will buzz when i get in.. probably some time Monday afternoon/evening...
So, since Sunday was out, I talked to
Barb to see what the deal was for the rest of the week. I had a road
trip to Dayton, OH
for Chalanda and Terrence’s wedding on Saturday before the Monday flight to Beijing.
Joshua called on Monday evening and we
talked as if we had known each other forever. We chatted about lots
of things for
over an hour. Somewhere in the conversation, he asked when I was available to hang out. I said, and I quote, “Wednesday or
Thursday” since I had my Tuesday night conference call and Friday would be the traveling day to Ohio. So, Joshua’s response
was, “Cool, Wednesday and Thursday.” And, I then remarked, “And? I mentioned or.” Well, you know Joshua. He really
did mean “And.”
So, on Wednesday, after work, we finally
talked and made a plan for me to come downtown since he didn’t have a rental
for his business trip. We would then find something to do either in downtown or near Barb. You see, we were all supposed
to hang out. But Barb developed strep throat. And, I couldn’t risk it with the China trip coming up.
So, I start on my way downtown and decide to call Joshua and let him know that I’m on my way. Well, no answer. Where is he?
About half way downtown, I call again
and he’d just returned from a run around McCormick Place and MLK Drive.
thinking ‘he’s brave’, because we have heard about MLK, right?
So, I get to his hotel, park in the garage,
and go upstairs. I knock, hear movement in the room, see someone
come to the door and
look through the peephole, but the door remains closed. Then, I see light through the peephole. Hmmm, why isn’t he opening
the door? So, just as I’m making the decision to either roll back downstairs or call on my cell, Joshua opens the door and immediately
hugs me. He then tells me to come in and I follow him. Now, at this time, I notice his hair. No more ‘fro, but locks that are
very long. “Wow, more hair than I have!” I thought. So, I come in and grab a chair and we start talking. Somewhere after that
first hour or so passes, we decide that maybe we should actually go out downtown. And, since I have no ideas, Joshua calls Travis.
He suggests Michael Jordan’s so we can watch more of the game. So, we roll out.
Travis meets us at Michael Jordan’s, but
the kitchen is closed and we go to the sports room with all of the big
TV’s. It’s very
crowded, so we’re standing in the back on a staircase. And, somehow I’m in the front so I can see, right? Nope, Joshua and Travis
are behind me talking. Well, now I know that it was all good.
We then leave MJ’s and Travis jumps in
the Tahoe with us to go find something to eat. We end up at a Bennigan’s
on Michigan Ave.
And, it’s getting late, so we take Travis back to his car and we head back to Joshua’s hotel. Upon arriving back to the hotel, Joshua
invites me up, promising to be a perfect gentleman. So, we go upstairs and resume our conversations before the basketball game;
conversations that lasted until about 7:00am!! Now, Joshua’s meeting is at 8:30 or so, and I have a 45 min drive back to the ‘burbs.
So, I napped for 45 minutes and started that trek back home, totally exhausted physically, but excited about such a wonderful evening.
Now, it’s the second day of the date and
I am so sleepy. But Cynji is flying to Chicago so we can drive to
Dayton. And, it’s her
birthday and she wants to go out. So, I let Joshua know that we can either go out before I pickup Cynji or she’ll have to roll
with us. He opts for the latter, since he’s now staying at N’Gai’s home after his day of meetings. So, when Cynji arrives, I give
her the quick scoop on my date the night before. So, she’s hyped about meeting Joshua. As we arrive at N’Gai’s home, she goes to
the door first and sees Joshua come to the door but retreats, as he needs a key to let us in. The look on her face was hilarious,
but I said, “Five minutes.” We then get in and Joshua greets us in his usual fashion, hugs for both. Now, we sit down and I just
want to sleep in that chair, but Cynji insists that we should take her out for her birthday. Well, we keep talking, and, before you
know it, it’s after midnight and really her birthday now. Instead of a club, Cynji now just wants dinner and dessert, so Joshua
starts calling places that may be open. No luck, as it’s Thursday night. Cynji then says that there has to be something opened near my
house and tells Joshua to come with us. Now, here’s the dilemma. I know I’m too tired to go near my house and then come back.
So, Cynji tells Joshua to pack a bag and come with us. Now, what do you say when your girl invites someone to your house
to stay? OK, cool!
So, we drive back to my house, Cynji and
Joshua having an interesting political debate the entire time. I’m
just trying to stay awake
since I have slept no more than an hour straight since Tuesday night! We take Cynji to Steak N’ Shake to get her birthday meal, to
which she was very happy to have someone to celebrate with her. And, then, to my house. Oh, yeah, the house. I had just moved
in two weeks prior, so there were boxes everywhere that still needed to be unpacked. Joshua gets comfortable in my favorite chair,
but Cynji tells him to come upstairs to take the tour. Too messy! But he goes anyway. Not sure what he really saw with all of my
mess, but it didn’t scare him away. Cynji decides to go for my bed and I stay downstairs talking to Joshua. I fall asleep on the floor;
Joshua in the chaise.
The next morning, we’re running late,
but I cook a quick breakfast and we all get ready to roll. Somehow
Joshua failed to mention
his tee time with Travis, and gets back to N’Gai’s house very late. And, Cynji and I are running late because we forgot about the
time change in Ohio. So, we leave Joshua at N’Gai’s after a few extra hugs for me and head to Ohio. Right, a road trip after two
nights of virtually no sleep and a friend who doesn’t drive more than an hour on the highway! Well, the rehearsal and bachelorette
party are a blur, but I think about Joshua the rest of the weekend, wondering when we will see each other again…....