Janet really was, and continues to be, a blessing—a completely unexpected twist to this already complicated tale, but a welcome one. We became very close through our e-mails, in some ways closer than I was with Jan. I think so much of that was the lack of pressure. For one thing, our entire relationship was online, so there was no nervousness when we "met" or anything like that; and since we were such a surprise to each other, there were no expectations. It was a nice oasis in this whole mess!
I finished college in December of 2000, and then Jon and I were married in February of 2001. It was hectic and crazy, but it was wonderful. I moved home from Heidelberg, got through Christmas, spent the month of January working on last-minute wedding plans, got married, and went on a fantastic honeymoon. I then had another month of time to move in to Jon's house and get settled before launching my new career as a software engineer. I was on the fast-track to becoming a grown-up! J
Meanwhile, it became quite apparent that I wouldn't hear from Frank. I thought that I would be OK with that—after all, that's what I had decided when I sent my letter in the first place. I would drop it in the mail, and let God and the postal system take over from there. But then the "what ifs" started to pop up… What if he had moved and hadn't gotten the letter? What if it got lost in the mail somewhere? What if we had the wrong guy? What if he wanted to respond but was embarrassed by his role in the whole thing to start with? What if he had gotten the letter but lost it before he could respond???? So many questions!
And so it happened that in April we had a chance to visit some friends of ours in Columbus. Jon, as I said before, had graduated from Ohio State University, and enjoyed going back to his old stompin' grounds. And I love the city of Columbus—it's such a pretty area—and am always up for a weekend trip in that direction. J But this time, it was different. I spent the entire time thinking about Frank.
The area where he lived was very close to the part of the Ohio State campus where Jon had spent most of his time, and he was pretty familiar with the neighborhood. So at the end of the weekend we said good-bye to our friends, but we didn't head north. Instead we drove to the little town where Frank lived… and found his house. It was a small ranch… in a quiet neighborhood… a pick-up truck and a car were in the driveway…
We kept driving. I didn't want to stop—how could I just do that? Out of the blue? Just drop in, unannounced?
Jon's favorite ice cream place from his college days was right in that neighborhood, so we decided to get our minds off of things with a couple of scoops. J My heart was POUNDING, and I couldn't even enjoy my ice cream. I was so distracted… Every man who came in made me wonder: What if that's him??? What if we're sitting right next to each other and don't even know it? The picture I had of him was 20 years old—I had no idea what he might look like anymore. I couldn't focus on anything else.
So we decided: We would go back to Frank's house, and this time we were going to stop and meet him.