I could have titled this, “The Good Guy,” a best friend love story. Or I
could have given it a more interesting title, “The Layered Man ‘Wins’ His Girl.”
I have a difficult time deciding how to give a title and this is a very important
skill, I admire those who do such a wonderful time of catching my attention,
leaving some intrigue to help the reader to finish the story, find the meaning
in the title, too.
Since kindergarten, Justin had always liked Torrie. She was his best friend.
They never wanted to ruin their friendship by “taking it to the next level.”
Justin told me, “We never wanted to ‘go there.'” (No romantic moves were
made throughout all their school years.)
When Torrie came home from college, she had gotten married to a classmate
and chosen to have a Justice of the Peace wedding. From the moment that
Justin ran into them at their small town grocery store, he did not like the
guy at all. In Justin’s opinion, the way the guy looked and acted was like
a “bum.” He was concerned about Torrie’s poor choice in a partner and also,
worried about their relationship. When he went home and talked to his
mother, she told him,
“It is out of your hands, now.”
While they had been teens, Torrie and Justin leaned on each other during
heartbreaks. They had built a bond, but while Torrie had been away, Justin
had chosen to start working at the distribution center. I ran into him,
(almost literally!) while I was learning and wearing a neon training vest,
in heavy bulk. I had learned how to drive the pallet rider, load it with
the different heavy products such as struts and pipes, but was rather
challenged in my backing up skills. To get things to shipping, you literally
had to back into a lane, lower the fork lift and ‘drop’ the products. I
cut corners and had close calls, but one day, while Justin was nearby, I
backed up and hit another loaded pallet. My two different contacts, one
near and the other far, (since I could not adapt to bifocal contacts)
were to blame!
A lot of products got knocked off, along with a hamper of car parts fell.
Justin hurried over, he has the clarity and steely eyed look of Paul
Newman’s eyes. Deep and abiding blue. He had a sympathetic look, helping
reload the pallet, saying not to worry and other very kind things. While
he helped me for almost twenty minutes, he for some reason, shared the
above thoughts about Torrie.
He told me, along with the fact he had lost touch with her, except on
occasion to hear she had two children, was struggling to do her nursing,
along with her raising her girls. These snippets of news came from his
mother and friends who would run into Torrie.
Justin told me when he was straight out of high school, he had enjoyed
the elements of riding around on the equipment, moving pallets full of
incoming products, and wrapping the outgoing products using a wrapping
machine. He was adept with the job, gave a lot of time and attention
to his responsibilities and by 2009, risen to be the shipping clerk.
His next step, recently achieved, was being in 2013, the shipping
supervisor. This payscale jump has helped him with the ‘rest of his
When he told me about finding out about Torrie’s second child’s birth,
his jaw clenched and he said that he had to bite his tongue not to
tell his mother, he didn’t really want to hear anymore about Torrie’s
This was soon changed.
A woman that I work for, may have mentioned somewhere along the way
in my work stories, Debbie, came up to me last week. She works in the
area called, Cycle Count. So, if I am in the pick to light area, and
a product is missing from the bins, I will push a series of buttons
that indicate, “back ordering.” Well, within minutes, this sends what
I call an ‘alarm’ but I am sure it is not accompanied by a sound of
an alarm, but one member who has been there for fifteen years, Debbie
arrives. This is nice, since the next pass down the lane or zone, will
mean I have a filled bin to pick from. This actually helps me with my
‘rate’ or time it takes to go up and down.
Debbie is about five years older than I am, saying that she hopes to
retire in about three more years. I have shown her pictures of my
grandchildren and she has shown me her daughter’s children and
grandchildren. I was particularly glad when she started to tell me
about her granddaughter who is in her late twenties. The daughter
has lovely reddish brown hair, her children all having brown eyes.
Then, her granddaughter has reddish brown hair and bright blue eyes.
Her three great grandchildren all have blue eyes, she showed me
their photos along the way, but had not ever shown the father in
any of her photos. Apparently, in 2011, her granddaughter, Torrie,
got fed up with being a busy nurse, mother and wife with a husband
who was a video game fanatic, rarely keeping a steady job. When he
lost his Pizza Hut delivery job, she decided to make a clean break.
Debbie said that summer, while pushing her daughter of three and
holding her six month old on her hips, she ran into her old and
dear ‘best friend ever,’ Justin. He was being the ‘good guy’ that
he ‘always was’ by taking his niece and nephew to the park. They
were 7 and 9, Debbie told me. They could run and play by themselves
at the park, while he chatted and offered to hold the baby so that
Torrie could put her three year old on her lap to swing together.
I perked up right away, I mean I had only known of two other Torrie’s
in my life!
One had been a sweet actress in my senior high play I directed, “Take
Her, She’s Mine.” The other one, had been a character in a love story
told to me in the summer of 2009, by Justin.
I asked her, “Was this man’s name Justin?”
She said, “Oh, you might know him on the shipping floor since he is
the supervisor. I didn’t realize you may know my granddaughter’s
I asked, “How did it come about, since I thought she was single?”
And that is how she told me about running into each other, at the
Mt. Gilead State Park. How their ‘destinies’ were to become joined
by being each other’s best friends in the beginning and now, were
married. Debbie told me a few more details about her granddaughter
as I tried to continue to fill my orders, she followed me down
my zone. She told me that she had insisted on paying for a ‘big
wedding’ like she had always wanted. That the six month old was
about nine months, held in someone’s arms but the three year old
great granddaughter had been the flower girl and a cousin had
been the ring bearer. They had married in the Spring of 2012 and
have the littlest girl, in 2013. I admired the photograph, now
feeling very connected to their love story.
I could not have imagined when I heard the beginning of their love
story, told me by the considerate, sincere and quiet Justin in 2009,
that I would be hearing a happy ending.
This ‘happily ever after’ shone strongly in the faces of each member
of this family, like a shining beacon.
Debbie’s family portrait held the strongly bound lives of three
sisters, a loving mother, Torrie and father (stepfather), Justin.