I moved into the gold nugget, and Joseph moved into the newly acquired RV out back.
I was holding onto Joseph's egg-crate foam mattress thingy and waiting for him to come grab the other end when I noticed a long blond hair. I felt a little woozy.
"Joseph? Did... um... " No, I couldn't ask him that.
He stopped what he was doing. "Sweetheart, what's wrong? Please tell me?"
I paused for an unreasonably long time and finally blurted, "Did Azalea spend the night in your room? In your bed?"
Joseph turned so many shades of red I thought he would be purple before he finished blushing.
When our day was almost done, we took my mexico blanket and laid it under the giant tree in the Hanwell's backyard. That is where Joseph and I processed our pasts, every evening for the next week or two. I had a few emotional connections to guys, and he had... oh, all sorts of connections to girls. We worked through how we felt about it all and let it go a piece at a time.
Kentucky came in one morning and declared that she had stepped on a leaf on the way to class and it was crunchy. That she was convinced it was crunchy because it was the first day of fall. Yesterday she stepped on a leaf and there was no crunch, but today it was fall, and leaves were allowed to crackle.
Glorious fall deepened with pumpkin flavored things, apple cider, and deliciously crisp mountain air.
Joseph and I came through the front yard one afternoon, telling secrets on the way home from class. I looked up and caught my breath.
Eddie Kindle was in the driveway, unloading the last few pieces of firewood from his pickup truck and stacking them on the porch. There was an axe and a chopping block in the yard, indicating that he had been at this for a while.
Genevieve and Rosie were on the porch, looking serene.
I said hi to Eddie, awkwardly, and introduced him to my boyfriend.
After a silent moment or two, Eddie asked Joseph what shoe size he wore and then went to his truck and pulled out a pair of skate shoes (perfectly Joseph's style) and asked if he wanted them. He said they just didn't fit him right, but they were a sturdy brand.
Joseph gratefully accepted the shoes, thanked him, and just like that, Eddie was gone again.
Genevieve and I sat on the couch and she told me of what happened in our absence.
This is what happened, as related to me very recently, in Rosie's own words:
Eddie randomly showed up with a load of wood, and I came downstairs to him chopping it. One of the pieces actually turned out to be an "R" shape which my mum has a picture of.
Anywayz, I had made up my mind to not talk to him about anything. I was just going to sit there and read Velvet Elvis [by Rob Bell].
He came up to me and said that he loved that book and my response was something like, "Hmm."
Then my mum came in and made "What are you doing with your life" small talk. Then she said, "Rosie Grace, is there anything you'd like to say to Eddie?"
Yes. Some examples would be,
"Why aren't you talking to us?"
"Where were you your last semester that was so important that you couldn't visit?"
"Do you know how many people you've hurt?"
"Do you value us at all?"
"Did you ever value us at all?"
"Why are you so bad at being a real person?"
Instead, I replied with a docile, "No, it's okay." ... Total BS.
Mum blinked at me, and she said , "Well, I'll just talk for you."
She proceeded to tell Eddie how I considered him a brother, and how she considered him a son. Then she told him that when he left, my enthusiasm for ministry plummeted. I had figured that if ministry was a source of hurt, I wasn't willing to risk it anymore.
I had eventually come to terms with the risk involved with being in relationship with people, and was willing to give it a try again, but it definitely took time.
During this seemingly eternal explanation, I had started crying. I could see Eddie looking at my mum, then at me. We brought up all the things he had/had not done, and he couldn't remember any of it.
"What about the time I kicked you in the shins?" I demanded.
"I do not recall that", he simply stated.
My mum finally stopped, and we sat in silence. Then, he looked at me.
He said, "There's a Scripture that says something like, 'Better to have a stone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea than to cause a little one to stumble' ... I caused a little one to stumble. I'm so sorry."
Hugs then ensued. Then he cried. I cried. We prayed for him and he started to remember all the things from the past years.
Then he said, "I'll be right back, Rosie, don't leave."
He came back with bright red yarn, and we did a yarning, and I do believe he stayed for dinner.
Before Eddie left, Genevieve snapped a few pictures of Eddie and Rosie. They were silly in one and sweet and somber in the other, but in both of them, Rosie's eyes glistened.
Rosie has been one of my biggest heros since the first night I stumbled out of the cold and into the wood stove warmth of the Hanwell's house. Rosie is legendary. She broke through Eddie's walls just by existing. Well, her precious eyes and a healthy dose of Momma love.
I believe that this restoration for Rosie was a restoration for Eddie, too.
Regardless of whether all was made perfect in this moment or not, one thing is for certain.
This girl will move mountains.