He was talking on his cellphone, clueless of the danger within the beautiful landscape that was now his land. He wore an expensive business suit, along with an expensive haircut and expensive shoes. He had a condemning tone. He was only unattractive to me because he knew how attractive he was.
Here I was searching in my mind for someone to see the woman I held so dear to my heart and honestly the very first instinct I had about the man who would find her, was to slap him.
I was confused. Why was I seeing him? Why was I not seeing some rugged mountain man with a large build and blue eyes like I see on so many romantic novels? This guy was slippery, he was untrustworthy, but something was telling me he was the one. The one for what? I thought. The one to save Zella? No. I have to think of someone else, someone who deserves her, but I couldn’t.
About five years ago I went to New York City to study acting in Manhattan. I took the subway to school and I walked 19th street almost every day. I passed every kind of person in those weeks. It was beautiful to me how we were all weird in our own way. I loved New York City and I still miss it today. I miss the competition, the art, the dreamers, and mostly I miss the spirit of opportunity that any dream was possible.
It was these things that kept me looking and thinking of this businessman standing before my story. I would see businessmen like him in NY on their cell phones, wearing expensive suits, with expensive haircuts, and getting into their expensive black cars (rarely did I ever see them ride the subway.) I could only look at them. They were in a couple social and economic leagues above me. I felt like a kid who played T-ball walking by major league pitchers when they passed me. I would never talk to them, not because I was afraid, but because we were practically from different worlds.
I did however, recognize one thing the men and I had in common, and it was passion. The kind like a bulldog in a fight, once they had decided to fight, they would win.
I knew then it was why I was seeing this New Yorker. If this man could survive the jungle of New York, he just might be smart enough and tenacious enough to find Zella.
When I left New York and went to Texas A&M, I got a side job as a banquet server and waitress. It was there I met and worked with some interesting young men. I call them the Joe’s. I couldn’t stand them at first. They were foul and dirty and they liked being that way. After the long nights of working late shifts, I noticed something about them. Their mean guy act wore off. They would open up to me about their lives. Most of them were intelligent just lacking a bit of wisdom. They were kind when they knew no one was looking and their tough guy acts faded when they discovered they could trust me. I grew to love them. Though they agitated me and I would face palm throughout the workday screaming to myself, “How could they be so… so… so…ugh!” (Starting to get where Joe came from?)
Most of them had divorced parents, distant fathers and though they loved their mothers, they had resentment towards her. They found their identity in how much money they could make and how many girls they could get and ultimately in how much glory they could receive from their peers.
In the month I graduated, a friend of mine gave me a book titled, “Getting More.” By Stuart Diamond. This book was the backbone for Joe’s entrepreneurial moves and negotiation skills. I mixed all these elements together and threw in a little bit of humor, and there he was, Joseph Cameron Daniels.
I couldn’t wait till he hung up the phone. He took one step towards the forest and I thought, “Oh yeah, this is going to be good!”