This can't be a coincidence, she thought. The odds are just too great. She stared at the steeple of the church. She had gone her entire life and never experienced anything like the power of God, certainly not in this place. There were times when she felt bored or restless or sad. But she had never felt religious. This is just a weird coincidence, she thought. They happen. Doesn't mean that it has anything to it other than just being strange.
As a girl, she prayed many times to the Christ figure in the stained glass. She wanted and needed her faith then. Her parents were divorcing and she felt alone. She prayed every day that God would bring her folks back together. It didn't happen and she was a devout atheist from that point on.
That is, she was an atheist until Neal died. Now she wasn't sure what she believed in, but she was convinced that she needed to believe something. She knew that she had no skills for dealing with loss. Neal had died two years before, but she still grieved for him. If I don't learn how to handle this, it's going to destroy me, she thought.
Now she only had more questions. What could have possibly brought her to this place on this day just when she was looking for larger answers?
There was Joseph. He was the problem all along. She didn't know him, except for the brief talk they had over coffee that one day. There was something electric going on. But she dismissed it. It had been a particularly trying sit where she couldn't get her mind to settle and thoughts of death kept coming to her. I was struggling spiritually, and this good looking man helped me, she thought. Why wouldn't I be attracted to him? Having a crush every now and again is normal. It's not a sign that there's something wrong with me or with Ben. It's just a sign that I'm still breathing.
I don't know anything about him, she thought. She remembered the sit. She knew as soon as she sat down that day that she was going to talk to him afterwards. There's a force that's pulling me to him I don't understand, she thought. He was so calm and peaceful. Several times during the sit, she cracked open her eyes to peek at him. His eyes were closed and his chest lifted up and down so softly, a slight smile on his lips. He epitomized all the things she wanted to be.
Anne knew Joseph had a hard life. She knew that he was poor and just beginning to pull his life back from the brink. But hearing of his trials didn't scare her away. She admired him for his struggles. And she admired his faith and his calm. And she knew they would have sex as soon as possible.
Dammit, she thought. Why aren't you here with me, Ben? Why can't you fucking be around when I need you?
She heard the church door open and saw Joseph walk outside and light up a cigarette. He glanced around as if afraid of getting caught. She hadn't smoked in ten years, but it seemed like a good idea now. Pull yourself together, she thought. You don't have to sleep with him. It's just a little crush. Harmless.
In that moment, she knew she had to choose. If she walked over to him and talked to him, she would very likely fall in love with him. She would be giving up everything. Her house, her relationship, her stability. And she would trade it in for a broke musician with addiction issues. The choice was simple. She walked towards him, cursing herself for her own stupidity the entire way.