Then I graduated high school, and to be honest, never gave her a second thought. I started taking courses in mathematics at the local state university. The following spring (or was it summer) a friend of mine that I didn't like very much convinced me to start attending the youth bible study at his non-denominational, evangelical congregation. There I ran into the future Mrs. Upstairs once again. For the next two years, she and I would talk and laugh as we met each other here and there at the sorts of social events that youth groups do. But the relationship remained mostly shallow.
Then I got married. (A story for another time.) Somehow the future Mrs. Upstairs ended up running with the same crowd my wife and I did far more extensively once we were hitched. She'd come over to our house for dinner. We'd go to music festivals together. Bit by bit, I started to get to know her as a person rather than as a friendly but static face in a crowd.
When I started my first real job, we paid her to be our nanny for a bit. She went to Seattle for school and then came back from Seattle. She shared our spare bedroom with two other young single women for six months to a year or so. Then we lost track of her again. Either our nuclear family or her moved down to Cincinnati first. (I can't remember which.) But contact was rather limited to non-existent.
And somehow, I don't recall exactly, we found each other again right when she was going through a very rough time. The family that we'd been sharing out house with had just moved out so we had a bedroom with an attached room for an office that we could offer her for a nominal rent. Once again we began sharing dinner with her, hearing her stories, telling her ours. Over time she began attending Church services with us and there it was that she met the future Mr. Upstairs.
When we bought a duplex, she took over the entire 2 bedroom upstairs unit. (Hence the nickname.) We watched her as she returned to school part time and struggled most of the way through a degree in fine arts while working full time. We shared her worries. We shared her triumphs. We watched her relationship with the future Mr. Upstairs blossom from that awkward `he likes me, he doesn't like me' stage into their wedding day and they became Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs.
From that point on we didn't see Mrs. Upstairs so much. It seems that newlyweds tend to do, uh, newlywed things. Every now and then, we'd manage to get them downstairs to eat dinner dinner with us, but they were both exceedingly busy. Mr. Upstairs was working part-time and working on his MS in bioinformatics while she was working full time and going to school part-time. Between the two, there wasn't a whole lot of time left over.
But that Mrs. Upstairs quit her job. The stress levels at working at a completely dysfunctional organization had finally stretched her to the point where she quit for her own sanity. This, of course, motivated Mr. Upstairs to look for full time work in the IT field a bit sooner than he had planned. (He'd finished his coursework, but not his master's thesis.) And so it came that he started to bring in job offers from all over the US. The one he settled on is in Northern Virginia.
And so, Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs will be moving at the tail end of this week. They are embarking on a grand adventure and, like most sane people, will be happy to escape from Ohio. While Mrs. Upstairs does plan to return in September to finish her last quarter of school, things won't be the same ever again. I wish them well on their journey and I hope that we can stay in touch for although the miles may separate us, Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs will always remain close to our hearts. They are good friends, indeed.
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