“One teaspoon of Guanaco blood contains about 68 million red blood cells.” Sean sat next to me on my colorful handmade blanket. “It’s how they survive the low oxygen levels found at these high altitudes… that’s more than four times the amount we have.”
I just stared at the fire. It was the only day of rest on our six week wilderness trek through Peru and Bolivia. Three weeks into the trip and three weeks of being pursued by this handsome Irishman. I wasn’t interested in him but he wasn’t getting the message.
“It’s the mid-point of our Wilderness trek. Less than a month and we’ve: hiked in the Andes, explored reed islands of Lake Titicaca, slept under the stars of the Southern Hemisphere, walked through the cloud forest on pre-Columbian trails, passed through hidden valleys, and met the locals. What’re you planning for today?” His lilting accent fit his cheerful personality.
“It’s a rest day. I’m going to rest.” I hated that my voice was snippy. I moved away and tossed a stick on the fire.
“Some of us are going to the hot springs later. Want to come?” I winced at the optimistic hope in his voice.
“I’ll see.” I stood and returned to my tent. Lying on my stomach I opened my Bible. My journal was more than two-thirds filled from all my thoughts of the last three weeks. I came on this trip to get away from stuff, from myself, even from God. It didn’t accomplish what I planned. Instead I ran straight into His arms. And fell in love. My Bible had become my love letter from Him and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I woke and sat up. I’d dozed off with my face mashed into the pages of my Bible. I ran a brush through my hair and straightened my shirt. A glance at my watch showed that an hour had passed. A couple of people were sitting by the fire as I stepped out of my tent.
Sean loped toward me with two sandwiches in his hands and a couple of water bottles tucked under his arm. That Irishman was the most stubborn person I’d ever met. Mom would be appalled at how I’d treated the guy, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Now, more than ever, I didn’t want to get involved with anything that wouldn’t please my Heavenly Daddy. No way did He want me to be involved with someone who didn’t love Him, too. Sean was kind, intelligent and drop-dead gorgeous, but I had never seen him read a Bible or speak about God.
I took the sandwich and squared off for a firm and final confrontation. “Thanks, Sean. You’re a nice guy, but I need to tell you something. I’m not interested in a relationship with you.” A herd of alpacas, or maybe vicunas, grazed on a nearby hill. “I love my God. He doesn’t take second place in my life for anyone.” I shifted my eyes back to meet his baby blues. A breeze lifted one of his blond curls and dropped it across his forehead.
His grin crinkled the corner of his eyes. I sighed in frustration. He had the nerve to chuckle. “I have no desire to take His place. That’s why I can’t stay away from you. I see your love for Him and it draws me.”
I felt silly when I realized that my jaw had actually dropped open. Didn’t that only happen in sappy love stories?
“I wouldn’t be interested in you if you weren’t His.”
I had to know for sure. “You’re a Christian?
“Yes. You didn’t know?” His lifted eyebrows made wrinkles near his hairline.
“How would I know? I’ve never seen you with a Bible or heard you talk about God.” My hands gripped the sandwich and bottle and settled on my hips.
“Don’t get scrappy, you’re smashing your sandwich.” His tanned hands rested on his slender hips as he mocked my stance. “Think about it. I’m up long before you… and you never hang out with me. How would you know what I talk about?”
I felt the blood rush to my face. “I’ve been awful to you.” Tears blurred my vision.
“I hadn’t noticed.” A saucy wink made me smile. “I noticed some Andean Flamingos at the lake. Want to get some pictures?”
I looked down at my flattened sandwich. “I’ll grab my camera.” I knew I would need that second journal I brought.
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