You probably heard the story a thousand times. You probably heard my wife’s version of the story. This is my version. I remember the year 2003. A year I finally gave up on love. I came off all dating sites and decided that it was useless to chase after love. I decided once and for all that I won’t be looking for love. I took love off my radar. I came to the conclusion that I just wasn’t good at relationships. Somehow, I never seem to accomplish happy endings. Without the pressures of dating, I felt like I could be my true self and enjoy the single life.
I was in my final semester of getting my Bachelor of Science degree. My plans were to get my degree and head back to Grenada, the island of my birth. The day was May 23 and I was heading to the Irving Mall. I had my windows in my car up and the radio was playing some of my favorite songs. I was singing at the top of my voice to “Can’t Let You Go” by Fabulous. Not only was I singing, but I was bumping my head back and forth to the rhythm. As I pulled into the parking lot of the mall, I look to the side of the car that pulled up next to me. I saw a woman in the driver’s seat and three young boys. They were laughing at me. I felt embarrassed. Who in their right mind would be singing and dancing in their car? Only a fool like me, I thought. I got out of my car and started to walk to the mall’s entrance. Then I looked back and there she was walking with the boys behind me. I had my first intense look at her. I saw her peace. I saw her eyes. I saw her nurse outfit. I saw her flawless makeup. Then I saw my entire generation, past and present moving in my direction. She was looking in my direction. A voice inside of me said that I should talk to her but I walked faster away from her. I was bent on keeping my promise of not looking for love.
I went into Barnes and Nobles and I suspected that they went into the movies. I sat down on a table to read my books and I couldn’t get her out of my head. I cursed myself for not introducing myself. What if I never see her again? I thought to myself. Then an idea struck me. I got up and left the store. I headed to the parking lot praying that her car was still parked next to mines. And there it was. I took out a page from my notepad and wrote on it. “Hi, if you are the nurse who was laughing at the guy who was singing in his car, I will like to speak to you.” I left my phone number. I stuck the note between her car wiper blades and drove back to my apartment and waited long agonizing hours. Then my phone rang and it was a stranger’s voice, It was her. She saw my note. She thought she had received a police ticket and was relieved when she read it. She thought it was cute, so she called. It turned out we were neighbors and lived a block from each other.
We agreed to meet for a drink at On The Border Restaurant. We were at the table and her son accidentally spilled a jug of cold water into my lap. I kept my calm. I shook the water off and asked the waiter for another table. After dinner, we met for a moonlight walk in our neighborhood. I asked her about 50 questions and she answered them all. And then I did something stupid. I told her I was going to marry her. She didn’t answer, but she disappeared.
I believe in love at first sight. I also believe that a lot of errors came with that belief, but I felt that I was right this time just like the other times I misjudged it. Three days had passed and I didn’t hear from her. I left numerous messages and she didn’t return my calls. I was in stalker mode and I felt bad and stupid at the same time. I cursed myself for saying I was going o marry this stranger. It sounded as bad as if I had said that I was going to eat her for dinner.
On the 26th of May, her birthday, I found an excuse to visit her home unannounced. I bought a bottle of champagne, Orchid flowers, and a cake. I knocked on her door. She wouldn’t answer. At the pleading of her son, who was more interested in the cake, she opened the door. I had one last chance to prove that I wasn’t a psycho.
The things I learned about marriage is that it is a commitment. People change over time and it takes patience in addition to the commitment to journey through the changes. People need their space even in marriage. We are totally different and that’s OK. But the most important thing I learned is that we are connected in spirit, mind, body, and soul and that’s sacred and it is worth committing to.
I remember lying sick in bed. It was about a month, I believe in our relationship. She came to visit me. I told her that I wanted to talk to her. She thought I was breaking up with her. I thanked her for being with me in health and in sickness. The conversation sounded Shakespearean with a touch of Hallmark but at the end, I asked her to marry me. She said, “Yes.”
Fifteens years later, here we are still married and still committed to each other and raising our family and building our legacy. God has been good to us. The story of us.