Because my wife makes every moment better

image Six years ago today I stood at the altar, watching as my wife crossed the courtyard toward the church. I remember smiling so much my cheeks hurt; I remember the pride and appreciation I felt knowing I was about to be her husband; and I remember a momentary breeze lifting a strand of hair away from her face, like God’s finger gently brushing it aside as she entered the chapel. As with any rare occasion when we don’t enter a room together, our eyes found each other immediately. So much was said to each other during that long walk to the altar, not in words, but spoken between our two hearts — in a language we had been fluent in from the moment we met…

Oct. 28, 2006:
My search for a red rose after making the hour-long drive to Salem for our first date had put me behind. Coupled with the fact that I hadn’t been on a real date in nearly 20 years, had lost 23 pounds since my divorce several months earlier, and was driving a Plymouth Voyager mini-van, I technically had four strikes against me already. Plus, after several weeks of chatting together on Match.com and long evening phone calls, she had finally posted her profile picture. When I saw it, I realized I wasn’t only in danger of striking out before our date even started:

Heck, I was batting out of my league.

See why I was nervous? Yowza!

See why I was nervous? Wow!

Fortunately for me, her shift at the Wachovia Bank call center was running late as well. This allowed a quick stop in a nearby Denny’s to freshen up before meeting her in the bank parking lot a few blocks away. I literally sprinted inside the restaurant, past the hostess desk and into the restroom carrying a small sack of toiletries: cologne, toothbrush, hair spray, razor, etc. When her text arrived telling me she was clocking out, I scooped everything back into the sack, rushed out the door and jumped into my mini van. I’d like to say I then “sped away,” but as I mentioned, it was a mini van; a slap of the emergency brake and defiant groan from the power steering was about as close to Tokyo drifting as I could get. To this day, I still wonder if the night manager at Denny’s thought I’d planted a bomb in the men’s room.

A few minutes later, I pulled into the Wachovia parking lot and quickly spotted the blue pick-up truck she had asked me to park next to. Killing the engine I took a deep breath. We had talked for more than two hours every night the past few weeks, discussing our single parenting challenges, our families, favorite movies, what we’d learned from our failed marriages, why mayonnaise is superior to Miracle Whip… but would it be the same in person?

Or perhaps more importantly, why didn’t I rent a cooler looking car?!?

My phone vibrated with her latest text:

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Taking another deep breath, I stepped out into the parking lot with my single rose and stood in front of the Voyager. Do I cross my arms? Put one foot up on the bumper? Lean back against the hood? Did it even MATTER since — let’s be honest — there’s no way to look the slightest bit debonaire standing next to a mini van?

I opted for the one-footed lean-back, with one hand holding the rose, and my free hand stuck in my pocket, being careful to avoid nervously playing with the keys in my pocket because it could be misinterpreted as playing with something else. From across the parking lot, I saw two figures exit the front doors of building. One had her head dipped low as she carried a basket of something. The other, a fiery black woman I came to know as Charleta, held her head high as she blatantly scoped me out. I later learned my wife was too nervous to look up, so Charleta did the looking for her.

After sizing me up, my wife said Charleta whispered, “Oh, he is definitely fine for a white guy.”

As they approached, I thought it smart my date had decided not to come unaccompanied into a dark parking lot to meet someone she only knew from phone conversations and emails. I also realized the basket she was carrying was full of…

Red roses.

Was her ex-husband trying to win her back? Who could blame him? Or maybe they were sent by someone else? A different date! Bastard!

As they got closer, my wife glanced up and we met eyes for the very first time. To this day, I can honestly say I have never looked into a more beautiful, warm and enticing pair of eyes. And when she smiled? It was all over for me.

I handed her the rose. “I have to say, I’m feeling a little inadequate right now.”

Handing the basket to Charleta, she took the rose as if it was an entire bouquet and breathed in its fragrance. “This rose means more to me than any of those. They came as a gift from the office. It was my birthday earlier this week, so I was bringing them home for the weekend. But this? This one is special.”

We instinctively reached to hold hands and, when our fingers met, it was like the final two pieces of an unfinished puzzle coming together. A perfect fit crafted just for each other. We were both smiling and couldn’t stop. Something magical was happening and we both knew it. Neither of us remembers exactly when Charleta left because, in that moment, time literally seemed to stop. We were alone. In the parking lot. Possibly even on the planet. As we stood gazing at each other, there were no words because we didn’t need them; our hearts had recognized each other and were speaking for us.

And I knew — absolutely KNEW — I was exactly where I was supposed to be for the first time in my life; this place; this moment; with this woman. Squeezing her hands, I leaned forward and whispered…

Aug. 6, 2008:
You were so worth waiting for.

Smiling, my wife looked up at me as I took her hand, guiding her next to me on the altar. She leaned in and whispered, “It felt like forever until I could get down the aisle to you.”

“I know the feeling,” I whispered back. “Now we are finally where we were always meant to be.”

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From the moment we met — and every moment since — I’ve known my wife was worth the wait.

Happy anniversary, My Love.

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(Thank you, Dear Readers, for allowing me to share the meaning of this day — and my wife — with you. And just so we’re clear, I’m sharing the meaning, not my wife…)

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)

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68 thoughts on “Because my wife makes every moment better

  1. Wow you got me all teary (which is saying a lot since I just wrote a story about a threesome). This is beautiful…such a great story. ❤

    Happy Anniversary, Ned. And by the way, you are pretty fine for a white guy.

  2. Crying here. There’s no story like a FOR REAL love story. Kim and I are so blessed to be living our own version of it, and we have a young friend who’s very recently “met his match” after years of waiting, watching, and searching for her. Life is so damn good sometimes. Especially when the good lasts forever. Love, congratulations, and Happy Anniversary to the two of you!

    • It truly is a gift when you find that one person who you can completely be yourself with, be appreciated for and share life with in a way that you can with no other. I am so happy that you and Kim found each other — and it really is a searching process, with the end result worth the wait.

      Cheers to true love 😉

  3. What a beautiful tribute. You almost, almost, had me in happy tears – but I’m too hard-hearted for that. But, nonetheless, the depth and breadth of your love for each other is palpable in this piece. Happy Anniversary! Here’s to many, many more. Cheers!

  4. Oh Ned, that is such a beautiful story. Your writing brought me there, and it was delightful to wake up to. Happy Anniversary, I am so very happy you have your person.

  5. Hi Ned, it’s been a while. But I had to pop in because I’m a sucker for a good love story. Congratulations to you and your beautiful bride!

    • So great to see you here, Anka, and I know you can appreciate a good love story because you have such a beautiful one. Thank you for stopping in, and for the kind words. I will pass them on to my lovely wife 😉

  6. This is beautiful, Ned. I spent the whole time nodding my head because it reminds me of my own story. Don’t you wish you could convince everyone to wait for the right person instead of enduring painful years with the wrong one? Warm wishes to you and your lovely wife!

    • I, for one, am very happy that you have reason to nod your head, Traci. And I couldn’t agree more that believing in true love and waiting for it to arrive is worth the wait. And my warmest wishes to you and yours as well 😉

  7. Ned, this morning I read a letter from a friend who’s son was awaiting the worst possible diagnosis and wound up with the best possible outcome and then I read this lovely tribute to your better two thirds…God is good. Congrats Ned, not only on your 6th but also for having the tenacity to keep hoping until she turned up in your life. Appreciate the tears, man, I think I needed that. Cheers Red

    • I’m so glad I could be a part of giving you some happy tears, my friend, as well as the great news about your friend’s son. Sometimes God gives us a boost even before we know we need it.

      Cheers to you as well, Red, and thanks for sharing the good news, happy moments and kind words.

  8. Very nice, Ned. Your best date night move was standing next to the minivan. If you were driving a cute car you might have looked less than average, but next to a minivan you probably looked like a cross between Brad Pitt and George Clooney. You could have a future in the lucrative world of romance writing.

    • Hahahaha! Wow, I never even thought of the van making me appear better looking by comparison! If I had driven a Camero or Porsche, I would have been overshadowed. Thank God I didn’t have enough money for a better car or I may not be married today! 😉

  9. I can honestly say THIS blog did not make my colon expand. I am reaching for a tissue right now, though, because the tenderness you express here has always been extremely obvious when you talk about Alicia.. and the few times I have seen her here and on FB, I am jealous of how much she cherishes you.

    You both are blessed.

    And this blog gives me hope. After 22 years of marriage, I may find myself in that same spot you were in. If there are more like Alicia out there, I have even more reason to hope.

  10. What a beautiful tribute to the love of your life. I am typing through tears and am so happy for the two of you. It gives me hope that there is someone out there who will make me feel the same way. Happy anniversary. Your love inspires me.

  11. Oh Ned,
    What a beautiful story. I read it at least three times…and I’m trying to watch pre-season football. There’s no crying in football (unless you’re a Chiefs fan!)

    Seriously though, it made me tear up the whole way through. Happy tears! What a blessing to meet someone and just “know.” Happy Anniversary to you both…I see many happy years and red roses.

  12. Beautiful, not unlike your wife! If a bomb scare at Denny’s is what it takes to find true love, then so be it. I don’t really like Denny’s anyway, or was that not the point of your story?;)
    Seriously, these reflective stories have a way of gripping me where I don’t expect it (that sounds more icky than intended). I hope you had a happy anniversary, or rather I hope (and get the feeling) every day is as special as an anniversary for the two of you!

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