Sunday, March 8, 2015

Love Letters: The Beginning

I married my college sweetheart. We were one of the few couples from college who made it and there was a time when we both thought it was over. This story is one of love. It started off as your standard passionately toxic, chaotic, rebellious, head-over-heels, “I can’t live without ‘em”, hopelessly romantic love but has evolved into a deeply rooted, maturing, enriching, 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. This will chronicle that journey.

These Love Letters of mine are in dedication to my wife; Samantha Sophia. This will serve as a reminder of how we started, what we have overcome and where we are headed. But there is one main reason for writing this: my wife is both brilliant and absentminded. Her memory is atrocious; like, no joke- really, really bad. I begin to reminisce about a particular time or event and I find her staring at me- both blankly and intensely, as if I’m telling her a fantastical fictional story for the first time. (No, seriously… no recollection whatsoever- UNLESS, I did something wrong; then, in that case, it’s seared in, time stamped and filed in her brain accordingly for reference). It's important to know the entire story, for the sake of context. So, where to start?

For me, the only place worth starting is at the beginning.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

I was a headstrong freshman living on campus at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Sunday was the finale of their Multicultural WOW week (Week of Welcome) for the student that academic year. It had been a week long showcase of different organizations and an excellent way to network and mingle. Now, to even get to when I met my wife, there are particulars that you need to be aware of, to fully appreciate the story.

1. I was a stud. 6’4”, 205lbs athletic built geek who was only slightly aware of his relatively new status (Not a word, Joannie!). See exhibits A & B below:

A. Senior Year of High School 

B. Freshman Year of College 


2. Secondly, I had only been on campus a week and I was already making waves and meeting people, with no intentions of settling down. A girlfriend was not on my radar.

So, the NAACP held a Prayer Service in the old 4 story Marshall Center this Sunday before the first day of classes, which was the next day. Directly after the service, I headed over to Argos, one of the on campus cafeterias where you could indiscriminately abuse your meal plan. I was a loner. I was my own entourage and often dined alone. Most people would see this as less than desirable but that’s because they lack vision. I was free to sit anywhere and with anyone. Arriving alone does not dictate or indicate leaving alone; it’s quite the opposite- but that’s a conversation for another day.

I ended up running into Ms. Moody, a young lady I had met earlier in the week at one of the WOW events. She happened to be with 3 other friends and asked if I wanted to join them at their table. “Why, yes. I’d love to.” So now I am sitting in front of 4 young ladies answer and asking questions as they come. In the middle of my conversation, one of Ms. Moody’s companions decides to break her silence and attempts to “check” me. Clearly, she did not fully fathom who she was dealing with. I quickly answered her quip with one of my own. She was rather taken aback and left speechless. I think I had made an impression. Ms. Samantha Rigby certainly had made an impression on me.

The Week of Welcome was to end that afternoon with a Pool party in the Andros Student complex. Of course I was going, I was having way too much fun. In Florida, during the summer, it’s guaranteed to rain daily. And by rain, I mean isolated thunderstorms. This pool party was the victim to 60% humidity and 98 degree weather. So, image 230 college students standing under a pavilion waiting for the rain to cease. Everyone but me- I used a 48” umbrella as a walking cane. Hey, I was forever the opportunist and conscious of the fact that luck favors the prepared. Since this event was clearly over before it started I informed the masses that I was headed out. Ms. Rigby was there with two friends. I was asked if I would mind walking them home, switch wasn't too far.

I escorted the 2 young ladies and Samantha back to their dorms. The two lived in Eta Hall while Samantha live in Epsilon. It only made sense to bring the other two ladies to their place first, since it was on the way. That left the not so long walk alone for the two of us. We both walked slower than necessary. She felt compelled to mention that I seemed to be the only one to get the memo to bring an umbrella. I brought her under the building’s annex, made sure she wouldn't get wet and asked her for her number. We exchanged digits and it was the beginning of something breathtakingly amazing. I knew I had to see her again.

In the next letter, I’ll tell you how a bag of bread gave me an in for our next meeting.