It was a typical day of errands, running around from point A to point B to point C, ticking things off my list (yes, I’m a list maker), when this sign, hanging from a parked car, caught my eye.
At first, because I only glanced quickly, all I saw was the “Just Married” part. When I did a double take though, I read the rest of the message. “Just Married, 33 Years Ago Today!!!”
Of course, I melted (yes, I’m a romantic). Smiling, I snapped a photo of the sign thinking that the couple must be a couple of romantics too.
For as long as I can remember, it’s been a habit of mine that whenever I meet a couple or a person who mentions her spouse, and the timing is right, I ask how the couple met. (Okay, so I’m a hopeless romantic). Something about hearing the story of how two people met and fell in love always warms me inside. But it’s more than that. Something about watching a person relay his or her love story, moves me deeply.
There’s always the blissful, far away look as the memory comes pouring in. There’s always the little, unforgettable details that make the story unique. And then there’s always my favorite part. It’s the moment when the person snaps out of her reverie, looks me straight in the eye and offers a bit of wisdom or a nugget of hope.
I don’t know why it happens that way every time, but it does.
It happened this way the very next day after I saw the sign. I was mailing a package and the woman behind the counter was warm and friendly. As she processed some paperwork, I couldn’t help but notice the framed photo on the shelf behind her.
It held two photos. On the left was a faded photo of a young bride and groom, smiling from ear to ear. On the right, was a photo of an older couple slow dancing. I recognized the woman immediately. It was the same lady helping me.
“Is that you and your husband?” I asked, pointing to the frame.
She turned and looked at the frame, lighting up instantly. “Yes! Our kids gave it to us as part of our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary present.”
“That’s such a sweet gift.”
“Yes it was,” she continued to smile at the photos. “We’ve been married twenty-seven years now.”
“Wow, congratulations!” Of course I had to ask and so I did. “How did you and your husband meet?”
She launched into the story with the dreamy look I’d grown accustomed to. She told me how all those years ago she walked into a dance hall filled with at least 200 people. From across the room she spotted a young man and something in her stirred. She grabbed her best friend and said, “See that guy over there? I’m going to marry him.”
“You’re crazy,” her friend replied.
“You’ll see,” was her response. Shortly after that, she went over to that young man and introduced herself.
Six months later they were married.
I knew what was coming next.
“That’s how it happens, you know. I tell everyone that. It’s when you least expect it! Someone will just walk in, you’ll lock eyes and that will be that. You’ll just know.”
Before I could respond a man entered the room. It was the man from the photos, her husband. He was smiling and patted her back adoringly as he walked by. It was obvious he had heard our exchange and that I wasn’t the only one who was touched by it.
“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” ~Milan Kundera
Thanks for sending the unexpected messages of love. It’s always nice to see love in the air, love all around. And it’s inspiring to see couples together after so many years, still happy, still smiling, still celebrating their love.