Another layer of who I am and what I am about, relates to a story that started in May of 1990. I was in attendance at a little soiree at a friend's house. The occasion? The class ahead of me in junior college was graduating, and many of them were friends of mine. There was a pretty good turnout, and a great deal of fun was had by all who attended. As I arrived, I surveyed the scene and saw many friendly faces, and I was excited to see what the night would bring.
I still remember the events of that night vividly. I was having a great time, talking with friends, meeting some people I had not really had a chance to talk to at school. At one point in the evening, fairly early on I believe, I headed out to my car for a minute to grab something. As I was walking back up the driveway, I had a beverage in a large cup in my right hand, and my left hand was empty. For some reason, my palm was out and facing straight ahead of me I was talking to someone off in the distance, looking away from the direction I was walking in.
BOOM! It was right then that I felt it. I had run right into someone........................
Who was it??!? What happened next?!?!? Well, I'll get to that. But, before I go on with more details of this story, you need to know some background. While I was in junior college, I spent a good deal of time in either the game room with the pool table and the foosball table, or the tv room directly across the hall where there were tables, some chairs, a tv and some couches. When standing in the game room, you could see out into the hallway and across into the tv room. I remember the first time I saw her sitting at a table, eating a snickers I believe and drinking a pepsi. This girl had to be an angel!! Long brown hair, beautiful blue eyes, a smile that absolutely lit up the room - she was absolutely beautiful. Was this what love felt like? Maybe to a young 18 year old boy it did. At any rate, throughout that school year, I would see this girl in the tv room and sneak looks at her across the hall whenever I could. But I was shy then, and couldn't get myself to summon the courage to talk to her. I didn't even know what her name was. That entire school year I noticed her and would see her coming and going, wishing I could think of a way to talk to her and get to know her. But the courage never came, and I never did meet her or talk to her.
Now, back to the party. Where was I? If you'll remember, I was walking one way, and looking another, and had just run into someone. When I turned around and looked up, I noticed several things. First, of all the people in all the places that I had to run into in such an embarrassing way, it had to be her. The girl from the tv room at SCI. Right there in front of me. Why me?!?!? How could this happen? The second thing I noticed was the look in her eyes. In a nutshell, loathing and the potential to deck me right then and there were what I saw, along with flames I'm pretty sure. Oh wait! It gets better (or much worse, depending on your perspective). How, you ask? Well, the third thing I noticed was that my empty left hand had unintentionally landed directly on her chest. You could say that gravity simply brought us together. This was, needless to say, not how I'd envisioned our first meeting. In fact, given that she was going away to school in the Fall, this might have been my one and only chance to meet her. I had to think of something clever to say to bail me out of this horrible predicament!! Part of me wanted to turn tail and leave the party and never come back (after removing my hand, of course). But instead, something just sort of popped out of my mouth. Without thinking, and with a look of complete astonishment and feigned annoyance on my face, I turned to her and said, 'How dare you put your chest in my hand!!!' (or something to that effect). I swear those few seconds seemed like hours to me. I waited. I was sure she was going to either knock me out, or walk away and tell everyone about the goofy chest-grabbing pervert at the party. But, by some miracle, I guess she thought it was funny, because a grin broke across her face and we both stood there, laughing. As the night went on, we talked and laughed and got to know each other better. Heck, I even remember a group of us ate at Hardees right after the party. As we were getting ready to leave Hardees, I asked if she had anything to write on. Neither of us did. So she told me to give her my number and she would memorize it and call me. I did, but wasn't feeling too optimistic about the possibility of receiving that phone call. Until the very next day, when the phone rang, and I heard her voice on the other end.
There is much more to the story, but if you hadn't guessed it yet, the girl in the tv room - the one whose first impression of me must have been something like " And just WHY is your hand THERE?!?!?" - that girl was my Leigh. My bride. My other half. My rock. To know her is to love her. She has a way about her that is just pure, almost childlike. In the 22, nearly 23 years since the day I met her, she has opened my eyes to a whole new world of things and a way of looking at the world that wouldn't have been possible without her by my side. She has seen me at my absolute best, and loved me and stuck by me through my very worst, and at my lowest. She takes me as I am, and I can guarantee you that is not always easy to do (hard to believe, right?!?!!?). She is more beautiful to me today than she was the day I met her. Is our marriage perfect? Absolutely not. We struggle, we disagree, we have our moments. But in those moments, we both know that neither of us is giving up on the other. Even when I doubt myself, she refuses to.
Perhaps gravity brought us together. More likely is that God did. I thank God for Leigh every day, and I pray that He will put it on my heart to let her know every day how much I love her.