Friday, February 28, 2014

The Beginning

I hunched over my laptop, words appearing on the screen almost as quickly as I could think.

I met someone fantastic, I told her, not even caring to hide my ebullience.   

Despite the flight to Heathrow, subsequent tube ride, and a switch to the train at Wimbledon, I wasn't tired.  The full day of traveling had only given me more time to relive the past week, and I was desperate to email my best friend back home.   Saying goodnight to Cheryl, my traveling partner and flatmate, I headed straight to my bedroom, sat on the downy cloud of my comforter, and began writing.

I told her everything.

How I only met him because Cheryl wanted to take the English-speaking guided tour of the Colosseum, something I would never have suggested.   

How he and his friends got lost on their way to meet us later that night, and how he was convinced he would never see me again.

How he was sure his friends were playing a joke on him the next morning when the bellhop rushed to the elevator shouting, "Signore, Signore! I have a message for you!"   

How we spent our first date walking the city streets of Rome, hand in hand.  

How he was smart and funny and Christian and cute and seemed to be a really good guy.  Maybe even THE guy.

As I poured every detail of this unbelievable story into an email that night, the phone rang in my little flat in South West London.

My future husband was calling me.

It had been a dusty, tiring, 24 hour day in the jet, but he was finally back in his hotel room, and he couldn't wait one more minute to hear my voice.

On the other end of the line, I felt exactly the same.

Eleven years on, we are still stunned by our own magical story: Two strangers meet in the most romantic city in the world, experience twists and turns that leave each thinking they had lost the other, but ultimately finding they were meant to be together.

It was spectacular a display of Divine orchestration, to be sure, and we have always celebrated it as such.

More recently, though, I have come to see that our paths joining, rather than merely intersecting over some giddy week in Rome, is equally as stunning.      

Our true beginning, I now realize, was not the moment we laid eyes on each other.  It was the night the man who would become my husband picked up a phone in Italy. Not knowing when he could see me again, much less when we would even be in the same country, he punched in my number and waited for me to pick up.

That night, he became the hero of our story, a role he has proved he deserves, over and over again.

I met someone fantastic, I told her.  

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