Nine years ago, I worked for IBM in the Marietta call center. Because there were so many people it's understood that most work relationships are limited to a passing "hello", "good morning" or "good night". Such was the case with myself and a woman named Ronna.
Our first conversation would come one afternoon in the lunch room. When I walked in I noticed all of the tables were empty, littered with crumbs and marred with grease. She was wiping off one of the tables with a dry paper towel. Naturally, I walked over to the table and said, "You mind if I sit with you? All of the other tables are dirty." She smiled and said, "No, help yourself." This was the closest we had been in proximity, so, for the first time I noticed she had the deepest dimples I had ever seen on an adult woman. We made small talk initially. She asked where I was from and if I was single. I told her Maryland, and yes I was single at the time. She then said, "I would imagine it's pretty difficult to find someone to settle down with here. Atlanta's such a single person's city." Those words rang in my ears and resonated in my spirit. I agreed and quickly segued to the topic of her wedding anniversary.
Ronna's thirty second anniversary was approaching the following week. There was a lot of buzz about it in the office in the weeks leading up to it. I finally had the chance to understand why she was so giddy especially after so many years. I asked her that day at the lunch table how she and her husband met. She told me they met in college as freshmen.
"How long did you date before you married," I asked. She replied, "One year." I couldn't believe she was married in her second year of college. 'Who does that?' I thought. "How did you know it would last this long?" I asked. Instantly, I rethought the question because she had no way of knowing it would last. I asked, "How did you know he was ready or that he wouldn't meet someone else on campus that interested him." She replied simply and calmly, "Because he took me home to meet his mother, and he asked me to marry him." I could do nothing but smile.
She continued, "He isn't perfect,...but neither am I because the world in which we live isn't, so, I can't expect my marriage to be. We do things together, but I also encourage him to take trips on his own because it's ok to have different interests." She ended by saying, "He's funny, he's kind, he's good to people, he's brilliant, and overall he's a good man." She was glowing while I was smiling. I hoped I too could one day be that happy with someone.
It's amazing how we "store" memories of things that seem insignificant when they occur only to recover them when we need them most...
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