She wasn’t supposed to make me smile like she did. I want to be clear about that up front, because after about a year of emails and instant message exchanges, I had gotten pretty accustomed to rejection and plans falling through, so my expectations when she finally agreed to a dinner date were low. Truth be told, she had perfected the “playing hard to get game” and I was about ready to give up. Looking back now though, in her defense, she had every right and reason to say no. It frustrated the hell out of me and maybe subliminally intrigued me more than ever, but logistically we made no sense being that I was currently living in Shanghai, China and she was in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nevertheless, my persistence paid off and we finally met up when I was in town for a quick spring trip stateside.
I remember thinking she was pretty right off the bat. While a bit reserved, if she was nervous, I never would have known. She carried herself with confidence and there was an ease about her I was immediately drawn to. I could tell early on she was strong, smart, and wasn’t about to put up with any bullshit. Her green eyes suckered me in but it was her smile that melted me. For a guy who had been single for a long time and enjoyed his bachelor status, in that moment, I knew those days were officially done and we hadn’t even ordered a first round of beverages or appetizers yet. To be honest, I don’t remember the details of everything we chatted about, but I knew I didn’t want to give her any reason to leave early. The sushi was fantastic (how can you not like a girl who loves sushi?), the beer was cold, the conversation strong and yet I blinked and it was closing time. We ended up seeing a movie after dinner, albeit a Disney movie. If you know me, I’m not so much a Disney guy, but I toughed it out and smiled through the cinematic pain. I didn’t want to be anywhere else, even if it meant two hours of cheesy songs and animation. Walking her to her car, I finally got a kiss and a phone number (like I said, she played hard to get) and a promise of a second date. We’ve been together ever since and will be married May 18, 2019.
Like any couple, we bicker, disagree, squabble, annoy and get frustrated with each other, but I know she has my back and I have hers. I’m far from perfect and make my share of mistakes, but she pushes me to be better, helps me appreciate the little things, reminds me to breathe and smile everyday. Needless to say, if you have someone who believes in you and sees potential in you that you don’t even see in yourself, you truly have everything. Without question, she’s my best friend and the most important person in my life. I am in awe of her toughness, kindness, stubbornness, how she’s adopted my family as her own, holds my hand when I doubt myself, makes me laugh, lets me cry, dances with me in public (although she hates it), listens to me whine, puts up with my humor, nurses my wounds, and believes in me unconditionally. I truly don’t know where I’d be without her and can’t wait to see where life takes us. To be given the gift of a beautiful human, beautiful both inside and out, is an amazing thing and was beyond worth the wait. Calling myself a lucky man is an understatement and I’m so proud to be her partner in life.
I love you, Em. Thank you for you. I truly am a lucky man.