Love at first sight does exist. I know, because it happened to me. This is the true story of how I met my wife.
It was late June of 1987. I was enjoying the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. The day started out normally enough. I went to my job at the golf course, where I worked as a landscaper. I worked from 5 am until about noon, cutting grass. I then went home, ate lunch, and then went to the gym. I trained for about an hour or so, then went to get something to eat. After that, I came home, washed my truck, and went in to take a shower to get ready to go out.
My friends and I always met at the Valley Hills Mall, which, back in the 80’s, was THE place to be in Hickory, North Carolina on Friday and Saturday nights. The people around town referred to teens like us as “mall rats” – the kids that were always hanging around the mall on weekends. There were plenty of us. On a few occasions, management had tried to get rid of us. Their attempts were futile. Truth be told, they realized that without the teens, the mall would die, just like another mall across town did when they ran off the teens a few years earlier. So they eventually gave up and let us stay. And, in a small town without a lot of things to do, it was a nice place to go for the good kids who stayed out of trouble.
We would always meet at our favorite spot at the mall – either the video arcade or the area directly in front of it. That’s where I first saw her – the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life. That evening, I hopped in my 1976 Dodge Adventurer pickup truck, turned on the radio, and drove to the mall. I was supposed to meet my best friend there.
I parked my truck and walked to the entrance nearest the video arcade. Normally, my friends would already be in the arcade. However, this time, when I walked into the mall, I saw my best friend standing near the pay phones across from the video arcade, talking to two very attractive young ladies. He was in summer school, as he had failed a course during his junior year that he needed to make up before his senior year. As it turns out, he had met one of these young ladies in summer school.
I walked over to them, and one of the young ladies saw me approach, so she looked over at me. My best friend then looked up and saw me. I said hello to him and he introduced me to the two young ladies. The first one was the one my friend had his eye on. They had met in summer school, and had been talking to each other all week. She had long, dirty blonde hair and brown eyes. She was very slim, only about 90 pounds. She was a very attractive young lady.
When I met her friend, however, it forever changed my life from that moment on. Her friend was 5’3, with a slim, athletic build. She had a very dark tan, dark brown, curly hair, and the brightest and prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen. Her light, bright eyes contrasted against her dark tan. Her lips were full and luscious. I don’t know why, but everything about her was amazing. The way she stood, the way she talked, the way she looked around at other people in the mall, everything about her was wonderful. I couldn’t believe that there was a human being so beautiful, so perfect, so lovely. I was immediately smitten with her from the first time I laid eyes on her.
“Hi, my name is Derek,” I said, “What’s yours?” as I offered her my hand.
“Dawn,” she replied, “nice to meet you,” she said, as she gently shook my hand.
We stood there in that spot for a few minutes, just talking and getting to know each other for a bit. Then, one of the girls wanted to walk around the mall. So we started walking and talking. The more I listened to her, the more I wanted to hear. The words from her mouth were so sweet; like drops of honey to my ears. Her voice was beautiful. Every glance, every smile, every look from her were more treasured than anything I had ever received in my life. I was hoping that she liked me at least half as much as I liked her, because it was already starting to hit me that this was my soulmate. It was truly love at first sight.
Soon, we came back around to the arcade. There was an ice cream shop just across from the arcade. Dawn suggested that we get some ice cream. She got a double cone of strawberry. As she started to eat it, she offered me some. I knew then that she must like me, because no teen girl is going to let a guy eat from her ice cream cone if she isn’t really into him. This made me feel a lot more comfortable and happy.
We walked around the mall and talked for another hour or so, until the mall was getting ready to close. As it turned out, Dawn and Pam had come to the mall from across the road, where her mom and the rest of her family were bowling. Dawn said that they needed to go back to the bowling alley to meet up with her family.
I couldn’t let those beautiful young ladies walk away just yet, as the night was still young. Besides, it wasn’t safe for these two gorgeous young ladies to walk across a 4 lane highway to the bowling alley. We gentlemen should give them a ride (and join them!) So I suggested that we all pile in my best friend’s car and ride to the bowling alley together. The girls liked this idea, so that is what we did.
When we got to the bowling alley, Dawn introduced me to her family. I saw where she got her looks from, as her mom was beautiful as well. After meeting Dawn’s family, her mother suggested that the four of us get a lane and bowl together, as her family was still going to be there for a while. So, we got our shoes and a lane, and Dawn and I bowled as a team, competing with my best friend and his new love interest.
We bowled several games, and Dawn and I won them all. We hit it off very well and were getting along great. I was having the time of my life.
Too soon, however, it was time for her to go home with her family. So we walked them out to the cars. I stood there, my heart pounding hard in my chest, as I tried to figure out what to say. It seemed to go well for me. We said our goodbyes and I went back to my best friend’s car.
When I got in his car, he said, “That looked like it went well for you.”
I said, “Yeah, it did. Man, she is beautiful. I really like this one.”
“Good job, bro. You got her number, didn’t you?” he asked.
“DAMN!!!” I said. In my nervousness and awkwardness, I had forgotten to get her number. “I can’t believe I forgot to get her number!” I said, in disbelief.
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll get it from Pam on Monday in summer school,” he said.
Sure enough, on Monday, my best friend called me on the phone. He gave me her number. I immediately called her and we started talking. Soon afterwards, we started dating, then soon after that, we were dating each other exclusively.
We dated for the next several months, and I was in heaven. Just before school started back, I went to the beach with my best friend and his family, and Dawn went to the beach with her best friend’s family. We got to spend a lot of good quality time together while we were there, and our relationship and attraction to each other grew stronger.
A few months later, however, Dawn became afraid because of how serious we were becoming. She ran from me and I pursued hard. We broke up, and my entire world was shattered. Thankfully, I am a very strong person and have never been suicidal, because if I were, that would have probably put me over the edge. For the next three years or so, I prayed to God every night that He would help us get back together. I had no interest in dating anyone else, even though several young ladies had expressed interest in dating me. As a Christian, I had faith that my prayers would be answered, and I did not think it would be fair to any other young ladies if I were to date them while I was still in love with Dawn. Sadly, at that time, my prayers were not yet answered. A couple of years later, I had received word that Dawn had gotten married to someone else. I was devastated. For all I knew, she might stay married to this guy for the rest of her life. I might not ever get her back. What does a man do when he has lost his one and only true love? I didn’t know. Reluctantly, five years later, I began dating again.
Then, twenty three years after we had first met, I had just gotten divorced, and so had Dawn. I saw her on Facebook. I sent her a friend request. In the years since I had last seen her, I had moved from North Carolina to Arizona to go to graduate school. I was all the way across the country from her. Soon, we were talking again, but this time, we were only talking as friends. Soon, however, our talks became more frequent, and our friendship began to deepen.
One night I was sitting on the tailgate of my pickup truck out in the Arizona desert, looking up at the beautiful night sky, and talking to Dawn on my cell phone. I told her that I wanted to ask her something. She asked me what it was.
“Have you ever thought about us getting back together?” I asked her.
“Heck YES!” was her every enthusiastic answer. She then said, “But I figured after what I did to you the first time, you wouldn’t want any part of it again,” she said.
“I forgave you for that a long time ago,” I replied to her.
A few nights later, it was 8 pm in Arizona, but 11 pm in North Carolina, and I was going into an evening seminar for work. I knew she was already in bed by then, but I sent her the following text: “I love you.”
The next morning, the greatest thing ever happened to me. I immediately picked up my phone as soon as I woke up. I eagerly checked my text messages. There it was: A text from Dawn. “I love you too!” That made my day!!! Shortly afterwards, I asked her to marry me. I flew back across the country and visited her. I ran up to her in the airport and we embraced and kissed for what had to be at least ten minutes. She drove me back to her mom’s house, and we surprised her brothers by my visit. Both of them had come back into town to visit their mom, but they had no idea that Dawn and I were back together. We then announced to her family that we were getting married.
After this short trip back home, I went back to Arizona to settle my affairs out there and get my things, before moving back to North Carolina. We were married at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the same beach where we had spent time together that first summer when we dated.
We have been extremely happy and in love ever since, and this year was our eighth wedding anniversary. I thank God for love and for restoring our love that was once lost.
If anyone reading this is wondering if “love at first sight” is a real thing, I can assure you with all certainty that it is. If you are one of those people who is still wondering, I pray that you experience it yourself, and that you and your soulmate will be as happy and Dawn and I are.