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Romance

It was late fall, and I was outside raking the leaves in front of my parents' house. Dressed in jeans and a tee shirt, with my hair tied back in a messy pony tail, I was not exactly looking my best when the neighbor, who had just recently moved in, approached me.

"Have you got a boyfriend?" He asked.

I looked at him as though he had just landed here from another planet and wondered, why is he asking me this? He just moved in with his wife and kids! I was sure he had better things to do than ask me about my social life!

"Not at the moment," I responded as I continued to rake. Then, my curiosity got the better of me, as I turned to him and asked, "Why?"

"Because I know a lot of really nice guys who are single and I get a lot of pleasure setting people up and seeing them happy. No pressure though. I will tell you, that I have introduced several couples who have ultimately gotten married. I just thought you might be interested."

I looked at the man standing in front of me, a somewhat disheveled red head with a warm smile and thought, what have I got to lose?

I come from a small tightknit community where getting married between the ages of eighteen and twenty is the norm. Anyone who is older and single is to be pitied. I was an old maid at the age of twenty three! Continuously dating from high school through college, with no prospects in sight, I began wondering if Mr. Right was even out there! Maybe I was setting my sights too high. All I wanted was a selfless, caring man, who was intelligent and had a sense of humor. Why was that so difficult to find? I had already spent a small fortune on bridesmaid gowns for the weddings of so many of my girlfriends who had found their Mr. Right!

My neighbor, Morris, had just moved here from Brooklyn. I lived in Queens. Maybe I needed to broaden my horizons!

"Morris," I said quickly, before I changed my mind, "I'm interested." I hated blind dates, but what was the worst thing that could happen? One date, I don't like him, he doesn't like me, we're done! Simple enough. 

Morris asked me what I did for a living. When I told him I was a paralegal, he mentioned that one of the men he had in mind was a lawyer, and his father was a judge. At least we had the law in common. A match made in heaven! Morris then mentioned the name and I decided it sounded nice. If all went well, my name would flow nicely with his. I like to plan ahead!

"Okay, then. I will give Kenny your name and number and I guarantee he'll call you," Morris said over his shoulder as he walked back to his house. I didn't even get a chance to ask what my prospective date looked like. Talk about leaving things to chance!

Two nights later, Kenny called. "Morris gave me your number. So, when are we going out?" 

Uh oh! So much for blind dates! Kenny sounded really obnoxious and that made me very uncomfortable. My initial feeling was to hang up and forget the whole thing, but, I decided to play along and give this a chance. To keep the conversation moving, we talked a little about our jobs. Then, I asked Kenny to describe himself. He told me that he had dark hair and dark eyes and that he was 6' 2 1/2" tall. Not bad. Even though I am a petite 5'3", I had always dated tall men. We agreed to go out the following evening. Kenny was going to pick me up at home and we would be going out to dinner. We said goodbye and hung up. I was so sure this was not going to work out!

The following night I was getting ready for my date, when I heard pounding on the front door. The doorbell hadn't been working for years, as my father was not particularly handy and had yet to call a repairman to fix it. I assumed that Kenny had been standing outside ringing the bell, and when he realized it wasn't working started knocking on the door.

I chose to let my mother answer, as I was putting the final touches on my makeup. Even though my expectations were low, a girl has got to look good!

After a minute or two, my mother came to my room, looked me straight in the eye, not too difficult as she is slightly shorter than me, and with her eastern European accent said, "How tall did he say he was?" Interesting. She didn't mention anything about his looks or that he was polite.

My curiosity was piqued. I left my room with my mother following me to the front door. Imagine my surprise, when I entered the foyer and was standing face to face with my date. He was probably about 5'7", maybe. Don't know what happened to the rest of him, but I didn't say a word.

"Are you ready?" Kenny asked. I nodded in the affirmative as I grabbed my coat and bag and said goodbye to my mother, who had a strange look on her face.....

Surprisingly, I found Kenny to be a true gentleman as he held open the car door for me and waited until I was settled before closing it. He then walked around, and got into the driver's seat. We took off and drove to a restaurant in Manhattan. We talked about ourselves and our work and Kenny appeared to be more interested in listening to what I had to say, than in hearing himself talk. Having dated many professional men, this was indeed a rare treat!

I decided not to bring up the issue about starting relationships off with a lie. I suspect Kenny was waiting for me to at least mention it. The evening had been a pleasant surprise. I decided to look past the little lie. It wasn't until much later in our relationship, that Kenny told me he thought I had a lot of class for not mentioning anything about his little lie!

Kenny and I went on three more dates within the time frame of about nineteen days. We did speak daily, though. Our fourth date took place in the end of December. After a leisurely dinner, Kenny and I decided to take a drive to one of the local parks and we sat in the car talking. It was a very cold night, but somehow I didn't feel cold. I actually felt something I had never felt before. The moon was shining through the window and as I looked at Kenny, I thought, did I finally find my Mr. Right? I wasn't quite sure just yet.

"I want to ask you something," Kenny said, looking suddenly a bit nervous.

"Okay, what is it?" I responded, completely clueless.

"Well, I have a question for you."

"I got that. What's the question?" I asked again.

"I'm not really sure how to say it, but I really need to ask you something."

"Listen, Kenny. You're driving me crazy, so, please ask your question already!" I had a feeling I knew what he was about to say, but since I wasn't completely positive, I wasn't going to let him off the hook that easily.

"Okay, will you marry me?" He said it so quietly, I barely heard the words. I made him repeat himself.

"I said, will you marry me?"

I looked at him for a moment and then gave my response. "Yes!"

I had finally found my Mr. Right! I was officially engaged! I was ecstatic! Never had I felt so lighthearted and happy. Now I had to tell my parents. Uh oh! That was going to be a problem. My mother had still not gotten over the height misunderstanding!

After our beautiful evening, Kenny dropped me off at home. It was late, but as usual, my parents had been waiting up for me. As soon as I entered the house, my father came out to greet me and to make sure that I locked the door. Instead of waiting until morning, which probably would have been the more prudent thing to do, I told my father the good news. He was so excited, he immediately ran to get a calendar so he could check and see what date would be the most desirable for the wedding. I was relieved that at least he was happy about my good news. I then went to check on my mother and see if she was still up. She was. I told her that Kenny had proposed and she wanted to see the ring. There was no ring. Not yet, anyway.

"Well," she said. "Then you are not officially engaged!"

I was upset. I thought that if there was a proposal and an acceptance, the engagement was official, ring or no ring. I knew I was getting one, but as Kenny had explained to me, the ring was being set and as it was the holiday season and he had not ordered it months in advance, there would be a delay. No surprise. We had only known each other about three weeks! 

Kenny proposed without a ring because he said he was too anxious and excited to wait! He is nothing if not impulsive. As I would learn later, Kenny had purchased a diamond after our first date! When I asked why he hadn't proposed at that time, he said he didn't want to rush me!

I did receive a beautiful ring on the new year, which was a week after we got engaged. Six months later, in June, we were married in front of all of our family and friends.

It's been thirty eight years since we got engaged and I look back through the years wondering where all the time has gone. One house, three kids, two dogs, a son-in-law, and one granddaughter with another on the way. We built a family and a loving home. As with all marriages, we have had our ups and downs, our good times and our bad times. We've watched our family grow, and unfortunately we've dealt with crises and tragedy and lost loved ones along the way. 

Through it all, one thing remains the same, our love for each other and the commitment and trust that we have that binds us together always.

Yes, I finally met my Mr. Right!

December 17, 2021 19:32

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