A mutual friend introduced us, and while we didn't get a chance to say more than a dozen words to each other during that introduction, I guess I made enough of an impression on her to get her to go out with me. But while our mutual friend got her phone number for me, I didn't call her for several weeks. That was mostly because she spent a week on vacation in San Francisco after our initial meeting, and then I had to get up the nerve to ask her out. But she was quick to say yes once I did ask her.
The following week, I went to her apartment to pick her up. She was prettier than I remembered. Reddish brown hair framed her face, featuring an innocent smile and large hazel eyes. She wore just a touch of makeup, though I don't think she needed it. It was her natural features that I found so inviting. We made small talk, and then I invited her to go to dinner.
It was a rainy evening, so she brought an umbrella. I drove us over to the local Olive Garden, which I thought would make a good first date restaurant. When we arrived, I got out and opened her door. It was raining hard enough that we needed her umbrella, so I opened it as she stepped out of the car. I held the umbrella in my left hand and place my hand in the small of her back as we walked to the door of the restaurant.
It wasn't crowded, so we were able to get a table quickly. Conversation came easy, and I asked her about her trip to San Francisco. She excitedly told me all of the highlights, making sure to emphasize all of the places that she thought would have been more fun had she traveled with someone else. While she had stayed with an old high school friend, she had to work during much of the week, leaving my date to sight see alone. I enjoyed her description of the sites, in particular her stop at Ghirardelli Square, and getting a sundae that was really made for two, vowing to return one day with someone special to share.
The food arrived, and prayed and gave thanks to Him. We enjoyed our meal, eating slowly as we took turns sharing with each other our life stories. She was an only child. I was the oldest of three. She was a high school teacher. I was a cartographer. She grew up in Wheaton. I grew up in Upper Marlboro. We both went to the University of Maryland.
I'd been trying to ignore it, but while we were finding comfort in our sharing, the earlier nervousness I had felt took its toll, and I needed to use the rest room. I excused myself, and soon found myself experiencing a lot of discomfort due to what I'll just call IBS. My stay in the rest room was much longer than I could have anticipated, and I was embarrassed that I wasn't able to quickly take care of business and return to my date. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. After an eternity, I was able to get my composure back, and I returned to the table, and my date. I apologized profusely, and assured her I was fine, though the concern on her face troubled me. We ordered dessert, and continued our conversation.
After the meal, we began to head out. The rain had stopped, so we were able to walk to the car slowly. I opened the car door for her, and helped her in. Then I drove us back to her apartment. She invited me in and we continued to talk about anything and everything. She had turned on the TV, but we didn't watch it. We likely could've talked all night, but we both had church in the morning, and it was late, and I had an almost hour long drive ahead of me.
She walked me to the door, and gave me a warm hug. There was no kiss, but only because I was too nervous to ask for one, and I thought it ungentlemanly to assume that there should be one. I expressed that I wanted to see her again, and she agreed that it would be nice to go out again. I told her I would call her the following evening (and I did). And then I said goodnight.
It was a long drive home, but all I could think about was this wonderful young lady. She was awesome, funny, mature, intelligent, fearless, confident, and beautiful. I thanked God for being with us throughout the evening. He had been preparing us both for this moment, and I knew that it was something special. I was going to marry this woman. She said yes to my marriage proposal less than a year later, and we were married the following Summer. It was blessed relationship, with God at the center, and while it lasted less than five years, it was the happiest time of my life.
Teresa was taken from this life on a beautiful evening while we were walking with our five month old daughter, Melody. Her heart stopped beating and she collapsed right next to me. I had no chance to even say goodbye, though I'm thankful we both said I love yous to each other just a short time earlier. She is now spending eternity with our Lord and Savior. I miss her every day, but I know, one day, we will be together again.
Hug your loved ones, and tell them how much you love them. You can never say it enough.
Have a wonderful evening, everyone.