I’d be lying if I said I remember everything about the night Monica and I first met. Truth be told, it is often the case, in my experience, of many an evening punctuated by a stop at Madison's infamous Essen Haus. But there are some things you can’t forget, no matter how many hits from the boot you take. With Monica, it was her eyes.
Not to say everything else about her was anything but unforgettable. Her short, punky hair, her sweet smile, her laugh; she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I did everything I could to monopolize her attention. Stories of secret Northwoods misadventures and water-skiing mixed in with dirty jokes, stupid movie lines and polka. It was one of the best nights of my life.
But it was her eyes that took me. They were exotic, striking, but at the same time warm, open and kind. Monica’s eyes are truly the reflection of her soul. I’d understand this more later. That is why I never stopped looking for her, no matter where my life took me. One way or another, I found myself searching for the feeling I had when I looked into Monica's eyes.
Months passed. Then years. I always kept tabs on Monica, in one way or another. Checked in by email or on Facebook, hoping, with the little convincing that I’d have my moment to make a move. Stupidly enough, I’d find out later, there were plenty of those moments. I’d just been too dense to figure it out.
Fast-forward about six years. In the wake of several failed romances, I’d just about had enough. Maybe I would never find the person I was meant to love forever, and I was fine with that. Or at least I thought I was. On a whim, I reached out one more time. She was still in Madison. She wasn’t seeing anyone (no really, she wasn't). This could be my moment. Like one of those flowers that blooms only after several years of hibernation, could this be the time to show her how I really felt?
After much prodding, and even threatening on Monica’s part (how it came to that point, I still can't figure out) I met her at a bellydance event she’d been spending months putting together. Seeing her again, lit up on the small stage, surrounded by the silhouettes of the crowd, I knew this was the start of something special. She was the one. There was no doubt.
I pulled out all the stops. I was charming. I was confident. I played it perfectly. But looking back on it, I know it wasn’t an act. It was just how I felt when I was with her. It was because of how she made me feel, sexy and smart and fun. And it’s how I feel to this day when I am with her. My life is so much richer with her in it. More adventurous. More interesting. More of what I'd always wanted a shared life to be.
Monica is the love of my life. She makes me feel strong and capable of anything. She doesn’t allow me to feel sorry for myself or belittle myself. She understands me. She forgives my many faults and understands me when I am at my most irrational, which is often. She gives me what I need, when I need it, even when I have nothing to give back. She's my one.
If I couldn’t marry Monica, I wouldn’t marry anyone. It wouldn’t be worth it to pretend to be happy with someone I didn't truly love. Monica makes me happy. I love her more than I could ever say. And I always will.
So if there is one thing I have learned about our journey together, it is this: do not hesitate to make yourself happy. If you have the chance, take it. Go forward, headfirst, with all conviction. You will not regret it and it will make you happier than you ever thought you could be.