Every "yes" begins with "I don't celebrate my birthday" (Marriage: Episode 1)

At moments like these I wish I had spent a lifetime writing poetry, so I could be adequately prepared to express myself in writing in such a way that all who read would succumb to awe and amazement. I want people to be able to understand exactly what I feel when I think about my fiancee. At the very least, I wish I had the capacity to express my amazement with and adoration of my soon to be wife.  Instead of even attempting such a feat, I am just going to recap our entire relationship until now. But I will do so, one episode at a time.

Episode 1

A little over a year ago Suzanne and I met while participating in a weekly volleyball game organized by friends at our church. We kept out distance physically, but as it turns out we were both keeping a close eye on one another. Eventually Suzanne decided to say something to me other than "set" or "don't touch it, its out." She made her move on my 28th birthday, which happened to fall exactly on volleyball night. In the hall, between games, she meekly said, "Happy birthday Anthony." Being the gentleman I am (1 part wolverine, 1 part Mr. Darcy), I brashly replied, "I don't celebrate my birthday, I celebrate the life resulting from my birth." I do find great amusement in twisting concepts such as the simultaneous expression of my positive appreciation for life with my contempt for celebrating birthdays.

Some time passed and I found myself watching Suzanne more and more during our weekly volleyball game. I never made it a point to try and be on her team. However, I always noticed when we were standing close to each other on the court--even the times when we were on different teams and I had to watch her through the net. We are both fairly cautious people. Hence the reason I did not respond positively to her birthday sentiments, and the reason she didn't say much to me for a while.

And so the silence continued for a few weeks, until my good friend got engaged. Suzanne and I both attended the engagement party, and even sat next to each other most of the night. And, for most of the night, we managed not to talk to each other. We were not avoiding each other. We just kept ourselves busy with other conversations. Luckily, the universe had enough. I don't remember what course of action led to the encounter, but after the party Suzanne and I ended up washing dishes together. It was the hugest pile of dishes I had ever seen. But, as long as there were dirty dishes, I was next to Suzanne. It was the first time in my life I was thankful for dishes more than I was thankful for anything else.

We spent the next 45 minutes or so catching up on all the talking we hadn't been doing. I don't remember what we talked about at all. I only remember that by the end of the conversation I was ready to throw ten more parties just so the dirty dishes wouldn't end. But like any good love story, the line of dirty dishes did end, and we said goodbye.

I don't remember how long it was until the wedding, but that was the next time I got to spend any time with Suzanne. On May 1st, 2009 I attended my friend's wedding in Orlando. A few people from church were there also and we all decided that we would spend the evening hanging out at the boardwalk resort in Disney world for the duration of the evening. Some other friends from church were at the Orlando temple that day and we all met up in time for dinner. Among those attending the temple was Suzanne.

We went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. I was hoping to sit next to Suzanne, but I didn't want to make it too obvious yet. I just wanted to be close enough to observe her, but I didn't want to blow my cover by verbalizing my desire to sit next to her. I ended up eating dinner at the opposite end of a table with about 10 people at it.

Although sitting so far away from Suzanne was disappointing, something unexpected happened. At some point during dinner, people were up and walking around to talk to each other. I did not notice it happen, but I look over, and sitting directly on my left was Suzanne. I think I spoke, but I am sure my smile was so large that it impeded my ability to pronounce anything correctly. For example, I may have made an attempt to inquire about her day at the temple. But, I am sure that all she would have heard was "owa wah oooo tay a ta tepple?" What ever I said, it worked, because that night ended up being a significant turning point in our relationship.

To be continued.