It’s 2011 and my single-life ploy isn’t quite what I thought it would be. I was struggling to find myself after spending most of my teenage life in an abusive relationship. I practiced celibacy until I figured out exactly what and/or who I wanted because I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to be. I was enrolling back in school by day and drinking bottles of moscato to soothe the anxiety by night.
Then I did it. I sent a Facebook message to an old friend.
“Hi, do you remember me? I’m *such and such* daughter.” “I thought that was you” was his response and it caught me completely off guard. The last time we spoke, I was the ten-year-old girl bossing the other kids around as we delegated everyone’s role for House, but now I was twenty-two in someone’s inbox trying not to seem like a groupie. We talked nonstop and even took it Twitter after he introduced it to me. That’s right – it went down in the DM. It was the kind of friendship where you both have feelings for each other but are scared shitless and have a fear of rejection so it never truly goes anywhere. However, it had been a while and we had some catching up to do. We wanted to know each other’s likes, dislikes, goals and dreams so we started digging deeper. We laughed constantly – mostly at each other but always with each other. From morning texts to little gifts of endearment, we began to develop into something that we were still too scared to acknowledge. Feelings that I wasn’t quite sure I was ready for began to grow so I backed off.
“I care a little too much and I’m not sure if I’m prepared for these kinds of feelings.”
The conversations went from everyday to every other day to once a week until it became just whenever I got the time. Life continued but the emptiness was still there. Fast forward to a few months later, it’s the beginning of 2012 and he texts me, “I’m ditching school for you so…” He was coming into town and I couldn’t wait to finally link up in person. I made my way to where he was and just as I pulled up, he was pulling out. “Yo, where are you going?” I yelled as I stared at him in the passenger seat of a white car making a u-turn from behind me. That was the first time we’ve ever hugged each other but the amount of kisses I placed all over his face, you wouldn’t have been able to tell. I purposely avoided his lips because I wasn’t going to make any moves to bring forth any unwanted affection but with his hands clenching my lower back, we were definitely something way more than friends. We stood outside talking for hours. Although I couldn’t stay, I damn sure didn’t want to leave. I hugged him and told him I’d return tomorrow. I drove an hour and 35 minutes back home, letting him know I made it in safely before I went to sleep. I awoke to a text. “I think you’re gorgeous and I want you to have everything you deserve…if I was here I’d definitely chase you.” I smiled and responded, “Wow, I’m speechless but just know if you were here you wouldn’t have to chase me.”
Just like that, we confirmed that it was deeper than Facebook messages, Twitter DMs, and even friendship.
As promised, I returned but this time there was no need for sudden departure. Day turned into night while we carelessly drank, mingled, joked and carried on as if nothing was ever said. Then someone broke the ice. “So you’re gonna be together or what?” The question shot at us like a bag of darts. Both puzzled and slightly embarrassed, we scrambled to find the words to say. “We’re just friends” felt like the safest response. We continued our night, which ended in us taking pictures. After only three snaps, we already had someone capturing a kiss as if we were celebrating an anniversary. “My friends don’t kiss me like that.” Far from Atlanta and absent from school, he spent days with me. I gave him a bracelet and told him to hold it. “When I see you again you can give it back.” To my surprise, he turned and gave me a ring, kissed me and said the same. As he drove away, my eyes filled with tears at the uncertainty of when I would get the chance to see him again. A week later, I received an invitation to Atlanta. He assured that once I got there I wouldn’t want to leave. Without thinking twice, I immediately said yes and accepted the offer. I packed my stuff and loaded the car and began a journey I had never experienced. I was used to driving long distances to visit friends and family but I had never been out the tri-state. I admired the scenery as I passed through each city between Jersey and Atlanta. It wasn’t until I was fifteen minutes away that I felt nervousness and sudden anxiety.
One week turned into two and two turned into a lifetime as we’re now engaged awaiting to unify as one this spring. In 2015, my fiancé and I bought a one-way ticket to celebrate our 3 year anniversary in a place where he knew I’ve always wanted to go – Dominican Republic. On this very trip – my first time on a plane, my first time using a passport and my first time being overseas – my best friend got on one knee and asked me to be his wife! My decision to take a one-way leap got us to where we are today but his decision to buy one-way tickets to the place I’ve always wanted to go confirmed our promise to always love each other no matter what and until death do us part.
You never know what waits for you on the other side. Sometimes you just gotta take on the thrill and enjoy the ride.
Rokiyah “Kiya” Marie is the Founder and Creator of Chix Who VIBE (Virtuously Impact Brown Girls Effectively), an organization dedicated to recognizing the achievements and talents of black women.