The only time I've ever worn a suit.
Tomorrow, March the twentieth, Felicia and I will celebrate our third-year-wedding anniversary. It seems like such a short measure of time considering the eternity our souls have walked together in loving bliss. It feels like we have been together forever, as if the days of our lives did not begin until we came together and could not continue if we were parted. Felicia is the Alpha and Omega of my world.
Felicia and I met at Walgreens where I worked as a lead cashier. Of the many people who passed through my checkout line each day she always caught my attention. Whenever possible I would take a quick break and spend a few minutes chatting with her outside the store when she came in to do some shopping. She was interesting and I thought she was cute in her knee-high boots and plaid mini-skirt.
When I finally asked her what she did with her days and she told me, I pretty much figured she was way out of my league and I kind of backed off a bit. We still continued to chat and I always enjoyed the time we spent together at the store but I’d pretty much given up on the idea of asking her out on a date.
Then she came in on my birthday with a plate full of fresh baked cookies and tickets for an upcoming performance of the orchestra she plays tympani in. I asked her for a date and she said yes. To make a long story short we wound up sitting in a pizzeria on Main Street sharing a meal and wonderful conversation until the establishment closed and we were forced to leave. From that day forward we were nearly inseparable.
Eventually we moved in together and began sharing our lives. It was a wonderful time and up until that point I had never been happier. As our first Christmas approached we planned a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Felicia surprised me by booking a luxury suite which included an in room Jacuzzi, a sauna in the bathroom and a television screen that dropped down from the ceiling and a fireplace. It was a romantic place to spend a week surrounded by snow covered mountains and a community aglow with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights.
We spent a large portion of our days shopping and enjoying the sights and sounds of Gatlinburg. One of the shops we visited was a Harley Davidson outlet that carried a large selection of leather boots and shoes. Felicia fell in love with a pair of brown shoes that sported maroon flames down the sides. As with all cool things the shoes also sported a rather hefty price tag. Every time we stopped in the store Felicia would gaze longingly at those shoes and sigh wistfully. I told her again and again to get the darn things but she just kept saying they were too expensive and it would be a selfish purchase.
One day towards the end of our stay we found ourselves sitting once more in the Harley Davidson boutique looking at boots and shoes. I kept trying to convince Felicia to purchase the footwear she so obviously loved but she would not be convinced. It was then that the manager of the establishment walked over and started talking to Felicia.
“I don’t know what it is about you and your fellow but every time you two wander into my shop business gets better and everyone gets a good laugh and leaves with a smile. If you want those shoes I’ll knock an extra fifteen percent off the price.”
Felicia looked up at me with rapture filled eyes and I told her to go ahead and try them on. They fit her like they were made for her feet and to our amazement as the heat from her foot warmed up the shoe the maroon flames down the sides turned redder and redder. She fell hopelessly in love with those shoes. She still was resistant to the purchase so I told the clerk to ring them up and we’d take them. As we walked out of the store she looked at me and said whatever I wanted it was mine for the asking. She knew that I wanted a fringed leather jacket and she said if we found one I was going to get it.
We ate lunch at a nice Italian restaurant and afterwards continued our holiday shopping spree. We were in a small leather store when Felicia grasped my arm and directed my attention to a buckskin jacket draped upon a mannequin up on the top shelf of a display stand in the corner. It was the jacket I’ve always wanted since my days as a teenager in the Neil Young inspired days in the early seventies. It was perfect.
Felicia cornered a clerk and soon the jacket was in my hands and shortly thereafter it was hanging from my shoulders in all its fringed glory. The sales clerk directed me to a mirror so I could take a look and see how the coat fit. It was one of those triple mirror sets that allow you to see three views of yourself. As I stood in front of the mirror admiring the coat and how well it fit my frame I caught a glimpse of Felicia. She was wearing the biggest grin and glowing with happiness.
Standing there in front of the mirrors wearing the fine leather coat and looking at Felicia’s reflection I experienced one of those epiphany moments in life and I knew there was only one thing in the world I truly desired. I turned from the mirror, took the coat off and draped it across my arm and walked over to where Felicia stood waiting with the sales clerk. “Thank you, but it’s not want I’m looking for.”
Felicia was crestfallen. “Its okay honey, I got the shoes you can get the coat.”
“You said I could have whatever I want. Well, I think I found something better than the coat.”
“Well, what is it?”
“I’ll tell you later when we get back to our suite.”
At the end of our day in town we relaxed in the Jacuzzi and then made the sweetest love imaginable. Afterwards we lay in bed holding each other and basking in the peace that only a couple in love can share. It was a perfect moment...
“Honey, I know how crazy you thought I was when I told you how much I love you. Well, you are going to think I’m a whole lot crazier. I’m not asking you to do it right now in Gatlinburg. I know how important your family is to you and how important it will be to have them participate in the moment, but when you’re ready, will you marry me?”
With eyes filled with tears she said yes and made me a very happy man. That was three years ago. Every day since then has been filled with the best love I never imagined possible. Felicia has filled in the missing colors on the canvas of my soul and completed the painting of my life. She is every thing I never even knew I wanted out of life. Now that I’ve met her I can’t imagine spending days without her.
Happy anniversary, Angel; I can’t wait to celebrate a thousand more.