You'll Know When That Moment Comes...

Pardon the crazy eyes...
When Sharea and I decided that we were going to get married, we immediately sprang into action; within three days, the date, venue, wedding party, caterer, colors, decorations, favors and minister were selected. A guest list was formulated. Shoot, we even came up with a theme that encompasses the wedding, the season, our mutual love for music, art and our culture. We were going to do this this our way. We were going a non-traditional route, putting together an evening that we would never forget and something that those in attendance will talk about as long as our marriage lasts…until the day that Mother Nature says her work is through.

We had it all figured out…except for a ring.

It wasn’t a priority, there was no need to rush out and drop thousands of dollars for me to prove to her that I was serious about marrying her. So, after the initial planning calmed down, we went out ring shopping. Then she went out on her own. Then we went out together again. Then I went. She went. We went. Finally, we found a ring that she loved and I could purchase with an extra job or three. After a few days, we were crossing state lines on our hunt, and ultimately we found the perfect ring. In a perfect world she would’ve left with the ring that day, but this is the World According to Teef, so she had to wait until the perfect moment.
The next few months she held her breath on various days thinking that day was going to be the day, the next moment would be hers. Too easy. While we continued to make plans for the wedding, spend money on invitations, search for a photographer, a DJ, gowns for the bridesmaids and all of that jazz, she asked for the ring every day.  But I wouldn’t cave in; I was drawing up the perfect plan to give her this ring. Everything we had done to that point was so quick; I wanted this to be unpredictable, a complete surprise. But she wasn’t having it. She needed the ring on her finger yesterday, wouldn’t send out a “Save the Date” without it.

It really burned her up that I completely ignored all of the deadlines her wedding books set for our wedding. We had done everything on our terms to that juncture, so I didn’t see the point in changing it then, but she didn’t feel the same way. In my mind, I was laughing, but my visage never changed. Sharea on the other hand, went from excited, to frustrated, to resignation.

I had her right where I wanted her.

Around the middle of April I started drawing up plans to make the proposal special, more special than us agreeing to get married on a cold winter’s night. I racked my brain to figure something out that she would never forget and always remember at the same time. The problem was what could I do? I came up with like seven or eight different scenarios, but nothing seemed to go right.

·         Carriage Ride through Central Park

                We had a great day planned in New York City for late April and I intended to end it on the highest of notes. There was only one problem…I didn’t have the ring.
·         At Granny’s in Mississippi

You already read about our road trip to Atlanta at the end of May, but what was left out was that we were supposed to also drive to Mississippi to spend some time with her grandmother, but decided against taking the twenty-one hour ride. It had become my intention to give her the ring on that trip, but we decided not to go to Atlanta.

·         Raphael Saddiq Concert

It was all working out to return to the scene of the crime. We’d met at a concert at the Electric Factory and it turned out that Raphael Saddiq was performing there. I planned to go back to the very spot where we met and give her the ring, but the trip to Atlanta was back on.

·         The Electric Factory

At this point, I just started working with the Electric Factory to open up for me, so I could get this done. We were blowing through her deadlines and she was getting increasingly frustrated with not having the ring or moving forward with certain plans. She had drawn her line in the sand and I was moonwalking on it. Simultaneously, I was locked in a game of phone tag with the club to work my plan.

·         Anytime, Anyplace

She wanted the ring so badly at one point that I thought about forgoing any plan and just giving it to her when she came in from work one day…good thing I decided against that.

·         The Electric Factory Pt. III

I was stuck on going back to the place we met, it was sentimental, signaled a change in my life. The only other place I could think of that meant so much was the hospital and I wasn’t trying to take any trips there (even though I did), but I just couldn’t get on the same page with management.

·         Warmdaddy’s

Throughout the month of June we’d been attending “The Hump Jam” hosted by Kindred the Family Soul on Wednesday nights at Warmdaddy’s, a soul food restaurant here in Philly. We both love Kindred and our relationship took a turn at one of their concerts last summer, so a light bulb went off and I sent an e-mail asking them to sing her favorite Kindred song, “My Time”. The response came a few days later and the answer was yes, well, Fatin said, “We could make the magic happen.”

I finally had a concrete plan, I told my mom, her sister, my brother-in-law and it was on! One problem, I had three straight long days at work and by Wednesday evening, I was beat! She was dragging too, but we had to make it. We were so tired that she considered putting on jeans and a shirt. No, no, no, not tonight. I laid out my clothes and she followed my lead. The only problem was that it took us a long time to get ready and by the time we arrived at the restaurant, it was 8pm and the line was out the door.
You ever plan a cookout and it’s cloudy all day? That’s how I was feeling looking at the people milling around outside the door. My perfect plan was under attack and there was nothing I could do to fight back. I started sending texts, e-mails, tweets, everything I could to get inside, but we still waited, we waited until the doorman realized that we should be inside.

Finally, we were in the building, but in the back, unable to sit, unable to eat and I was unable to signal them that I was actually in attendance. The storm clouds had subsided, but there was still a hint of rain in the air, I was unsure if they remembered the song, unsure of when it would happen, unsure of what I would say. Of course, I rehearsed for this moment for months, but when the time was near I didn’t know what would come out. If only I knew when the moment was…

Kindred had begun a listening party for their upcoming album, Love Has No Recession (available July 26th), and were playing tunes from the new album and then went into a set of their earlier releases. I was sure they would go into “My Time” during this run of songs, but they arrived at an intermission without the performance and I was standing there with the ring in my pocket and a lump in my throat.  I hadn’t panicked when it looked like we weren’t going to make it in and I had no reason to panic now, but my heart took its mark for a race.

We were all tired, hungry, looking over a crowd and her feet were hurting, so she was ready to go. I was exchanging texts with my brother-in-law, getting a little anxious, when I heard my name come through the speakers. I was being summoned to the stage, yes, they had not forgotten! I spent the next few minutes going back and forth with Fatin and Aja over whether or not I would bring Sharea to the stage, they were urging me to, and I was refusing based on knowing her. The funny thing was, Fatin had the microphone in his hand and we could be heard in the background of the music.

It’s a good thing Sharea’s feet were hurting; she was oblivious to everything going on around her, even when they prefaced their performance of “My Time” by saying, “Something special was about to happen”. The lump in my throat had grown to a grapefruit at her excitement over the singing of “her song”; she sang, swayed, smiled and had no clue what I was trying to find the right moment to do.

After trying to get her attention once or twice and being ignored in favor of the performance, I turned her around, exposing the box. I caught my breath to recite what I took six months to prepare, but she began crying and moved in to kiss me, not even allowing my speech or even the ultimate question. By now, everyone near us figured out what was going on and started to cheer, snap pictures and totally threw me off of my game, so I asked her if I could ask her to marry me? I guess she realized that she jumped the gun and agreed that I should get on one knee and ask, though I’m sure she couldn’t hear me over the growing number of witnesses to our moment.

It was all tears and smiles for the next couple of hours, with a spattering of “congratulations” bestowed upon us, before and after we celebrated onstage with Kindred during their performance of “Far Away”. She was completely surprised and a weight was lifted off of my shoulders, not to mention, we were now “officially” engaged. We all got what we wanted that night; Sharea got her ring, we got a beautiful moment to share, which gave me this story to tell and the most beautiful woman in the world as my wife-to-be.

Magic Happens

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