Tuesday, April 2, 2013


There are times in one's life when you meet someone you could never forget. I can still remember the day we met. It was August 19, 1999, a beautiful clear summer's day. I had been up late the night before and was sleeping on the couch when a friend came to drag me to an Institute activity in the park down the street. I reluctantly went, concluding that if I didn't give in now I would never hear the end of it. Besides, I had nothing better to do. She came late. She had gone to pick up the sandwiches for lunch. The moment I saw her I knew there was something tantalizing about her. To begin with, she was radiant. Her curly dark brown hair danced like springs, her lustrous lips constantly pulled back in a smile to expose her perfect teeth. It was her eyes that caught my attention though. Looking into her eyes was like swimming in a deep, refreshing, sapphire lake at the end of a long and dreary hike. In short, she was perfect. As we introduced each other we quickly found that there was quite the age gap to overcome. Her name was Heather, and she was 21. I was only 18 and barely out of high school. My thoughts were at least I could hit on her if nothing else. This proved to hinder our relationship only momentarily.

For weeks I came back to Institute, yet she was nowhere to be found. Rumors started circulating that she had been missing to date a man she had met in early August. I was disappointed to hear such news, though everyone else seemed quite happy for her. Finally, I heard that our class was to take a trip to Manti to visit the temple. I nearly jumped out of my skin with joy as I hear that Heather was to join us! This was my chance to really get to know her, and let her get to know me.

As we were leaving, I asked to ride in her car. She was relieved to have me ask, as there were several guys in the class with their eyes on her, none of which sparked any interest in her. During our ride down I really learned who she was. She had a strong testimony, one that would impress the Pope himself, yet she had not been without her trials. She had two children but felt strongly that she needed to place them for adoption. She had been married before, yet her husband became abusive shortly after the wedding, so she left him. These trials had helped to forge her into the stunning woman that now sat beside me in her car.

It was at the temple that I first learned of Jim. As she spoke of him my blood raced with envy. I pictured her speaking of me as she did of him, of completing that void in her heart with me. She spoke of him with such fondness and hope, yet something in her eyes betrayed her, including a profuse hatred for sandals and open-toed shoes as well as painted toe nails. His lack of respect for her feelings on these and other such matters hinted of a future for her of dominant repression.

As I returned home from the temple trip, I couldn't wait to tell a close friend of mine all about this woman I had met. I told her that I had found the woman of my dreams, the one I wanted to marry, but that she was engaged to marry another man. The wise counsel of my friend must have been quoted straight from the movie; "You have to tell her how you feel. If not, you will always regret your lost opportunity." Those words echoed in my mind every day as I anticipated the intoxication of her company again and again.

Meanwhile Jim made a mistake comparable to a fumble on the one yard line in the last seconds of a neck Super Bowl game. He began to neglect Heather, and even broke off the engagement to reconsider. Heather was devastated. I supported her as a friend, never revealing to her my feelings burning inside. I was certain they would reconcile, and didn't want to cause her any additional heartache by heaping my inconsequential feelings on her shoulders. Besides, what could I offer her? Jim was mature and wealthy, and could provide Heather with a life she could only dream of. And here I was, a child, still living with my parents with nothing of my own. But within the rubble of a broken relationship grew an unexpected love. We grew closer and closer every day we were together. We quickly found ourselves inseparable. But as Jim returned and begged for a second chance, it was an impression she received in the Visitor's Center at the Salt Lake temple, again on an Institute activity, which caused her to choose a boy over a man. If we felt close before, we could look back on it as though we were strangers merely saying hello as we passed each other on a busy street.

But our ecasty was short-lived, for I soon would leave the woman of my dreams, the one who had given so much to be with me, to serve a two-year mission. The obstacle had loomed in the mist long enough, and was now upon us. Fear and doubt filled our hearts as I held her for the last time before leaving on my journey.

I received a letter with four months left detailing her doubts and frustrations over the last twenty months of our separation and I was certain we had met the end. We wrote the very little those last months, and I hardly expected my request to meet me at my homecoming to be granted. Yet, to my amazement, as I walked down the stairs from the terminal, she was there. It had taken great convincing on my sister's part to get her there.

Some would expect at tearful, intense embrace after so much time apart, but there was only a handshake. It took months of agony and frustration, searching again for the intensity we had once shared, before our triumphant return to that temple in Manti, where we were sealed for time, and all eternity.

To some this may sound like just another love story, but not to me, and my beautiful wife, it is a fairy tale come true.

This is our love story written by my amazing husband, Marc. I love him and always will. This was also written in the first couple years of our marriage and now we're going extremely strong at 10 years later.


Gerry Baird said...

What a great story! Thanks so much for posting it. I grew up in Marc's ward and know first-hand that he is a great guy. You are lucky to have each other :)

sweetmama.heather said...

Thanks, Gerry! I think he's pretty awesome too. I'm lucky to have him.