As I sit here, days away from my 4-year anniversary, I think about what a wild ride it’s been. Once I decided that Mrs. G was the right one, I haven’t doubted it since.
It’s my belief that anyone who feels this way has gone through a moment that put everything into perspective, and lets you know—OK, she’s the one. Dudes are given zero incentive to marry young in society, so this moment has to be something real and life changing. I don’t think these moments are storybook or even romantic most of the time. I, more often than not, don’t really process love in that way.
But, that moment is incredibly important, because it gives you that “us against the world” feeling that tells you this thing is built to last.
Before I was a prim and proper newspaper writer in Southwest Virginia and long before I got the crazy idea to move to Los Angeles, I spent my coming of age years in good ol’ Norfolk, Va. Back in the day, when Mrs. G was just a fun girl who understood my story, we would go to Virginia Beach all the time to walk the sand and look at the stars. At this time, we were also in one of those weird positions where neither of us wanted a relationship, but the bond was there. I now think back to that summer we met as “A Long Hot Summer”, because we did fun things every single day and fell in love in the process.
HOWEVER, until I had my moment, I couldn’t say with 100 percent conviction that she was it. She was a star pupil in my university, and was progressing rather quickly in her “Down Ass Chick 101” Freshman courses. But there’s a difference between acing your courses and actually showing the potential to amount to something once you walk across that stage and the real world hits you.
We went on a double date with my roommate and his girlfriend to Virginia Beach to star gaze. Once we got there, my friend knew about a secluded spot that we could go to, so that we could just chill out and enjoy the peace of the water and stars, without the BS that goes on at the strip.
“What if the moon started bleeding?” I asked the future Mrs. G.
I was referring to apocalyptic prophecies laid out in the book of Revelations. Why did I bring pestilence, famine and the rise of the Anti-Christ into a beautiful, peaceful date? Who knows, I’m weird like that. But without missing a beat, she went off on even weirder tangents, letting me know she had an imagination on her.
OK, I can work with this one.
We had split up from my friend and his girl, and were separately enjoying some bonding time. Once we had our fill of the beach, we thought we’d head back to downtown Norfolk and hit IHOP.
Dinner/Breakfast was great, and we paid the tab, ready to head back to the apartment. But while we were paying the tab, we could barely hear ourselves think, because there was a huge group of 15 to 20 dudes waiting to be seated, and being loud for no reason.
We walked out, frolicking along the sidewalk, when our happy bubble of double date bliss, was interrupted by someone yelling something from behind.
“Hey, pass that!” some dude said.
My friend turned around. The thing he wanted us to "pass" was my friend’s girlfriend, who was wearing a nice skirt, which was also pretty short. My friend brushed him off at first, until another dude also came out of the woodwork, and they said something that went too far.
After letting a deep sigh, my friend had enough.
“Hold my shirt, Rone,” he said.
He took off his Polo (brand new) and handed it to me. The girls went crazy.
“No, lets go! They’re not worth it.”
My friend went over to the first guy and squared up.
“Get your boy, Rone,” future Mrs. G said.
At that moment, time slowed down and the camera panned over to me. Me and the future Mrs. G locked eyes, and my face said it all. I wasn’t letting my boy go out like that, and shouldn’t exactly be relied upon to be the voice of reason right now.
“Oh, Lord”, she said.
I handed HER my friend’s shirt. I had lived enough life to know that these soft lames don’t fight fair these days.
I was ready.
I went over to my friend, and all of a sudden, somebody tossed me a mic. I caught it, and something just came over me.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, CHILDREN of all ages…” I began.
“Newport News, Virginia, PROUDLY brings to you, it’s undisputed, TAG TEAM CHAAAAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOOOOOOORLD!!!!!”
Alright, that didn’t really happen, but I was ready.
Before anything went any further, I felt my front collar choke my neck. I guess the girls had to be the grownups. My date started pulling me away, and so did my friend’s date. We were resisting them at first, UNTIL…
Remember the group of 15 or 20 dudes that were making all of that noise when we were checking out? Yeah, they were all together. And ALL 15 to 20 of them walked out to confront us. I also saw that the security guard was standing there doing absolutely nothing. Thanks, guy.
Since we were ready for a tag team match and not a death sentence Royal Rumble, we chalked up the L and walked back to the car. They followed behind us to the car.
Now, anybody that has grown up in certain places, or been to certain places, knows that the go-to move for dudes with low self-esteem is to say or do something disrespectful toward your date when they outnumber you. It’s a lame move that I’ve come across before, but not to THIS extent.
I looked in their eyes and saw they were a bunch of clowns and didn’t really have any intention of doing anything. They were actually giggling like a bunch of girls. BUT if we would have swung, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have easily stomped us out, and you might see a few people walking around with “RIP Rone” t-shirts and tattoos.
They were lined up in front of the car, and I have this thing about not liking to be afraid of things, or not letting people think that I am. That’s probably why I get up in front of strangers to tell jokes, and why I sold most of my belongings and drove out to LA with no guarantees. The way my head works, if I succumb to fear, I’m going to die a slow death inside.
So just so THEY knew that I knew they weren’t about that life, I walked along the front of the car, past all 15 to 20 of them and opened Mrs. G’s door to let her in, and crossed in front of them again to go back to my side and let myself in.
I thought I made my point, but my friend apparently wanted to make a point of his own. While we were pulling off, he told me to stop the car. I stopped it, and he rolled his window down from the backseat.
“On some REAL shit,” he yelled toward the group.
“NONE of ya’ll niggas could fuck with me one on one,” he said.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the weakest looking dude out of the crew (you know the one that looks like he does things to get points) take off running in slow motion. From outside of the car, he hit my friend with a half-hearted jump punch to the side of the head, which made me mad, but was also impressive, because I’ve never seen anybody do a jump punch before.
Alright, so that didn’t work out so well.
“You wanna go now, or are you trying to catch a jumping head butt too?” I asked.
OK, I didn’t really ask him that, but it’d be funny if I did.
We drove off, plotting death upon anyone who has ever been to IHOP. When we got back to the apartment, I was going off about what had happened. I don’t remember what I was saying, but this is probably how it played out:
So how was this our moment?
I learned that she could be calm under crisis. I learned that she wasn’t the type that would elevate the situation. I learned that in the rare case that I lose control, she’s level headed and ready to take care of business.
I learned that when it comes down to it, she’s a soldier.
She later said that while she helped diffuse the situation, if anyone would have laid a hand on us (outside of the comical jump punch), she and the other girl would have grabbed a shoe, a brick or anything they could find and clock someone before getting stomped out with us. Now I would neeeeeeeeeever want that to happen, but I guess that’s good to know.
I already had the warm and fuzzies for her, but facing the threat of being put in the hospital is a raw and honest way to let you know who you can trust. From that moment on, I knew it was me and her.