Ten years ago today I met the woman of my dreams. After an online friendship of a year and a half, I flew from Indiana to New Orleans and met my future wife. It was my first time in New Orleans, and stepping off the plane, I was greeted with an absolute wall of heat and humidity. It was stifling, but all I could think about was that I might sweat through my shirt before I met her.
As I approached the gathered crowd of people awaiting passengers, I searched for her face, which I had only seen in a few photographs. Hers was easy to find; it was the face that was smiling the most. We hugged, formally introduced ourselves, and went off in search of luggage.
Our first dinner was at a restaurant whose name I can never remember, save that it starts with "C." It was Copeland's (I asked the other day). We sat at the table, talking about stuff that we had written to each other, basking in the glow of the restaurant lights. We already knew that we shared many interests, but had wondered if there would be personal chemistry when we met face to face. It was a question very quickly answered wth a resounding "Yes." We held hands the whole time that we waited for our food to arrive, overjoyed with finding one another.
I never remember the name of the restaurant (it was the only time we ever ate there together), but I sure remember what I ate: Shrimp Creole! It was the first time I'd had a Creole dish and it was amazing. But what was more amazing was that we, a couple who had only known each other online, found each other to be exactly what we had said we were. We had both heard horror stories about people meeting someone online, only to be disappointed or even worse, swindled after meeting in person. I think we would probably both have been crushed had we turned out to be someone other than who we claimed to be.
I stayed with her the whole weekend, touring New Orleans, visiting her at work, eating wonderful meals, drinking cafe au lait and eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I even cooked breakfast for her, because it's the meal I feel most comfortable making. My Mexican Fiesta Omelet was done just right. And since they don't have Big Boys in New Orleans, it was the first time she had eaten one. We visited the Riverwalk Mall, and saw the cutest kitten jumping in and out of a concrete planter, filled with enough plants to make it look like a jungle compared to her small frame.
When we parted at the airport, we were both crying in the rain. No, I'm not kidding. It was like a scene from a movie. As we sat in her car, she took off a small ring that she wore and put it on one of my fingers as a keepsake. On the plane, I tried to keep my emotions in check, and the only way to do it successfully was to start planning a return trip for Christmas vacation. I drew a calendar on a notebook page and started counting the days.
I love you, Magi, and thank you for making it so that I don't have to count days anymore.