I had entered this college because it offered an upgrading program for me to complete my General Education Diploma (GED). Derick was there taking a Welding trade, which he has never used to gain employment. (But I am so thankful he decided to take it! I'll chalk it up to fate!)
I remember how our classrooms were around the corner from each other and how every morning Derick's whistles would echo behind me as I walked by him. I should have been flattered that this hot, blue-eyed guy was admiring me. In fact, one time I would have loved all the attention, and I probably would have even shaken my booty at him. But Derick's boldness left me uncomfortable.
At 19 years of age, I had already been in two abusive relationships. I escaped one only to fall into another, the last one ending six months before I entered college. So my emotional scars were still very much present. My self-esteem was damaged, and I had a negative mindset with regards to trust and dating and even love. In my young life, it had only shown itself to be abusive, untrustworthy, controlling, and manipulative. And besides, I had entered college for the sole purpose of obtaining my GED. I didn't need any distractions; I only wanted to achieve a better life.
It's not easy re-engaging in the dating scene after abuse. (In my case, abusers.) The question always at the forefront of my mind was, "Will he abuse me? " and it held me back from Derick's persistence of wanting to date me. It would be months before I said yes. And I am so glad I did. He mirrored love in my life in ways I had never experienced before. It was a love that would take us down the aisle two years later.
We by no means went on to have a fairytale marriage. It has been far from perfect. Through busy careers, parenthood, sickness, grief, lack of intimacy, it all, at times, left us wondering if our love would stand the test of time.
However, here we are today celebrating a marriage milestone of 35 years. Our love has not only evolved, but it has indeed stood the test of time, for better, for worse, in sickness and health, until death do us part...
Do you believe in fate? I sure do!