An Officer and A Gentleman

She was frustrated. She had just been dumped by her fiancé, long distance, by telephone no less and right after his Christmas visit. She was humiliated and the details of the breakup remain too painful to recall even after all these years. She had only moved to the new city four weeks earlier and had yet to make any friends. She hadn’t even unpacked most of her moving boxes. Now she was in limbo; and very frustrated.

Her brother’s girlfriend agreed to go out with her one Friday night in January, probably out of pity and at the request of her boyfriend. Not so much because he wanted to see his sister happy but he wanted her to stop crying and annoying him. They drove around the little town and miraculously got into a bar even though the brother’s girlfriend was underage and didn’t have ID. Maybe it was a sign.

They made their way upstairs to a special bar where they had been invited by a handsome guy in the parking lot.  “Look for me” he had told them. She scanned the room looking for the blonde haired, blue eyed stocky guy. He was not her usual type but after the breakup maybe a change would be good. It turned out the special bar was a hangout for naval aviators in training. Navy pilots. Future Top Guns. I’m sure your imagination can fill in the details.

She looked to the bar and her eyes locked on him. No, not him, HIM. The tall, dark haired, brown-eyed guy sitting alone. He smiled shyly, a curve at the corners of his mouth that revealed dimples in his cheeks and it was enough to capture her heart. And this part is not an exaggeration, she felt the room slip away and everything went out of focus except him. She walked straight up to him at the bar and he said “Hi.”

Two days later they had their first date. Soon she was sleeping over almost every night. He left post-it notes in the kitchen for her to see when she woke up. “Good morning beautiful.” “Have a great day!” “See you tonight.”

There was something unspoken between them. They just knew this was right. They never had to say it. But they did say “I love you.” At some point.

When he was getting close to the end of his training he learned his new duty station would be on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He asked if she would be going with him. Of course she said yes. They just knew this was right. But their families threw a fit. They both received a barrage of phone calls asking if they had lost their minds, trying to talk them out of their ridiculous plan.

There was only one thing they could do. “I guess we could get married. They would stop complaining if we did.” To this day neither one remembers who came up with the idea.

The families threw a fit again. “How could you possibly consider getting married? You haven’t even known each other six months.” But they looked at each other and smiled. They just knew this was right.

Two weeks later they got married by a justice of the peace in front of fifteen members of their family and friends. She wore a white lace mini-dress and heels and he wore his Navy summer dress whites. (They’re still in the closet)

Today they are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary.

There are good times and bad times. Times you want to give up, times you want to leave, maybe you even have your suitcase packed. Take a breath. Weather the storm. Forgive. Forget. Take comfort. Give of yourself. Become best friends. Laugh. Cry. Live. And above all LOVE.

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