After two failed marriages of 7 and 18 years each and a relationship of two years, I thought it was time to be on my own and just have a nice, peaceful life - just me and the dog. It felt good.
Some people say when you are not looking, that is the time you will meet someone. I am here to prove them absolutely right.
Last year, I was invited to the wedding of a long-time friend and while I was there I met Henry. Henry is the brother of my good friends Reg and Fi and I have known them for about 23 years - didn’t know Reg had a brother and had no idea that night I would find that love waits right around the corner when you least expect it.
Henry and I immediately hit it off at the wedding and on that first night he suggested we elope to Las Vegas. I thought about it for about two seconds and we both laughed. That is why I have to tell you, I was shocked to find myself in Vegas nine months later getting married. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
At the end of the wedding reception last year, I told Henry I was headed home with friends and he asked for my email. I took a deep breath and felt sad: “No, I don’t think so.. it’s me, not you . “Oh it’s OK, I know what you mean” he said. I considered telling him about the HIV. Neither the time, nor the place: “No, no, it really is me”. I was tired of giving people a 101 on HIV and what undetectable meant.
The next day I got a Facebook Friend request. it was Henry.. ugh! What to do? I accepted. He asked if I wanted to go out some time. “Look, you don’t know anything about me” I wrote. “Yes, I do. You have HIV”. I was speechless, had his brother and sister-in-law told him? “I Googled you! And at once I read all you have been through, it made me want to get to know you even more. I think you’re strong” Was this guy out of his mind? I had never had THAT reaction before. I was better because I had HIV? Wow!
After I met Henry, I knew this was no ordinary man. We went for a drive in the country and he took me to see all the lakes and dams nearby and he would stop the car so that I could get just the right photograph. He made dinner, washed dishes, vacuumed, did laundry, worked on my car. I paced the floor at night. This was not what I had planned. It wasn’t the way things were meant to go. Finally, I realized that in my planning I had lost the HIV part of me from days gone by, when I lived each day one at a time.
After months of smiles and laughter, patience and understanding and realizing that we truly were made for each other, we decided to get married. Henry cracked a joke about Vegas and I said “don’t even joke about it - not in a million years”. My idea of a wedding was on the beach in the Caribbean, not on The Strip with Celine Dion. We set about planning Jamaica in February. We told a few friends and before you know it the little tiny wedding was getting to be bigger and bigger. We considered having a wedding in the garden. Nope we just couldn't invite some people and not others and it was getting expensive - more expensive than Jamaica by far.
Finally, I asked Henry: “still interested in getting married in Las Vegas?” I booked the license and certificate and a week later we were headed down on the plane.
Our taxi driver from the airport was very informative about the best restaurants and shows and we kept his card. We told him we were getting married and needed a taxi to the Commissioner’s office the next day. Before long we asked him to be our witness at the wedding too!
On June 15, 2014, I wore a blue cocktail dress and high heels and Henry wore black pants and a blue shirt… and we arrived at the Commissioner's office. She filled in the paperwork and asked us to join her in the next room. We stood under a bower with false flowers. In front of us were five rows of empty chairs, save one which was filled by our taxi driver, and we were married at 2.40 pm.
Very, very happy.
I learned that just when you give up on love, it can be waiting right around the next corner.