The Charlotte Observer | July 11, 1998
Unless I screw up between now and “I will,” sometime around 6:30 this evening I will become a married man.
Little problems mean nothing today. If I lose the rings we’ll use tinfoil. If I forget my tux I’ll go naked. If I have a flat tire I’ll jog to the service, and my bride-to-be knows how much I hate jogging.
Alexandra Dawn Felsing (she goes by Alix) knows a lot of other things about me. She knows I like to stack my towels in an alternating pattern, colored, white, colored, white. She knows I wiggle my right foot when I get excited, like a dog getting his belly rubbed. She knows I cry more than the average guy.
I know things about her too. I know how her eyes light up when she finds a cool piece of fabric at Mary Jo’s in Gastonia. I know how she ditched piano lessons as a kid to go outside and play softball. I know how she likes her privacy and is probably getting twitchy just thinking about these words on the page.
We are opposites in so many ways. I’m from Georgia, she’s from Wisconsin. I like bright shiny colors, she likes browns and greens. I like music, she likes Neil Diamond.
But we have lots in common, too. We think the Lord invented summer nights for minor league baseball, and created newspapers as a place to put the comic strips.
Lately we also have the habit of just staring at each other, amazed that all this is really happening, astonished that the fullness in our hearts is not a trick of nature or a fleeting attraction but the soft steady drumbeat of love.
I always hoped I would find someone and we would fall in love. But I didn’t think I had much to offer, especially in those first few moments where you make an impression or you slink back across the room. I came to believe I was just a fat guy with bad teeth, and I pretty much quit trying.
The only reason my heart didn’t get broken is because I rarely took it out of the box.
Alix and I had both worked here at The Observer for years, but the paper has offices in several towns and we never worked in the same place. Last summer I found out she was moving away. I knew her just well enough to want to say goodbye.
I visited her office in Hickory. We went to a ball game that night, then a party that weekend. Then she left town. And I couldn’t stop thinking about her.
Still, I planned to let it go. Long-distance romances don’t work, that’s what I told myself. But what I really believed was: She’s out of my league.
But a few days later she sent me a thank-you note. It took me two days to muster the guts to write back. I filled the letter with escape hatches and exit doors, giving her every chance to let me down easy. But somehow I sputtered out that I had been thinking romantic thoughts about her.
A couple of days later I got a note from her, saying she had been thinking the same thing. I got up off the floor and called her.
And here we are.
I don’t pretend to know how love works. I can tell you a thousand things I love about Alix, but none of them are exactly why I love her. The why, I don’t have words for. It’s a code we decipher every time we hold hands, a secret song we hear when we look in each other’s eyes.
It’s really true. You just know.
The point of this is not to brag about my good fortune. It is simply to say that no matter how lonely you are, no matter how much you think you’ve missed your chance, there is hope, always hope, everlasting hope.
Today my fondest hopes come true. And sometime around 6:30 this evening, I’ll become the luckiest man alive.
Reprinted with permission of the Charlotte Observer.