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I can't afford Hawaii…
Dedicated to Chris Gagliano
Submitted by Ruth
"You would get along great with my friend Chris… he's vegetarian too!" My good friend Sue told me one day out of the blue. I was a little down, lost my job a month after September 11, 2001 and had spent too much time with it to make many friends over the last seven years. But the friends I have are loving, strong, and forever! I trusted Sue to set me up with someone decent, smart… a man who would treat me nicely as opposed to all the (no offence to rats, but…) rats I had known.
Chris had a deep sexy voice over the phone. We talked for hours before meeting for our first date, just dinner at my favorite local restaurant. The first things I noticed about Chris (besides being cute and thinner than me) were his manners and his basic respect for people. He opened doors and brought me a Thelonious Monk CD as a present! Romantic and courageous, I had never met anyone like him.
We dated for a year and took our time getting to know each other, we wanted to be sure before getting serious. I worried about his cow-sized dog eating my fuzz-ball of a cat if they ever met. He encouraged me to read about history, which I now really enjoy. Art, music, human rights, movies… we had so much in common!
For Christmas, the families met for the first time and everyone got along great. We both have teachers in our families… it was a sweet time with vibrant discussions. He gave me a beautiful heart necklace and I just about cried, because he thought of me with such soft sweetness… pure love.
Three days later on my birthday he said, "have you ever taken a carriage ride through Chicago?" I hadn't, so we dressed warm and left for downtown. He found a white horse pulling a charcoal-colored carriage with a blanket in the back. Our dear home-town Chicago was looking sparkly and full of holiday cheer as we traveled by the lake and Michigan Avenue. I was having a wonderful time snuggling with my honey, really not expecting anything but this beautiful day which was already such a gift, when he got a little serious and pulled out a small white box.
"I love you, open it" was all I think he said… I think that's all he could say because he was so emotional. Inside was a picture of an engagement ring and directions to a jewelers shop… he wanted me to help pick out the ring because it was going to be something I would wear forever.
"I can't afford Hawaii, but will you honeymoon in Niagara Falls with me?"
I moved in, discovering that the cat and dog think that they are long-lost brothers. We got married, New York and Ontario Canada were beautiful and every day since has been filled with joy. I wouldn't trade those memories for anything… but I always wondered about Hawaii…