A Crazy/Romantic Love Story by Ramona Abraham and Gabriel
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A Crazy/Romantic Love Story by Ramona Abraham
Frequently asked questions:
1. Was it arranged?
2. I didn't know you were seeing someone.
3. Engaged?! You?!
4. How did you meet???
The simple answers:
2. I wasn't.
3. Yes. Me.
4. It's a long story.
It's a long story. Some may call this story crazy, others may call it romantic but, no matter how one looks at it, it's true. There are times I look back and I'm still amazed by how events turned to change my life forever. Was it coincidence or fate? The romantic side of me opted for fate while the logical side said it must be coincidence. Which it is may become apparent by the end of this story.
It all started when I received a call from my cousin's husband, Steve. He asked if I would go to India with his wife as her shopping buddy. He wanted to send her to India as a gift for their 25th wedding anniversary. However, he didn't want to go along. Instead, he wanted her to have a shopping buddy. We'd also spend some time at a Women's ayurvedic spa in Kerala, a Southern Region in India. October was the best time for me to go and the planning began.
In September, my niece Reshka, left for India. She was going to stay with her grandparents for a few months as it was their 50th wedding annivesary in January 2011. We stayed with Reshka's grandparents, our aunt and uncle. What this has to do with the engagement, you'll see soon enough. If it wasn't for Reshka being there, our going in October and staying at the same place as Reshka I may never have been engaged. My cousin and I left on October 8, 2010 and arrived in Mumbai, India by October 9.
While we were there, a lady contacted our aunt. She called to wish Reshka a happy birthday. Reshka was out shopping with my cousin and myself. Our aunt mentioned that I was visiting, single, in my mid-30s and from Canada. Apparently, the lady had a nephew who was also single and around the same age. The two ladies got talking and there was a suggestion that perhaps the two of us should meet. Well, that is where it all began. I knew nothing until later but, at some point, "the boy" agreed to meet with me. His family and he would come by on the following Sunday to meet us - a week after we had arrived in Mumbai.
I got to know about this arrangement from my cousin Elana, four days into our trip, while we were in a beautiful hill station. I was shocked, skeptical, and expected the worst! I was already trying to find a way to refuse "the boy" without insulting anyone.
Sunday came before I knew it. Eventually, the family arrived. His mom and aunt arrived first. They were telling me how their grandfather and my grandfather had been best friends many years ago. About 10 minutes later, "the boy" and his uncle walked in the door after they had parked the car. His name was Gabriel. I was pleasantly surprised. He was more attractive than I had expected. He seemed friendly and had the cutest smile. However, this was still a very awkward situation. We sat across the room from each other and hardly spoke. We barely looked at each other due to the fact that each of us was being analyzed ... at least, that's what it felt like. My aunt then sat down and suggested we go into the other room to talk. I was a little embarrassed because the other room was a bedroom! I jumped up, not really sure how to handle this, and suggested to Gabriel that we go for a walk. He quickly rose and agreed. We took the elevator down and started to walk along the street laughing about the awkwardness of the situation - the fact is that neither one of us had ever experienced this before. We didn't know what to expect but, we laughed together and felt comfortable with each other.
We went to a coffee shop and spent four hours talking there. He had a coffee and I had a strawberry soda. The whole time we sat there talking about our likes and dislikes, about who we were and what we did. We laughed, talked, enjoyed each others company and suddenly, realized the time. His aunt had called once, his work had called a couple of times but, everyone was secondary to our meeting. While I sat talking to Gabriel, I felt like I had lost the ability to breathe. I could feel my soul, for the first time, come alive and it felt like it was trying to get out of me and hold onto Gabriel. As cheesy as that sounds, it's the only way I can explain it.
We finally returned to aunty Rachel's and had something to eat. Gabriel and his family left soon after as Gabriel had to go to work. My cousin and niece asked me how things went, knowing full well that had I not liked him, I would have been back in 20 minutes or less. Obviously, I liked him. However, I was uncertain of how he felt, because when I had suggested we meet the following day while I was still in Mumbai, he had said he couldn't meet because he had to work. He did not give me his cell phone number either. So, I assumed he was not interested in me. At that moment, like it was rehearsed, the phone rang. It was Gabriel and he wanted to speak to me. He asked me if I would be available the following day because he could go to work later or after our date. I told him that I could make myself available and he proceeded to give me his cell phone number.
Reshka and my cousin, Elana responded with, "Do you have any doubt now?!!!" Apparently, this was confirmation that he liked me. I was still somewhat unsure due to the fact that his family may have had something to do with convincing him. I was trying not to get too excited even though, in my heart, I was thrilled that he had called so quickly and asked me out again.
The next day, he arrived at my aunt's home to pick me up. When I came out from the bedroom where I was freshening up, I started to laugh. I saw Gabriel looking very attractive in a black and white checkered button down shirt. Why was I laughing? Because I was wearing a very similar black and white checkered button down shirt. I wanted to change but, I was convinced not to by my aunt. We went out like that - looking like a matching couple, Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum but, cute none the same.
We took the bus and went to VT station. We walked from there to the romantic, imposing monument - The Gateway of India, which is on the water front facing the Arabian Sea, built to commemorate the visit of Britain's King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay. It was sunset and we had a fabulous time. Once again, it felt like Gabriel was an old friend and we were just catching up. It felt like I had known him all my life. We were having fun together and we seemed to be very good, if not best, friends.
We got to the Gateway of India and sat on the stone wall along the sea. Gabriel asked me if we could talk seriously for a moment. I answered, "Sure." I was wondering where this was going. He then asked me what I thought of us together. I didn't really know what he was getting at, so he explained that we were introduced to consider marriage and what did I think about the two of us being together. Possibly getting married. At that moment, my answer was not what would have been normally expected by even me. I would normally have said something to the effect, "What, are you crazy?! I just met you yesterday!!!" However, Gabriel had a strange effect on me. He grounded me in some way. He made me more relaxed, happy and comfortable than I had ever felt before. My response was, "I think it would be fun. I would like to be with you because you are attractive, fun and interesting. I feel comfortable with you and you seem intelligent, since you can keep up with me!" I laughed. He laughed with me. He told me that he felt the same. He felt that I didn't wear a mask. I was what I showed. He liked me too. He thought I was beautiful and thought we'd have fun as a married couple. At that moment, we moved from friendship to dating.
We started to walk away from the Gateway due to rain. We could see the lightning in the distance. As we walked away, Gabriel held my hand. We suddenly got closer and found that our relationship moved years in just a few moments. We were closer than we imagined we could be, and continued our discussion of a possible future together. It was like a Bollywood movie! A girl, a guy, the romantic Gateway of India and suddenly, the rain! Instead of breaking into song and dance, we ran into a cake shop. Gabriel asked me where I had been all his life. I told him that I was in Canada waiting for him to come and find me. We laughed because we both felt that we had finally found our soulmate. The love we had waited so long to find - least expecting to find this love from the opposite ends of the world. Was this possible? Could this be love in so short a time? Was I crazy? Well, if I was crazy, so was he as he was saying what I was already thinking, as if he were reading my thoughts. He kissed me on the head a few times in a very sweet and loving way. He had to go to work though, so, we had to leave. We could have spent all evening sitting there talking. He considered skipping work but, he is much too responsible for that. We took a taxi back to where I was staying. He put his arms around me and kissed me. It felt so right and so comfortable. We sat arm in arm as we spoke about how we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Then, he asked me if I wanted to marry him for sure. I asked him if he was asking me and he replied that he was telling me. I again responded in an unusual manner for me and said, "Yes, then." We then decided that we should get engaged before I left for Canada. Why wait? Who knows when I'd be able to return to India. Dating long distance without an end in sight didn't make sense to us. Logic told me that if my heart agreed, then, my head should too. He asked if he should text his family and let them know that marriage was on the cards. I told him that he should. He texted... "Looks like marriage is on the cards, very soon."
When I returned home, I called my parents. They were ecstatic. Now, many people would think this is crazy - to agree to marry a guy I've known for less than 48 hours - a total stranger, someone from the other end of the planet. But, here's the thing... there's this little voice that one has. If you pay attention, it's there speaking to you on many different aspects of one's life - school, work, friends. However, it has never spoken so strongly about relationships with men I had dated. In the past, the voice had yelled, "NO!" many times but, this was the first time it was giving me a resounding "YES!" My soul felt satisfied that it had met its better half. I felt like my whole life I was searching for Gabriel and hadn't realized it until I found him. The more we were together, the better it was. He made me a better person. I felt stronger with him.
Here was a man I hardly knew yet felt like I had known him all my life... if not longer than my life. Is it possible? Yes. When people said that when you meet the right person you would just know... I never fully comprehended what they meant. Well, now I know. It has nothing to do with the fact that we dressed the same, had ancestors who were great friends, had been single for so long, although, I'm sure these were all factors playing a role. The truth is, it had to do with us finally recognizing the other and knowing that this was meant to be. It's not just your heart or mind that knows. It's your entire being. Every inch of you and all of it culminates from your soul. It is worth it to wait for the right person and I'm glad that I had the strength to do so. More importantly, I'm happy that Gabriel had the strength as well. So, was it fate or coincidence? I don't know if I'll ever truly figure it out. The following day after his "proposal", I flew to Trivandrum, Kerala for 10 days. We spoke on the phone every night for 1 to 2 hours, planning our engagement party which was to take place the night I was flying on October 30, 2010. It happened according to plan. He picked me up from the airport on October 29, 2010 and we went looking for engagement rings. We found our rings on the 30th just before the party. The guests arrived, the engagement party happened and Gabriel was asked to actually propose to me. He did so by getting down on one knee. He told me that he loved me from the bottom of his heart, handed me a rose and asked me to marry him. In front of all those people, already knowing the answer but, being a shy guy, this was not an easy task. I said yes without any difficulty.
We have been engaged since and cannot wait until we are married. I'm not one to settle for someone because I'm getting older. In fact, I had pretty much resolved myself to being single for the rest of my life. If I couldn't find my soulmate, then forget it! However, what happened was that Gabriel walked into my life and changed the course of my future forever.
The engagement party over, within an hour I was on my way to the airport to catch my flight back to Canada. We spent less than an hour together as an officially engaged couple. Since getting home from India, we communicate with each other over the phone and the internet everyday, not just once but several times a day, at times for hours at length. As I get to know Gabriel better and better with every conversation, it confirms that we are meant to be together. We think similarly, have the same taste in food and clothing and feel so grateful for finding each other. It's truly amazing how things can happen in the blink of an eye. This crazy, romantic, fateful coincidence is what brought us together.
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