It all began nine years ago. It was June 23, 2007, a tropical Saturday night. My BFF Natalie threw her then-boyfriend (now husband) a party in celebration of his very recent graduation from the fire academy. It was at his parents’ house, as they were hosting the party together with Natalie. I walked in dressed in a short v-neck turquoise cottony short dress, a look that was popular at the time. My hair was down, I was wearing camel-colored wedges and I remember my earrings matched my dress and looked like a round piece of turquoise stone outlined in gold (thanks Nordstrom teen department!).
I walked in and I immediately spotted my future husband. Our eyes locked, and let’s just say each of us liked what we saw. Ever the quiet one, his dirty Coronas (later to never be drunk again, as family loyalty lies with Budweiser products due to my father’s lifelong career with the brand) fueled him to very assertively approach me and ask me for my name and number. Happily, I provided the details.
This was before social media and texting took over the way people communicate, mind you. As I’m almost home, Allester calls me and asks to meet up. I blamed it on “I’m already in my pajamas,” when the truth is my dad vetoed the idea of me leaving the house again “a esta hora.” Sadness! However, Allester asked me if I was free the next day.
My custom at the time was to attend 11 a.m. Mass at St. Timothy with my aunt Odi. After Mass, Allester picked me up at her old house off Sunset and 99th and off we went to Sunset Place. I don’t remember what top I wore, but I do recall I chose a pleated white knee-length eyelet skirt. (Thanks, Mom!) We had a casual burgers and fries lunch and then watched a movie that tanked in the box office called Evan Almighty. We didn’t really pay attention to the movie. #firstkiss
In my journal a few days later, I wrote “I am totally smitten by a boy named Allester Jewett!” He was my good luck charm that summer, and I was hired for my first-ever teaching assignment at Winston Park K-8, where I spent the first three years of my career. Among other outings, we saw the movie Superbad together during the first weekend of school, and I was so excited to just be with him.
Apparently, Allester’s cantankerous older coworkers gave him some not-so-good advice. They said, “Rookie, don’t settle down now. Have fun, live it up!” Young Allester listened and Elizabeth got sick of waiting for him to give her the commitment she wanted. It took months, but I cut ties with Allester, telling him he was wasting my time.
In March 2009 I started a relationship with someone that lasted four years. During the last year of that relationship, we were engaged to be married. In April 2013, God had different plans for me and the engagement ended.
I can’t put into words how much Allester helped me heal…but I truly consider him my little guardian angel. Our paths crossed again after that April, and in time we gave our relationship another shot. So you’d think, finally! This is where she got her happily ever after? No, not quite yet.
At the time I was still healing and I was also working at a school where I was not too happy. It was a recipe for failure, and sure enough, one year later in May 2014, Allester and me went our separate ways yet again.
It wasn’t until the spring of 2015 that the broken road we had been on since 2007 finally straightened. Against what I’m sure many people thought was our better judgement, Eli and Allester: Round Three commenced. This time, everything was different. Not only were we in our early thirties, we had already lost each other twice; neither of us wanted to go through that again.
On June 22, 2015, on Allester’s 32nd birthday, he proposed as we embarked a family weekend cruise. The whole year leading up to our July 9th, 2016 wedding was, in a word, peaceful. It was meant to be. In truth, there were very little obstacles placed in our way. Things just flowed naturally and evenly.
When we finally became husband and wife on that glorious summer night, the joy, peace and love that surrounded us was palpable. I took the advice of many brides whom I love when they told me, “Savor each moment. It will fly by.”
I share this story not to brag or boast, but simply to gently serve as a testament that love never fails. That if something is meant to be, no one can take it away from you. And that if something or someone is ever taken away from you, it is simply to make space for what’s even better.