Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Sight

December 22, 2004

It was early in the morning. As I got ready I tried to turn on as few lights as possible with the rationale that if I never fully woke up, I'd easily be able to fall back asleep on the plane. No makeup. Hair in a ponytail. Wearing a tee-shirt. Wait…December in Illinois is really cold. I looked around the destruction zone commonly referred to as the bedroom of a college student home on Christmas break about to fly to visit the Grandmas for the holidays. The only thing not packed or sleeveless was a long-sleeved NAU Soccer tee-shirt. It was gray and baggy but it would be warm, and it wasn’t like I was meeting my future husband that day anyway.

We flew from Phoenix to Houston, switched planes and then flew on to Indianapolis. From there my family would rent a car and drive to Illinois. I don’t remember much about the layover except for the usual awkwardness of moving about in a warm airport while trying to manage your purse, carry-on bag, sweater and coat on various modes of airport transportation.

We waited around at the baggage claim. Mom and I guarded our pile of belongings while JP and Dad fished for our checked luggage. I glanced over my shoulder and made eye contact with a man standing several yards away. He was young but older than I was. Very handsome, dark features. He was standing with his own family, wearing a black jacket and an orange scarf. He was sort of leaning back on his heels, arms crossed in front of him. Head tilted back and a very slight smile, which I found intriguing. I don’t know what I did. I might have smiled back. I might have given him a flirtatious look.

He walked past me to grab his bag off the carousel. I noticed that it was a gigantic duffel bag with the ADIDAS brand on it. I had some fleeting thought about a shared interest in sports.

And then he was gone.

We didn't speak. When I flew home a few days later I would look around the waiting area to see if he was on my flight. He wasn’t. He slipped from my mind. I’d never see him again. He’d been A Passing Stranger.

Seven years later I’m flying to Indiana again. The man with the scarf will be in the seat beside me. I'll carry his ring on my finger and our daughter on my lap.


  1. Wow! What an amazing love story! It's funny that I was right beside you and didn't know what a historic moment it was for you and our family. I also love "the rest of the story" of how Michael found you and the romantic way you got to know each other. (Perhaps that is another post.) I love you and Michael and your loving family. Merry Christmas. See you soo.

  2. Aww this is just too sweet. I have tears right now.

  3. Not nice to read while I'm hormonal. :op :*)

  4. Not nice to read while I'm hormonal. :op :*)

  5. I LOVE this story. Beautifully written, Julie! Merry Christmas and safe travels!

  6. Is there a post about the rest of the story?!?!?

  7. Thanks everyone!

    I plan on writing the rest of the story in another blog post (or three)!

  8. Julie Jules: Yes, I was there, too, with my usual Sharp Eyes Washington observation skills, I saw him looking at immediate thoughts were that I should have one of my guns from my gun collection.

    Of course, you know that is not true....I don't even have a gun collection!!!

    God works in strange and wondrous ways: as you well remember, your college soccer experiences were certainly challenging at that time....but without your wearing your NAU soccer sweatshirt (with the teeny tiny number embroidered on the back), this perfect stranger (and, certainly don't want Michael getting a big head from that description!) would not have been able to find you.

    We love you all.....Anonymous Dad