I was staying at the Mondrian hotel in Miami, one of my favorite hotels in the city, particularly for its astonishing bay views and miraculous poolside amenities. I was enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon on the 13th day of March in the year of 2011 with my sister and a few close friends. My time in Miami was being split between business and pleasure. Wesley, on the other hand, was visiting the hotel after being dismissed from a private yacht party, which is so prevalent in the South Beach lifestyle. Upon arrival off the boat, Wesley and his friends received a rude awakening and were asked to leave. Nonetheless, his denial of entry to that party opened the door for an opportunity to meet the woman of his dreams and ultimately change the rest of his life.
My sister and I were soaking up the sun and relishing in the Miami ambiance. Our primary focus was to enjoy girl time and appreciate the environment around us. In doing so, we were being spotted by a couple of well-established gentlemen that wanted nothing other than to entertain our presence. To them, we appeared to be necessary company at the moment. Who would have known that that initial desire for conversation would turn into a lasting impression for both of us that would continue for a lifetime.
As Wesley and his close friend walked up to us there was quite a bit of skepticism as to whether we were even open to conversation, because our demeanor appeared to be extremely unapproachable. The guys witnessed a number of suitors attempting to talk to us who were briefly turned away for reasons they were unable to decipher. But as they built up their courage, after already having one disappointment for the day, they decided to speak…. “Hello, I’m Wes…”
As our eyes met there was a spark that ignited, sending a fire to his heart, which led him to believe that he had found the woman that he would spend his life with. They say love at first sight is cliché, but in our story, nothing could have been more authentic.
The conversation was standard. “Where are you from?” I responded, “Cincinnati, Ohio.” With Wesley being molded in his adult life from the city of Lexington, KY, where he attended the University of Kentucky and played four years with their football program, we began to share some things in common.
It was the Midwest familiarity that piqued my interest. “Where do you live?” he asked. I responded, “Atlanta.” This turned out to be another common interest. I had been living in the Atlanta area for the last 7 years and Wesley is a Georgia native. Being born and raised from LaGrange GA, which is only 40 miles south of Atlanta, left us feeling that this could be an interesting match. “What do you do?” he continued to inquire. “I am the general manager of a restaurant in Atlanta,” I replied. Wesley always wanted to have a successful restaurant business post-football, so that too gave us the confirmation that this conversation could lead to something substantial, and it did.
As we continued to converse I notice a brand on Wesley’s arm that was very familiar to me. “You must be a Que.” I say confidently. He was shocked by my knowledge of the brand, which was a representation of his fraternity Omega Psi Phi that he pledged at the University of Kentucky. “What do you know about that?” he asks with a smile. “My father is a Que. He started the chapter at Bowling Green State University,” I responded. I have a great love and respect for my father, so that too opened my heart and further allowed Wesley the opportunity to come in. After a brief pause, Wesley looked at me and said, “I could talk to you forever.” At that moment I began to blush, not because he seemed to blurt those words out prematurely, but because the feeling was mutual and the attraction was genuine.
As we agreed to meet for dinner that night at Prime Italian, we both were filled with anticipation. Three hours had gone by, and we each prayed that our second encounter would exceed our first. Was that even possible? During those three hours, we were so consumed with each other that we could hardly stop texting long enough to get ready. When I finally arrived to the restaurant I was seated at the table waiting patiently for Wesley to enter. As Wesley walked in, I almost didn’t recognize him. He was freshly cut and clean-shaven with a crisp white button down shirt, a pair of blue jeans and some slip on John Varvatos loafers. A very different look from the full beard and mini-afro he was rocking earlier that day. I was impressed. As he sat next to me, I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “you clean up very nice Wesley.”
Just as I anticipated, our second encounter exceeded our first. That night was filled with fine dining, lychee martinis, remarkable conversation, great music and plenty of dancing. From then on, Wesley and I were inseparable. Wesley’s humility, generosity and love for Christ continued to woo me for months to come and on the 12th day of July in the year of 2012, he proposed. We both have found a partnership that matches none other.