I turned into the lot and parked close to the entrance. Before exiting my car, I popped a stick of gum in my mouth. I grabbed the bag of gummy bears and hid it in my jacket. They were a surprise for Nadia. Once I closed my car, I headed on across the street. It was Sunday, November 1st, sometime in the early afternoon. I was on my way to a party…
It was almost a month since our first date with Nadia, and a couple weeks since she became my girlfriend. Over the past few weeks we went on several more dates. One time, I took her on a surprise whale watching trip. On October 27th, exactly one month after we met, I made another surprise for her. I asked her mom if I could come over on that day without Nadia knowing. She agreed, and the plan worked. I arrived a bit earlier than when Nadia came home from college. When she drove up to the house, I met her with a bouquet of thirty-one white roses.
During this time, I also had some other big changes happen in my life. Namely, I had moved out of my parents’ house. My cousin, my friend, and I were now living in our own apartment in Puyallup as roommates. We were three kings of one kingdom, living the bachelor life. My cousin was an electrician’s apprentice, my friend was a maintenance technician, and I was a delivery driver. Between the three of us, we were able to afford a nice two bedroom apartment. My cousin and I split the master bedroom, while my friend took the second room. We signed a six-month lease and were excited about our new arrangement.
I quite enjoyed this period of life. I was blessed with a great apartment, plenty of food, loving parents, loyal friends, and a budding relationship. I learned and grew a lot during this time. It was also my favorite season of the year – Autumn. I love autumn for its’ beauty and poignancy. It is always a time when I find great inspiration for poetry. It was especially so in that particular year, with everything that was going on in my life.
The day after this part of the story takes place, I wrote one of my favorite poems – Just A Plant:
You place me in rich and abundant soil
You hide me from the wind and cold
Protect me from those that would despoil
In Your hands You gently hold
You set me on a stable surface
Keep me grounded, rooted, strong
You fill my life with eternal purpose
Your plans for me are never wrong
Water sweet, good and refreshing
You pour daily over me
Every moment is a blessing
Oh, how good You are to me
You can see from what I am sharing and from my poem that this was a happy time in my life. I was absolutely elated. But, this is not what my story is about. Let’s return to November 1st – one of the most memorable days of my life. Nadia had invited me to a family party, celebrating her grandfather’s birthday. A large portion of Nadia’s extended family were gathered at the home of Nadia’s aunt and uncle in Tacoma, where I had met Nadia for the first time over a month ago.
By this point, I was quite familiar and comfortable with Nadia’s parents, but I was nervous about meeting the rest of her family. As I walked up to the house, I said a quick prayer. I brushed my worries aside and knocked on the door. The sun was shining in my eyes, so when the door swung open, all I saw was a dark big silhouette…