Twenty years ago, Richard and I had been dating for right around three weeks. I was just about to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and he was doing tech, which meant he was the person pulling me up in the balloon at the end of the play.
But that wasn't the miraculous part.
We were planning to exchange presents at a Valentine's Day party, and a day prior I still didn't have anything to give him. I'd thought about chocolates, about all the typical crap, but nothing felt right.
Finally, late into the night, I wrote him a poem. It was a pretty cheesy sonnet, and I won't make your eyes bleed by posting it here. But if I'd really read it then, I would never have given it to him. Three weeks in, I had written him a poem pretty much asking him to spend the rest of his life with me.
A scary thing to send a barely boyfriend who was still 18.
I wrote it in calligraphy on parchment, then rolled it up with a red ribbon, not telling my parents what I'd done so they could talk me out of it. I saved the poem in my coat, and then, when we were together, I handed it to him.
He opened it and read it while I waited, not breathing.
I know what he should have done. He should have shown me his deer-in-the-headlights look, folded it up, gulped, and said we needed to talk (or something like that).
But here's where the miracle happened.
He didn't run. He didn't get scared. His eyes got pretty glossy, though, and he didn't speak right away, but rolled up the parchment carefully and tucked it into his coat pocket. Then we reached the party, and not even five minutes later, he was showing the poem to everybody, bragging on me, telling everybody what a lucky guy he was. I saw several other guys get the deer-in-the-headlights look, but that didn't seem to phase him at all.
Not even three days later, I noticed the poem, carefully framed and glassed, in his dorm room right next to his bed. And it's still there today, on our nightstand, right next to where he sleeps.
The poem was prophetic on my part, but the grace with which he accepted his destiny--accepted me--will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Today, I am grateful for miracles.