Friday, August 24, 2007

Better To Have Loved and Lost, Part 1

As some of you know, I have been writing a book about my family and my travels around the world. One of the areas that came to mind was about a women that I once was in love with, but I was never able to make anything happen with. So in the next few posts I will tell some of my stories. It is almost the Shabbat (Sabbath) here in Israel and this one came to mind.

In the Beginning

Her name was DeLana. I first met DeLana in 1997 during a visit to Baylor University in Waco, TX. I made a special trip there because earlier that year I had met a fellow member of Phi Beta Sigma in Florida at a national conference who had told me stories of a chapter full of beautiful Zeta’s (short for members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.) in Texas. He had stated that he met some of them at the conference and he could not remember exactly where the chapter was located. The best part of it was that at that time there were no Sigma’s (short for member’s of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.) on the campus. After hearing this I knew that I had to find out where this chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was located.

I was told of a chapter of Zeta’s on a college campus with no Sigmas. Of course with very little information to go on I quickly forgot all about this illusive chapter of Zeta’s. It was not until the fall semester of the 1997 school year that I met a Zeta named Malina at a Phi Beta Sigma event at Texas A&M University. Malina had mentioned that she attended Baylor University and that there were no Sigmas at Baylor. She further stated that it would be good if Sigmas from other campus’ could come to support the Zeta’s there. A few weeks passed and I decided that I needed to take some time away from my life at Prairie View A&M University, and I remembered Malina’s offer. Also, some of my father’s family lived in Waco. So this trip could be a perfect fit, I cold do my Sigma duty and visit my family at the same time. So I gave Malina a call to tell her that I was planning to be in the area. She mentioned that she would not be in town that week, but that she would tell the other Zeta’s that I was coming.

When I arrived at Baylor University and met the Zeta’s there I realized that some of them were at the Sigma convention where I had first heard about a chapter of Zeta’s in Texas where there were no Sigma’s. I had finally found the elusive chapter and I can say that I felt like I was in heaven. The Zeta’s were not only beautiful but also intelligent and caring. During my state at Baylor I was inspired by these ladies who represented finer woman; especially by one Zeta in particular name DeLana.

DeLana caught my eye because she was delightful and charming. She was one of those women that could stop traffic with her captivating looks and her graceful walk. One day during my visit I spent time showing her the photo album that I had been putting together since I became a member of Sigma. DeLana had already graduated from Baylor about a year before my travels there. It was because of Zeta’s like her that I began to contemplate transferring to Baylor so I could be around more often as well as to possibly start a chapter of Phi Beta Sigma. This idea of transferring never materialized, but I did end traveling to Baylor or to Texas A&M University whenever I heard that the Zeta’s from Baylor would be there.

In most of my travels around Texas the Baylor Zeta’s and Delana were there and it was a great pleasure to see her there. It was during one of these chance meetings that I eventually asked her for her phone number and began to call her. She soon became my favorite Zeta and hearing from her was always a joy for me. She always had an understanding ear and was very easy to talk to. I found immense value in her opinions and I often sought her advice on various matters. Often I joked with her of how I was receiving free psychology advice since her area of expertise was in Psychology.

As time passed we became close when she had moved to San Antonia to live with her family since her father was diagnosed with cancer. It was during this time that I started to develop feelings for her and I found myself including her and her family in my prayers. I was living in Houston at the time while I was finishing my BS in Electrical Engineering at Prairie View A&M University. There was even a short time where I contemplated trying to find a job in San Antonio in order to be closer to her. Yet, that was a drastic decision since I was more into big city life.

I wanted with all my heart to travel to San Antonio and visit her in her time of need, but at that time I was struggling financially and it was as if The Divine Presence had different plans. As DeLana’s father became more ill I felt so helpless because I could not go to her and comfort her. It was then that her pain became my pain and I think that it was this time that I began to harbor strong feelings for her.

The First Proposal

In 1999 I came up with a plan to try and get more attention from DeLana in order to convince her that I was viable marriage candidate. A scheme came to me after a conversation with DeLana about marriage and what a man would have to do to convince her to marry him. In a casual conversation I asked her the following question, “So what does a good man have to do to get you to consider him as marriage material?” She took my question in a joking manner, and she mentioned how she is a logical thinker and a man who wanted to marry her would almost have to lay out a careful and organized case. So I responded, “So what you are saying is that a man would almost have to make a presentation to you or a report to show the pros and cons?” She laughed and responded jokingly, “Yes, I guess he would have to do something like that.” It was then that the synopsis in my brain began to fire and a plan began to formulate. After we got off the phone I turned off the lights in my apartment, took hold of a flashlight, shined it on my face, and gave a diabolical laugh.

DeLana was definitely a logical thinker and so was I. I felt very strongly that I really had to win her over and maybe putting together a detailed report showing her that I was a good man and that I really cared for her was the way to do it. So I spent about a month working on a well-crafted document to present to DeLana. This report was one of the crowning achievements of my life and I took great joy in putting it together. The report included a history of our friendship and how I began to realize that she was such a wonderful person. It further detailed how I began to have feelings for her and that I wanted to prove that I was a good match for her. The report included key points such as pictures of us together showing how good we could look as a couple as well as personal references of people who could speak to my morality and behavior. The report ended with charts and graphs highlighting how her happiness level would increase over the years as well as how the stock market would soar to new highs if she married me.

When I felt that I had put enough time and effort into the presentation I sent it to DeLana. I spoke to her on the phone after she read it and she said that she really enjoyed receiving it and reading it. She also had a few good laughs from her family on it, but she really appreciated it. In order to gauge its affect I mentioned to her, “I know before all of this I was probably sitting at a stead fast no, but I have at least moved up to a maybe?” She replied, “Yes, you have definitely moved up to a maybe.” For that day I was satisfied with DeLana’s response and I relaxed in bed that night to a good comfortable sleep. For I would arise another day to woo her even more.

Mission Impossible, or Mission Possible?

In 2000 I thought I had a full proof plan to win DeLana over and it was all tied to her up and coming birthday. When we spoke about her birthday I would ask her what she wanted, but she kept telling me that I didn’t have to get her anything. No matter how much I pressed her she would not give in until one day she said, “If you really want to get me something you can just give me a phone call.”

It was then that the romantic and creative sides of my brain had a tactical meeting. As the meeting progressed it was determined that all the stops had to be pulled out this time. The creative in me stated, “Something had to be done that would put all other surprises DeLana received to shame.” The romantic side of my brain responded, “Yes, I agree, but it also has to invoke a sense of love and intrigue to where we will go down in the annals of romance.” Both sides agreed that even if DeLana was to say no to this last advance it would have to be something where saying no would be one of the hardest decisions she would ever make. With both sides in agreement they began to mark up a strategy on the chalkboard of my mind. Once the perfect plan had been concocted the theme song to Mission Impossible began to play and it was time to get to work. DeLana would receive a surprise for her birthday that would hopefully top anything that she could imagine.

It all began with me checking in at her job to get their exact address and making sure that she definitely worked in the building. This was confirmed by a phone call about a month and half before her birthday. The next step of the operation was for me to call a florist who could deliver to San Antonio and this phone call was made about two weeks before her birthday. I gave the florist an elaborate list of details to be followed exactly. I received a lot of credit from the florist for the creativity of the plan. The last phase of the plan was for me to purchase a flight to San Antonio and a rental car in the city. All preparations for my grand last ditched plan were complete and all that was left was to wait and bide my time.

So the day of DeLana came and I can only imagine that she went to work not expecting the day that she received. As the morning came my plan began to unfold as such. For those readers who have the theme song to Mission Impossible I would suggest you go and turn it on right now and keep it on repeat until you finish this section.
  1. One set of flowers would arrive at DeLana’s job at her desk. There would be 12 white carnations, a white dove with 3 pearls around its neck, and a note that stated, “From a secret admirer who will surprise you two more times today. Enjoy the suspense.”
  2. A second set of flowers was set to arrive at DeLana’s home later in the day. This set had 12 white roses, a white dove with 5 pearls around its neck, and a note that stated, “From a secret admirer who will surprise you one more time today. Delight in the anticipation."
  3. That is when I would arrive at DeLana’s door after coming off of a flight from California to San Antonio, TX.
So I now digress to my travel from Oakland to San Antonio to surprise DeLana. For about a month I had been telling all of my co-workers and friends about my plan to surprise DeLana on her birthday. So when the big day came I felt like I was getting ready to go out and play in the Super-bowl. The excitement stayed with me even on the plane. I was telling everyone in the airport and on the flight what I was going to do. Married couples on the plane started giving me marriage advice and when I left the plane people were rooting for me.

When I arrived in San Antonio I checked with the florist and phase 1 of the plan had gone through without a hitch. I wished I could have seen DeLana’s face when she saw the flowers and the note on her desk at work. I began to think about what I should say to her upon my arrival at her mother’s house where the second set of flowers were set to arrive. It must have been about 6:00 p.m. when I arrived at her home. Yet, there was only one problem. My ears had been affected by the altitude and the pressure on the airplane and I could barely hear. Much of my conversation with people upon landing was with me saying, “What did you say?”

I got out of the car and I began to make my way to the front door. It was then that her brother pulled into the driveway and got out of his car. I introduced myself and he stated that he remembered me from the proposal I sent DeLana about why she should consider me for marriage. He said that it was really nice and then he went to the side of the house. So now the moment of truth had arrived. All my hopes and dreams lay on the other side of the front door. It seemed like the gates to paradise and with one knock I could finally enter them. I knocked on the door and DeLana answered it in shock. As she stood there in surprise to see me, I told her, “I know that you told me that you only wanted a phone call for your birthday, but I didn’t have a quarter so I decided to stop by and say happy birthday to you personally.”

DeLana was somewhat speechless and she could not stop saying how I caught her by surprise. Both sets of flowers arrived on time and like clockwork. DeLana mentioned that she could not figure out who they were from until I arrived at the door. I met DeLana’s mother and her pet dog and I enjoyed finally seeing the fruits of my planning and labor. Yet, for me it was more than just a personal satisfaction. It also made me feel so good to see that DeLana was happy. Later that night I went to dinner with her and her family to celebrate her birthday. As we talked I kept asking for them to repeat themselves because I still could not hear very well due to the affects of the flight from California.

When we returned to her house it was late and I needed to make a 4 to 5 hour drive to Prairie View A&M University. We talked outside of her house, yet I was still having problems hearing. I again wished her a happy birthday and let her know how happy I was to see her again and that I missed her. We agreed to meet up before I left to fly back to California. I had hoped that she would call me at some point, and I agreed with myself that if she didn’t call then that must have meant that I needed to move on. It would be regarded on my part as a sign of her desire to not to pursue a relationship if she did not call back.

I didn’t hear from her when I was at Prairie View and because of how long it took to get back to San Antonio I didn’t get a chance to see her before I left. Months went by after I returned to California and I didn’t hear from her. I could not understand why she didn’t call me. Didn’t I make an impression on her? Where did I fail? At that point I concluded that it was never to be so I slowly let go of my feelings for DeLana.

Years later I found out that DeLana did not call because she thought I was going to call her. No matter the case this part of things may have been a miscommunication, but I think it was more. Maybe it was fate that we did not end up together. Our lives since that time have gone in different directions and it more than likely would have been difficult for us to have been together with my path that I am walking.

The Final Analysis

I could never convince DeLana that I would be a wonderful husband for her. For whatever reason our realities were different even though it took me a while to figure it out. I guess I just didn’t have all the right stuff and I really wished I could have showered her with my love, but alas I could not. With DeLana I can say that it was better to have loved and tried than to have never tried at all.

It is more than possible that I was not the right man for her, no matter how much I wanted to be. Maybe her role in my life was to teach me how to love someone without concern for what I would receive in return. I can only imagine how different life would have been if I had been able to win her over. Yet, as a French poet once said, “It is the great ambition of women to inspire love.” If this was the sole purpose that God put her in my path for that time, then her mission was accomplished with honors. I recently found out that DeLana will be married later this year (2007), so congratulations to her.


Tr8erGirl said...

Aw - such a bittersweet story! Don't worry - (and I'm sure you aren't!) When its the right girl, you won't need to convince her - she will KNOW! Have a great shabbos!

Wanda said...

O my what a sweet story! I can't believe you didn't get a call back! Like you say though, maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Consider yourself somewhat lucky, that someone who wasn't sure, didn't just go through with a marriage just because. Good luck in the future though and have a wonderful Shabbos.

Miriam said...

So sad and so tender! What a beautiful romantic story. Wow! to actually show up, after flowers upon flowers! Truly romantic!

I wonder really why she didn't go for it. But alas, it was probably destiny.

Ehav Ever said...

Thanks to you all for your comments. In terms of why DeLana didn't go for it, I never asked her. I think it simply wasn't meant to be. Sometimes we all have our own concerns. I was just glad to have known her during that time of my life. She was one of my best friends during that time, and looking back maybe that was what I needed for that moment. I still find joy in remembering that time, and I am including it in my book.

For a large part of my life I was very self-centered until I met her. She helped change that about me, and I think that may have been her purpose in my life. She recently found the guy that is right for her, so that makes me happy for her. So all ended for the best.

I have a few more stories like this I will post.

Bohemian Hippie Chick said...

Beautiful story Ehav! I've always thought that people enter our lives to teach us something. It's a wise person that realizes and accepts the lesson.

Ehav Ever said...

Thanks BHC,

I completely agree.