So, here I am…in Tampa, Florida on a Friday. It’s raining but it’s not your normal, run-of-the-mill type of rain. It’s a misty rain. As I’m sitting in this airport, looking out of the window, I’m reminded of one of the most influential moments in my life: September 12, 2008. It was living in Tokyo at the time. It was a Friday night and I was wrapping up another one of my adventures in the big city. I had just got on the 10:14pm JR East Ōme Special Rapid at Tokyo Station on my way home to Fussa. I could see from the platform that it had started to rain, something I didn’t notice as I had been deep underground on the Tokyo Metro for the 30 minutes prior. I was first in line so I had my pick of seats in the car and I took my usual seat closest to the middle right-side door. As the special rapid passed through Kanda, Ochanomizu, Yotsuya, Shinjuku, and Nakano Stations, I was tuned into the “Get With Me” playlist on my Sony Walkman MP3 Player. And like I usually did, I was looking out of the window upon the city after dark. It was that 10-minute stretch between Nakano and Mitaka that one of the tracks I was listening to was SWV’s “Rain” and then it happened: I realized that I wanted to get married.
How I first came across this moment? I was on the aforementioned special rapid. We had rolled out of Shinjuku Station headed west. I remember that the “Beauty (Remix)” by Dru Hill and Case playing. The rain was really coming down and I could see it crashing on the windows. That track lasted the entire stretch between Shinjuku and Nakano—a 5-minute non-stop stretch on the outskirts of the city center—and the very next track was SWV’s “Rain”. The track was about maybe 50 seconds or a minute in when we pulled out of Nakano for the 10-minute stretch to Mitaka. I don’t know what it was but in between those 2 train stations, I realized that I wanted to find my “good thing”…I realized I wanted to get married.
What it meant to me then? Up until that point, I had passively wanted to get married but it wasn’t an overwhelming feeling like it was that night. Five years earlier, I was head over heels in love with my first love and me and her had talked about marriage after I got settled into Air Force life. But she died in a car accident on Halloween Night 2003 and I felt like that moment passed me by though I still somewhat kept preparing myself financially for it. As I exited out of my teenage years and emerged into my 20s, it wasn’t so much about finding a wife that was important to me…it was having a child: a daughter. But on that night in Tokyo, everything changed. My mind and my heart were both overjoyed at the thought of marriage. I remember the walk home in the rain from Fussa Station and how love song after love song on that playlist added fuel to the fire. It was on that night I wrote in Triumphs & Tribulations VIII that I would turn my attention towards marriage and give an earnest effort in finding my “good thing”. I also wrote that when it came time for me to propose, I would fly that special woman to Tokyo and I would propose to her in the same place I realized I wanted to get married…between Nakano and Mitaka Stations on the JR East Ōme Special Rapid leaving Tokyo at 10:14pm.
What it means to me now? When September rolls around this year, it will have been 6 years since that moment. For me, I consider it a road to Damascus moment. At the time, my focus was purely on Juan. I was almost 5 years removed from losing my first love to a fatal car accident and I had been burned in a relationship 1 ½ years earlier. My mindset was to just finish out my Air Force contract, get me an IT job, make a lot of money, travel the world, and just do my own thing. But it all changed that day for me. I was a month shy of my 24th birthday at the time…didn’t think it would be such a long road to find my wife. And now that I’m set to turn 30 later this year, that moment isn’t lost on me at all. It weighs just as much now as it did then.