I moved in my bed, forcing myself to fall back asleep. I could hear laughter, lively conversation and dishes clinking downstairs. My dad had mentioned that two of his grad school friends were visiting along with their son this weekend. I had landed in LA a few hours prior and fell asleep immediately after finishing an inpatient contract spanning several weeks in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Several hours of fatigued sleep later, however, I was hungry. I had to eat. My brother had ordered Thai earlier and curry was waiting for me in the refrigerator. You have to meet them and say hi, my brain warned. I hated small talk and I dreaded entertaining guests, being asked questions like, “when are you getting married?” or, “do you cook beta?” by match making aunties. Eventually though, I ran out of sleep and patience. I came downstairs in my PJs and quietly opened the refrigerator, hoping to leave unnoticed. How silly.
I was spotted and a kind voice asked my dad which daughter I was. My dad responded proudly and I stepped into the dining room where the guests were seated. I saw my parents, my brother, an older couple and a young man sitting with easy smiles and relaxed postures. They were having fun, I remember thinking. There was nothing stiff or formal about their evening.
I said hello, answered a few questions and saw their son. I immediately felt something. He’s the one who was laughing, I thought, remembering the deep laughter I heard occasionally from upstairs. He had an easy smile, broad shoulders, a beautiful magnetic, kind energy that I was immediately drawn to.
My brother introduced us and I think he might have said one sentence to me (about a Netflix suggestion of a Mafia show that he revealed later he hoped impressed me) before they left. I was curious about him and I wondered if I’d see him again.
A few days later, he found me on Instagram and a few months later, we started talking. We talked, on average, four hours a day everyday. Over text, he reached out every hour to tell me something about his day. Over time, I saw his sweet vulnerability, quiet determination and solid character. He was honest. He was an open book. He was becoming an integral part of my life, someone I thought of every few minutes, pictured in my new apartment, in my future and eventually, old age. Eventually, we planned out vacation destinations, discussed our hopes and dreams for the future as we fell asleep.
Easily, like second nature, as if there was no surprise, we said we loved each other and planned out the next year that would include moving and a wedding.
Very quickly, very clearly, I realized he was special. He was both vulnerable and confident. He was both strong and kind. He knew exactly what and who he wanted. He confessed later that after 10 seconds of us meeting, he saw the possibility of us getting married. Although he shared similarities with others — such as his compassion, intelligence and good nature — Aalam is distinctly special from anyone I’ve ever met; there is something about him that I can’t quite pinpoint that has me hooked.
When he asked me why this is different, I could come up with a million reasons why I wanted to marry him.
Here are just a few reasons out of thousands why he’s the one.