My wife(Angela) and I will have been together 20 years this July. For those of ya'll who know me you'll find it amazing that in that time we might have had 10 arguments( Of which I was wrong on all occasions). For some reason that I have no knowledge of and certainly have never done anything to deserve, I've been blessed with this angel. Who in addition to being my life's love and best friend is also my business partner. We are literally around each other 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.
The story of how we came to find each other is worth telling.
In 1982 I was working at Kiawah Island In the recreation dept. as their bike shop manager, and Angela worked in the pool shop at the Inn and Night Heron.
That summer we tried an experiment of renting bikes from the Night Heron Pool shop prior to the opening of our new shop in the park. My brother (Roger) who was working with me spent a lot of time in the pool shop at Night Heron with Angela setting up the rental operation there.
Roger told me that the pool shop girl he was working with kept asking questions about me, but just having just broken up with a young lady that I had been seeing for 2 years I was in no rush to step back into the dating game. But my brother was persistent and at the end of one long hot workday, Rog shows up with this cute girl with amazing hazel eyes and long blonde hair, not to mention world class legs and a walk that would stop traffic. To my amazement she saunters right up and asks me on a date,,,, shocked, flattered, scared and more than a little impressed I said yes.
The following Friday I picked her up at her house and we went to dinner at the Sandbar on Folly and then a walk on the beach. I don't know if it was not being very sure of myself or just suffering from "ex-girlfriend hangover syndrome", whatever the reason the timing just didn't seem to be right, so I took her home early to her house on Johns Island. As I walked her to the door a million things went through my head, but at the moment of truth, standing face to face at her doorstep I didn't or couldn't bring myself to kiss her goodnight.
Angela took this as I just wanted to be friends and true to her sweet nature never held it against me. Fate is a fickle master.
Two days later at a recreation party at the Styles Point mansion, I met a girl. She was a recreation intern from the University of South Alabama who later went on to be, first my room mate on Folly Beach and later my 1st wife. Lynda Leigh was from Brewton Alabama and an old and established southern family (Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, and yes I swear to God Mayflower descendants) anyway you get the picture. So in 1985 we were wed in front of over 300 guests, Angela amongst them. She had traveled all the way to South Alabama with a group of Charleston friends and on the night before I was wed, if truth be known we went swimming together, completely innocent.' (I say Skinny Dipping she doesn't remember it that way, but this is my story so Skinny Dipping it was)
I was married to my first wife for 5 grueling years of verbal combat in which I would literally wake up every morning and say "I'm sorry", just so I could get one ahead. By the end we were masters in psychological warfare. I've heard it said that its not the chances you didn't get, but the chances you didn't take that haunt you and I believe that to be true. Over the years I would have this re-occuring thought about Angela, our date, and the kiss we never had. Always there, it was a constant theme of my dreams. Almost obsession like it was never far from my waking thoughts. For years I kept wandering where I would be today, but for that decision.
After 5 years of all out war Lynda Leigh and I parted ways. So at the end of my last semester at the University of West Florida I packed a suitcase(I took nothing but the clothes I owned) and moved back to Charleston. My plan, simple,,,work myself to death. I went back to work managing Kiawahs' Bike Shop Monday - Friday, and on weekends I worked for IVS media as a media Tech, at night I delivered Pizza for Alano's on Seabrook. Sleep was becoming a memory as I tried to erase the mistakes of the last five years from my mind.
One evening while delivering pizza to Seabrooks front desk late, I was amazed to find that the pretty night auditor at the front desk who was waiting for her dinner was non other than the girl I had thought so much about for all those years. After a few minutes of catching up and small talk I knew I couldn't make the same mistake twice, that somehow for some reason I was being allowed to correct a choice made so badly, so long ago. It was my turn this time and I asked her out right there and then. I had to know what I had missed, what had haunted me for so long.
Angela though would not go out with me until she saw my divorce papers. So we made a date contingent of me bringing the papers when I went to pick her up. So on Saturday night I show up, paperwork in hand, praying for the movie to end so that I might make it back to her front door with enough courage to see this through. That night when I took her home, we kissed for the first time. It was like we bonded, right there and then from two people into one like mind. Gone was the pain and turmoil of the previous years only to be replaced with wide eyed optimism and peace. Two years later I surprised everyone at a table for 12 at California Dreaming, including myself when I asked Angel to marry me and she said yes.
God if we only knew then what we know now, how much pain could we save ourselves? But the answer is never easy and it's not supposed to be. We have to earn the things we love and fight for those we want and all in all, 5 years with the devil herself was a small price to pay for 20 years with an Angel,,,,My Angel.