I was living in Madrid, Spain, during the fall of 2003 for graduate school, but had to move back in with my parents in Georgia in January 2004 due to a serious illness. Two weeks later, I heard of a girl who had moved to Madrid. We had some mutual friends, and I kept hearing of this “Kelly Wills.” I was intrigued, but she was an ocean away, and I was in a wheelchair.
In September 2007, I was ready to move back to Madrid! I had recovered, finished my degree, and I was ready for more! But, I still didn’t get to meet Kelly, as I moved to Madrid two weeks after she had left for the States on furlough. I got to know her roommates, her co-workers, and even helped out at her church while she was away. Later on, I would find out that all of these people were talking me up to her.
And one day in early December, I got an e-mail from Kelly Wills. She was asking if I wanted to still help out with the music at church once she got back to Madrid in January. “I’d be happy to help out,” I replied. “It’ll be good to finally meet you!” We e-mailed and Skyped over Christmas, and I was really getting excited to meet her in January! We went out with some friends a couple of times then made plans to go to a musical on Madrid’s Broadway, Gran Vía. We chatted and texted over the next week or so making plans for our big date. And it was on that first date that I asked her a very serious question as we were finding our seats.
“Do you want to be my girlfriend now? Or later?” She hesitated for a second. I took her hand and looked reassuringly into her eyes.
“We both know that you’re going to be my girlfriend,” I started. “So is it now, or is it later?”
“Now!” she gushed, smiling and giving my arm an extra squeeze.
After the show, we went on to dinner, where I got to know more of my new girlfriend, and we stayed out talking until way after the last train for the Metro had left. “I don’t mind walking home tonight,” I thought. Every detail came together, and to top it all off, I was starting a new chapter in my life!
Three days later, after we had gone for a jog, I blurted out, “So, where’s the wedding going to be?” This caught even me by surprise because I was usually such a cautious person. But to talk about marriage so soon was exhilarating! Here I was in another country choosing to have a life with this woman. Everything I had been before changed in that moment.
I formally proposed two months later, we married in Madrid that September and honeymooned in Morocco. We moved to Memphis a year later, and started our family about another year after that. Sometimes our lives in Madrid seem like a dream, but despite the daily grind, it’s comforting to hold my wife in my arms and remember that we’re together. No matter what. No matter where.