Desperately lonely at only 17 years old may not be normal, but so many things had happened in my life to make me feel like my world was crashing down. Growing up poor had never been easy, but somehow I managed to live my life around it. My mother, a single mother offour, was struggling to 1)make ends meet working at our local McDonalds. I was the oldest and just a year before had all the hopes and dreams of any normal 16 year old girl. I was moderately attractive and at times, 2)perky and outgoing. Always striving to do my best, I managed to squeeze out some pretty good grades. I took college 3)prep classes in the hopes of someday being a nurse.
However, poverty 4)whisked my dream away. My mother could not afford our four tuition fees and she had to start making me stay home from school during days she worked day shift to care for my 3-year-old brother. Eventually I quit school. My dreams of going to college were washed away in the blink of an eye. I was now assuming the role of a mother to my little brother, taking on all the responsibility of any stay at home mom. When my mother worked nights, my responsibility grew to two additional children, who were school aged, and all that it 5)entailed. Most nights I would go to bed exhausted and depressed. I often wondered if my life was ever going to change. I would not cry to my mother about my pitiful life because I did not wish to upset her. I was feeling like I had no way out. It even occurred to me that fortune did not favor me and my life was done.
One of my friends tried to enlighten me by telling me that she worked with a young man who had a younger brother my age, who just moved here from 6)Cincinnati, 7)Ohio and didn’t know anyone. She got his number and wanted me to give him a call. I was not interested at all but loneliness overwhelmed me and I needed to find my way out. I tried to call one afternoon and got his older brother. The brother, Brandon, said that the one who I was calling for, Scott, was in Cincinnati for the week visiting old friends. But he invited me to a party that evening and said Scott would show up. My friend and I went to that party that evening and she introduced me to the brother she was working with, Brandon. No sooner were we introduced, at that very moment, and in walked a boy I had never seen in town before. The moment he walked in, our eyes locked. I honestly could not hear what everyone else was saying. And to my surprise, he was walking right up to me, my friend and Brandon. All of a sudden, Brandon looked at me, and said, “By the way, this is my brother, Scott!”
I was lost in my own thoughts, while gazing into his eyes. I 8)fumbled over my words. He repeated, “This is my brother Scott...Scott, this is Tara.” We simultaneously said hello and shook hands. But when we shook, we held on for just a moment longer than most. Among the 9)rustle and 10)bustle of the restaurant, I was in my own little world. Happiness came over me and we had a wonderful evening. When I got home, he called me and we talked for 5 hours. Two days later, he came to visit at my house with a single rose in hand. Shortly after, young love blossomed, and in 6 months, we were engaged.
Mother was uncomfortable with our engagement because she thought we were too young to get engaged. Love injected a thread of hope and joy into my life and for the first time I truly believed that I had my fate in my hands. On November 13th,1993, one week after my 18th birthday, we exchanged vows in front of our close friends and family. Many were unhappy about our wedding. They informed us that we wouldn’t last 3 months. Last year we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary!
Life is not easy for young couples. We have endured many trials and 11)tribulations in our time together. We survived financial hardships, the death of both of his parents, loss of jobs, sickness, and most recently, our house burnt down. We lost everything but our lives. What hasn’t killed us, has only made us stronger.
We had each other and fought fate to make things better. I even got to start nursing school in 2000. We made a commitment to each other when we were probably too young. But we knew we loved each other from the start. Who knows where I’d be today had fate not thrown me into that restaurant all those years ago. I recognize the limitations of my fate but most importantly I recognize the vastness of the possibilities we control with our free will. While we cannot do absolutely anything, we can do so many things that we can consistently surprise ourselves, and make our lives as unique and meaningful as we wish.