It’s December 31, 1999, I am newly single, barely legal, dropped 50 plus pounds and rocking the sweetest caramel colored bob in life. My friends and I decided that we were going on a girl’s trip but wouldn’t book it until we found out if the computers would go back to the year 1900 at midnight. So New Year’s Eve I sat on the phone with my friend Rosie in California, waiting for the impending doom. She was trying to see 3 hours into the future if it was the actual apocalypse, good news, it wasn’t. We lived to tell the tale of Y2K.
That’s how this all started.
Soon after surviving “the end of the world” I met a really eccentric Cuban man named Ricardo who was a Tarot Card reader and “psychic” of sorts. I was done with trying to predict the future but, I told my mother about him and within a day she booked him for a party. About a week after that, she and all of her lady-friends gathered in our house for their “Reading with Ricardo”. One-by-one they filed in to hear their future. He charged $80 a reading and since I was saving for a vacation, I opted out. My Aunt Red, god love her, insisted I get read and insisted to pay for it. I couldn’t say no to her, so there I was, cutting the deck of cards and listening to my future.
BAM! Ricardo starts telling me that I am “going to take a trip somewhere tropical” and on this trip, I “will meet a man”. He goes on “this man will have a dark complexion” and “this encounter will change your life”. If I wasn’t sitting in my own house at my mother’s makeshift Gypsy Table complete with crochet cloth, candles and crystals looking this guy dead in his eyes, I would have thought I was on set for a Dion Warwick’s Psychic Friends Hotline infomercial.
Some three months later I am boarding a plane to Miami. The card reading was forgotten about and I was ready to let loose! The trip was amazing, despite having sun poisoning by the last day. I am talking crispy red flesh, fever, nausea, and blisters on my feet from high heels I had no business wearing. I did what any responsible person with my diagnosis would, I head right over to Wet Willies on 8th Street and Ocean Avenue for one last drink.
There we sat on the balcony, four hungover ladies forcing down one more drink. At one point, we were pretty sure we saw 2 Pac Shakur crossing the street, so drinks in hand we run out to confirm the sighting. Again, this is the year 2000, 4 years after 2 Pac’s tragic death.
Sadly, it was NOT 2 Pac. At this point, we decided to head back to the hotel. I was walking ahead of the group when I heard a commotion. I turned around to find the girls holding up traffic, causing quite the stir. They were dancing in the middle of the street, acting obnoxious and I was mortified. I found a telephone pole and slid behind it in an effort to hide, it wasn’t very effective but in the moment I felt invisible.
Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind me “Are you with them?” I attempted to turn my crispy burnt flesh in the direction of the voice. As luck would have it, there was an attractive man, dark complexion with skin like silk, pointing right in the direction of the girls I was avoiding. I try to look away, as they were now being coaxed to the sidewalk by Miami-Dade’s finest.
“Who? Those girls? Noooooooooooooo.” I declared convincingly.
“Yes, those girls. I am pretty sure I saw you sitting with them up there” and he pointed to exactly where we were sitting just moments ago. Assuming I was caught, I confessed as we shared a laugh and a brief conversation.
When the girls found me, I was in the middle of writing my number down for him. All I got was his name, Rome. Rome… Roooommmmeeeee…
Vacation ends. I go home and weeks go by and he never calls. I thought about him a lot. I was kicking myself for not getting HIS number so I could control the situation. I concluded he either lost my number or I wrote it wrong due to intoxication. In my mind, there was no world in which he was intentionally not calling the red, hot, blistered babe he met in Miami with the intoxicated street dancers. But, in all honesty, there was a SPARK between us. I felt it. He had to have felt it too, who would ask for my phone number and not intend on calling it! A maniac, that’s who!
A few weeks after vacation, I got my film back from the developer. I completely forgot I had one of the girls take a picture of me and Rome with my camera. I wanted to capture that moment in time and there it was, in my hands. This was before “Missed Connections” on Craigslist or Facebook, I had a photo and a first name. This would be my only memory of “Rome” so I carefully cut it with some really sweet scrapbooking shears and added it to the dope ass collage of my “GIRLS TRIP 2000 Photo Album”.
This is the photo. (oh my heart)
I gave up on him calling me.
Then, one night I come home and my “machine” is blinking. If you were a child in the 80’s you know exactly what that meant. I played the message and there it was, “Hi Dee, this is Rome, we met in Miami, give me a call” with his New York number.
I KNEW HE FELT IT!
I was so excited, I played it back a few times to verify I wrote the number right. I pondered not calling back for a few days, you know, playing it cool. Then I waited about two minutes, picked up the phone and called him. That night we talked until the sun came up. I told him why I ended up in Miami and even told him about Ricardo’s prophesy, laughing that he was probably that guy from my tarot reading.
I wonder how many people have a picture of the minute they met their soul-mate. Think about how many things needed to line up exactly the way they did in order for me to meet this man, the man I would marry and have a child with. My better half. So sick. Right?
We are 18 years in and I am pretty confident when I say he’s the one. I knew it from the moment I saw him. You never know where you’ll find love.
Oh… And here we are today! He hasn’t aged and well, I finally got rid of that sunburn!