How We Met
If “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”…I find it very fitting that it was the literal theater stage where Malcolm and I met. It was at our alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and the African American Arts Alliance (4A) was gearing up for their annual Fall production. Being a Theatre Arts major it was only natural that I audition for the show, but not so much for Malcolm who was studying Finance and Management at the Wharton School of Business. And yet, as luck would have it, Malcolm did audition for the show at the request of a friend–there was a shortage of male actors supposedly. We were both cast in the show, and we had ample time to get to know each other through rehearsals…and watching baseball. It just so happens that my Philadelphia Phillies were playing in the World Series against his New York Yankees that same fall! So while it would be about nine months until we officially began dating, we met and became friends thanks to our love of sports and a chance meeting on the stage. Thank God for players: both the baseball and acting kinds!
How They Asked
Again, if “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”…Malcolm played his role perfectly. Weeks leading up to what would be the day he proposed, I was under the impression that we were joining some friends of ours on a couple’s outing. I had booked a performance opportunity that was taking place in the early evening, so we agreed to spend Saturday morning hanging out. As we were about to walk into what I thought was brunch or something of the sort, Malcolm calmly turned to me and said: “I need you to put on this blindfold and these earphones.” I started laughing, because this was very much like him, always surprising me one way or another–I had no idea what was in store. Ears covered and eyes closed, he guided me on what felt like an obstacle course from Nickelodeon’s Double Dare 2000! Finally, he sat me down in a chair, removed the headphones but kept the blindfolds on me. Suddenly I hear the voice of Malcolm’s mother, reciting what sounds like my biography.
Then I hear the voice of his father, joining in and reading what seemed like a biography of Malcolm. I was totally confused but thoroughly enjoyed hearing them talk about our lives. As the “story” progressed, they started reading about the day and way Malcolm and I met. Just as this was happening, I heard the voice of not only MY father but my mother as well! Still uncertain as to what was even happening, I started to break down crying–they were the last people I expected to hear being as though they live in Philadelphia and we were currently in New York (where we live). As it turned out, Malcolm wrote an entire script centered around him and I and our love story– and he cast our parents to play the “actors”–taking it back to our theater beginnings. As the story concluded on the retelling of our past, Malcolm raised me to stand, took off my blindfold, and with Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” turning into Alicia Key’s “Unthinkable,” he asked me about our future…Eyes adjusting to the daylight, I realized we were in a rehearsal studio, of all places! The exact studio that I have auditioned and rehearsed, as well as giving lessons in. As my eyes settled, I saw our parents smiling faces and he gets down on one knee as he asked: “Will you marry me?” I was ecstatic, not only at the idea of marrying my best friend, but he could not have planned a more perfect proposal! I dried my tears, hugged and kissed him a million times, and then we actually did go to that brunch after all, but with our parents. I still had my performance to do, so I said my temporary goodbyes and went to work…on cloud 9 I might add.
At the end of my show, Malcolm met me, told me to change into a dress he packed for me, and informed me we were going to dinner to celebrate. As we were in the Uber, he informed me that he had one last surprise for me and that I had to put on the blindfold ONE LAST TIME. I should have known he would have more up his sleeve! He took me inside a building, walked me up some stairs, and took off the blindfold but told me to keep my eyes closed. I was then instructed to repeat aloud what he was whispering in my ear, and it was: “I know you are all here to celebrate my birthday, but we are actually celebrating our engagement! And I opened my eyes to the surprised faces and screams of my sisters and our best friends! He lured them all there under the guise of a surprise early birthday celebration for me! Truly the perfect beginning to our Happily Ever After….Oh, and to keep things theatrical, Malcolm took us to Paris where we shot some engagement photos :)