Teddi and Darren
How We Met
It’s amazing how far simply exchanging business cards will get you…
The year was 2015. The city was Minneapolis. Hundreds of aspiring young journalists had flocked to the city to participate in the annual National Association of Black Journalists convention. Darren, in a meticulously chosen gray suit and I, in my freshly pressed red Toyota polo shirt never imagined that we would cross paths, let alone, fall in love. This was the first event I had worked for Model Masters as the only hired talent, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But Valarie was sure to reassure me that NABJ was a great event and all would be well.
Unbeknownst to me, I had been dubbed “The Toyota Girl,” by Darren and his friend, now groomsman, Kelvin Washington. From a distance, they plotted their approach. I had just finished discussing Toyota’s latest developments with a few curious patrons. Darren adjusted his tie, and planned to convince me that he was shy, leaving Kelvin to do the talking.
I easily saw through Darren’s purported shyness, and once we realized that they had a few things in common, the conversation quickly downsized from a trio to a duo. He explained that he was a sports anchor, and I highlighted Toyota’s presence in the urban communities. After exchanging a few smiles and common cities that we had both lived in, Darren and Kelvin provided me with their business cards before quickly running off to meet with their next group of ESPN candidates.
After experiencing a horrible bout of food poisoning, I found myself confined to my hotel room, unable to participate in any after hours activities, thus never seeing Darren for the rest of the weekend As the weekend and convention came to a close, both I and Darren boarded our separate flights to our respective cities. I ensured that I tucked those 2 ESPN business cards away for safe keeping…or so I thought.
Upon making it home, I realized that I had managed to lose Darren’s business card. To my dismay, my only option was to be resourceful. I dug through my bags and was able to find Kelvin’s business card and decided the only way to get in touch with Darren would be to send my information through his friend. Luckily for me, he happily passed along my email address, and shortly after, Darren and I were engulfed in an animated email exchange.
From emails to phone calls. From like to love. From courtship to a lifetime. Before we knew it, Darren had booked my first of many flights to his home in Hartford, Connecticut. It is from here that our love grew. Through our faith in God, love for each other, and perseverance Darren and I had found ourselves not only madly in love, but atop of the tallest building in the country…
How He Asked
Darren had convinced me to join him for what I thought was a simple evening in New York at One World Trade Center Observatory. Everything imaginable seemed to be going wrong – there was an insane amount of traffic coming in from Connecticut, his navigation continuously took him in circles, and it was drawing near to closing time. We were both dressed nicely, so I offered the suggestion of scrapping the observatory and using open table to find somewhere nice to enjoy a NYC dinner. He was adamant about forging on and making it to the Observatory.
After what seemed to be a tumultuous drive, we make it One World Trade Center about 20 minutes before closing. Security tried to convince him to take a rain check and use his tickets for another day, but again, he was insistent. We were escorted to the elevator that shot them up to the 100th floor of the building in a matter of seconds. I stepped off, and to my surprise we were greeted by numerous incredibly friendly staff, but I noticed that there was literally no one else around. He proceeded to escort me through the observatory, as I took note of how unexpectedly helpful the staff were. In hindsight, it was like they knew something that I didn’t. He ultimately lead me to an elevated platform dubbed “The Sky Portal,” and instructed me to wait there while he attempted to find someone to take our picture. Being a woman, naturally I took the opportunity to use the great lighting for a selfie opportunity while I waited!
Shortly thereafter, Darren returned with a young man who seemed to barely speak English, but was thrilled to assist us. As Darren began to approach me on the platform, the young man began to snap away with the Nikon. I deemed it a bit odd, but didn’t think much of it. Darren and I began to position ourselves, with Darren asking me to remind him of which side I preferred to be on. As I turned away from him to attempt to demonstrate which side was my “good side” and which side was his, he began to drop down on one knee.
By the time I began to turn back towards him, he was halfway down. It took me a second to realize what was happening because I was in complete and utter shock! For a second, I took a glance around and realized we were completely surrounded by panoramic views of New York City and all of it’s glory. The city shone and sparkled all around us, completely engulfing us in the moment. As we, I with my hands over my mouth and he with the most amazing ring cupped in his trembling hands, stood on the illuminated platform, I felt like the entire city stopped for that one moment of time and was ours.
His eyes watered and sparkled under the lights, and I managed to regain her composure just enough to wipe my tears and extend my left hand. It was then that I heard the gasps, a whispered “she said yes,” and enthusiastic applause from the staff that had gathered to watch in the shadows. I lifted my man up off of his knees, cupped his face, and rested my forehead on his nose. Unbeknownst to me, the young man had snapped the entire moment from start to finish, forever capturing our special intimate moment, over 1700 feet in the sky in the tallest building in the country. 7 months have passed since our moment, and I still feel like I’m floating one hundred floors above one of the best cities in the world.