When my fiance first told me he was from New York, the bright lights of Manhattan danced across my vision. Broadway! Cheesecake! The subway! Publishing houses!
And then Spence added an important geographical term: Western. As in, Western New York — outside of Buffalo. And then I heard “Buffalo” and thought $678A2y8!@%&#@!!!, really??? because, many moons ago, I’d fallen in desperate first love with a man from Buffalo who left the D.C. area to return to Western New York. Which meant we were over.
I was devastated for, oh . . . I don’t know: three years? Give or take? Maybe more?
That’s a really long time. An embarrassingly long time.
And a really long time to obsess about Buffalo.
And then one sunny early spring day in 2010, I met my future husband . . . someone new, interesting, exciting, handsome! Someone with whom I immediately felt at ease. And I was myself: the real self. It felt different from the first day we met for coffee, when we covered all sorts of ground. Jobs, college, family, hopes and dreams . . . and, of course, our hometowns. Where we were from.
And that’s when he said the fateful words. That’s when I heard Buffalo once again.
The name alone made my heart pound. I’m sure my face must have registered my surprise, but Spence couldn’t have known. But of all the places! Of all the states! Buffalo again? I have to hear about Buffalo?
. . . I’m not sure if I believe in destiny. Some days I do, some days I don’t. I believe in a higher power and that things happen for a reason, but the idea of a cosmic game plan doesn’t always jive with me.
But after a big heartbreak and years of drifting along, thinking and re-thinking and wondering, I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that my future husband hails from Western New York.
Spence has redeemed the state of New York for me. In fact, he’s allowed me to reclaim it.
We’ve gone north to visit his wonderful family many times since that spring, and I used to think about how I’d decided I despised the place without ever giving it a fair shake. The allure of home to my ex-boyfriend was too strong to resist, and I was jealous of Buffalo as though she’d been his mistress. Irrational though it may be, I came to believe Buffalo had taken someone from me.
And then I met Spencer. And all that disappeared.
I changed my mind.
Though Buffalo “took” someone from me years ago, I just had to wait. Had to be patient. Had to trust that something right — someone right — would come along.
And he did.
And we fell in love.
And we’re getting married.
And we’re building a life together, layer by beautiful layer.
Buffalo gave me someone, too.