Written by Ibukun Tunbi
“Shut the door.”
Holding on to my timid braveness, I obeyed. My legs were eager to go back the way I came however, Marie’s dad had repositioned himself between me and the door. I felt his eyes bore into me with full understanding as to why I was here.
I still recall that moment when I first encountered Marie. I was having my regular morning coffee at Starbucks’ Galleria outlet when she had stopped by. I immediately knew there was something about her however, before I could wrap my head around the mystery, she was gone. I ran into her again a few months later when Carlton had demanded I make it out to Dallas for his graduation party. My reluctant journey was immediately rewarded when Marie walked into the party spotting the one thing I could not forget about her, that endearing smile. After being presented with another chance to meet this one person, I made up my mind to be the man who would make it right by her.
Three years after this decision, I was visiting Dallas again, this time, to ask for Ray’s blessing. It seemed to me like Ray’s unwelcome gaze was journeying through my soul. Several times in College, Carlton had joked with us frat brothers about “The List.” It was a framed plaque his dad made of the 25 qualities for his future son-in-law’s. It became obvious to me that Ray had strategically placed me in a face to face position with “The List.”
As I looked at the plague, the long silence seeming everlasting, I couldn’t get past the first line- “Must have a pure heart.” Seeing this brought a flood of questions into my head. The most prevailing being, “Was I really deserving of her?”
With the way Ray kept staring at me, I put in more effort to not pondering the answer to this question. The door was still looking like the easiest way out of this. However, just at the point where I was considering using it, the long uncomfortable silence gave way to the words…
“Josh…take a seat.”