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#ROTR – How They Met

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How The Reeds Met

reeds on the road #reedsontheroad hawaii honolulu waikiki wedding friends family travel black love

I’ll begin the story a bit before we met.

Towards the end of 2009, Brandon and I were living two TOTALLY different lives. We didn’t know the other existed, first of all. Brandon had come across a golden opportunity and the Holy Grail in the world of musicians, or for any artist. It had been decided that he was talented enough in his craft that he should get paid for privledging the world with his work; he signed with a record label. He was back and forth between Atlanta and Miami making music and having a ball.

Meanwhile, on the polar opposite end of the country, I was still working my way through college (for the 5th year) and leaving a toxic relationship that went on longer than it should have. However, as bad as that sounds, I was actually coming to a very comfortable and cozy place in life. I had a stable group of friends, a decent paying job, I was almost done with my BA and my life had a systematic flow to it.

And that was the problem.

What I wanted least in life was a system. I was an artist and a scholar. I wanted to know everything about everything in order to apply that knowledge to my expression . I desired to meet more people than what was available to me in Toledo, Ohio. I craved more thrill than I knew I could have staying put. So I abruptly (and I do mean abruptly)  decided to move to Atlanta. It was a decision I’d made in one day without any prior thought. But once I’d made my mind up, it was as good as done. My entire life was rearranged, packed up, sold or given away within three weeks and I had a car full of dreams on my way to Georgia. My whole family thought I was nuts, but they already knew that much, so they adapted to the idea. They already lived a couple hours away in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio anyway, so they were used to me being further away.

Anyway, my first few months in Atlanta were hectic, to put it mildly. I went to every club I could, dated an array of losers and weirdos, and was temporarily homeless at one point. I loved every bit of it.

Here’s where our lives merged.

My best friend, who also still lived in Dayton, came to see me frequently in my first year residing in the ATL. However, one of her first visits was a particularly dull one for her because I worked throughout the day and far enough away from the city to make nightlife impractical. There was one bar that, on Thursdays, had enough people to peak one’s interest and it was close to my job. Because my friend had been couped up in my house all day waiting for me to finally clock out, I had no choice as a host but to reasonably make an effort to entertain my guest. So we went.

The Sighting, as I like to call it, happened almost immediately upon my entry into the bar. If you ask Brandon this, there will be some contesting as to who saw whom first, but I can assure you that I spotted him first. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever laid my eyes on. The very first five seconds Danyale spotted Brandon were completely in slow motion. He was tall, handsome is an understatement and he had a strong, but gentle demeanor that demanded to be noticed. He confidently, yet not arrogantly, strode through the crowded bar full of hundreds like he was there all alone. He had a drink in hand and politely held it out of the way every time someone needed to pass him. He kept is eyes forward, but they were constantly observing. I felt immediately that I had to know this man.

I consider myself a certain brand of lady and I thought it was more appropriate to be pursued than to pursue. However, I’ve never been the kind to wait for anything to happen. So the plan was to find this Adonis-like man and make long enough eye contact with him that he’d know I was ready for the kill. But I couldn’t find him anywhere, sadly. Once I decided that he’d left the bar and my search was pointless, I felt a slight and intentional graze on my wrist. As I turned around to turn down another guy who wasn’t my future husband, I instantly smiled because it actually was my future husband. I wish I could tell you the first thing he said to me, but I was so hypnotized by his unexpected and charming southern accent spoken in such a deep and rich tone, that to this day I have no idea what Brandon’s first words were to me. I do remeber what my first were to him, though.

“Six seven eight, eight eight six… And it’s ‘Dan’ and Yale, like the University,” I stated and explained the spelling of my name so no chance was left for confusion between me and any other girl named ‘Danielle’ in his contact list. I didn’t need to know what he said. I knew I wanted to get to know this man and I didn’t want to play any games. He obviously felt the same way because I recieved a call from him about 15 minutes later. Although my first instinct was to clear my schedule the next day so we could have plently of time on our first date, he shattered my dreams by informing me that he had to board a plane to Miami, where he lived, the next morning.

Long distance relationships were a no-no for me and I was pretty adamant about that. Even though it was practically love at first sight, I decided right there that we were a waste of time and could be nothing more than friends who occasionally spoke on the phone. I needed a good friend at the time and he proved to be it. We spoke on the phone everyday for the next two or three weeks until he finally came back to visit Atlanta. That visit commemorated The Reeds’ first official date.

It’s odd to date someone you feel like you knew so well already. As we’d only seen each other in a dimly lit bar and on Facebook, we were very pleasantly surprised by the aesthetics of the other. I, who had to be convinced by my roommate to leave the house, was dressed pretty basically, but regretted it once I realized how fast my heart beat when I greeted Brandon for the first time in person and in broad daylight. He was more gorgeous than what I remembered. He obviously felt the same way because he couldn’t hold eye contact with me without getting nervous. We decided to go see a movie, I’m pretty sure just to avoid directly staring at one another.

The movie we went to see was ‘Dinner For Schmucks’, starring Steve Carrell (who would turn out to be one of our favorite comediens later). We realized we had the same silly sense of humor when we reacted the exact same way to the movie. We laughed in sync even when no one else in the theatre agreed with the jokes. After the movie we went for drinks at an adult arcade. I got a bit tipsy on mojitos and confessed zombie video games secretly scared me, which we of course played next. We had so much fun by the time the bar closed that we couldn’t just let the night end. We went to the only place that would have us at such an ungodly hour; a stripclub. People laugh at this, but we did not go to stare at exotic dancers. We just couldn’t let go of one another yet.

Upon entering the club, we realized what a busy night it was. There was no place for two people to sit readily available. We scouted the place for a few minutes and found a nest of empty seats roped off. A huge guy in a black shirt announced “$10 each to sit here.” Brandon proceeded to pull out a wad of cash to pay, but I swiftly halted him.

“What exactly do we get for this extra $10?” I asked. There was no raised platform or preferential placement of the seats. They were just seats. I saw no need for Brandon to waste more of his money after paying for everything all day and spending $50 to get us into this place. When the bouncer revealed that these were indeed normal chairs with no added exceptions, I declined for both of us and told Brandon we would wait for seats elsewhere. In my opinion, he fell in love with me right there and then, though my actions had no intention besides frugality.

After ignoring every stripper that propositioned us and being scolded by the bartender for just “talking and not drinking”, we headed back to my house where we still refused to end this extaordinary date. I was dead sleepy, but did not want to cave in. When we entered my living room, I put in a DVD with 5 episodes of the now cancelled TV show ‘Girlfriends.’ I didn’t have cable at the time and I figured that would last until we decided what to do next. I fell asleep on Brandon’s shoulder about 10 minutes into the first episode. I awoke the next morning to discover, not only had Brandon stayed awake and completely still the entire night as not to disturb my slumber, but he also listened to the same music over and over again on the DVD title menu because there wasn’t a remote control anywhere near him. What a gentleman, right?

When I came about, I got up to drive him to his brother’s apartment, where I’d originally picked him up from. We hugged each other goodbye, which was the most physical contact we’d shared up until then. When he walked away, I could tell how sad we both were, not because the date was finally over, but because we both knew we wanted to take things further and the distance was the only thing seperating us. However, after many weeks of conversing constantly, we overcame the fear of physical distance and, on September 18th, 2010 we declared our love for one another. Exactly 2 years later on September 18th, 2012 we were married.

That is how The Reeds came to be.

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