I spent Valentine’s Day alone, watching a sad movie. I didn’t receive any roses or chocolates from Carlos.

And I woke up the next morning feeling so in love and fortunate to be married to my husband of 54 years.

Sound a little unusual?

Let me explain.

I was out of town the week before Valentine’s Day, training and competing in a sporting clay shooting match in Southern California. I saw the usual markers of Valentine’s Day. Everywhere I went that week, there were balloons, hearts and flowers, signaling the approach of America’s romantic holiday. I paid this little mind. I was focused on my trip’s purpose: improving my shotgun shooting skills.

Finally, I realized I would be returning home on Feb. 14, but Carlos was leaving on a business trip that day. We’d miss each other. I am a romantic person. I yearn for flowers and chocolate on the holiday, and, loving and caring husband that he is, Carlos always treats me on Valentine’s Day.

Once, years ago, I was going to miss Valentine’s Day because of a pistol shooting match. Carlos was set to return home from a business trip. He arranged so that his flight arrived at the airport before I departed, and he surprised me with a box of chocolate before I boarded my flight.

Vera and Carlos 1965

This year, though, I told him to not go through any trouble. When I returned home, I bought myself some flowers from Costco and settled in to watch the 2002 movie “Heart of Me.” In the movie, the male lead has an ill-fated affair with his sister-in-law. Suffice it to say that nothing goes well for any of the characters in this melancholy film. I felt sad about how the lives of the movie’s characters turned out.

The next morning, though, I woke up to an epiphany. I felt happy. Euphoric, even. Unlike those in the movie, I have experienced a true love story. 

I met Carlos at age 17 while attending a camp in Santa Cruz hosted by the Chinese Student Association. We soon started dating, and he’s been the man in my life for nearly six decades now. We got through college together. We ran a business and raised a family. Now, we grow old together, and, although we age, our flame does not flicker.

Everyone who knows Carlos likes him. He can chat with anybody, but he is also sincere. I know I would never find another man who treats me like he does.

(Photo Szilvia Basso of Unsplash)
(Photo Szilvia Basso of Unsplash)

Carlos and I have Yuanfen, the Chinese belief that fate brings two people together.

The Chinese culture teaches us that you cannot make a love like ours happen. It happens in its own way with its own timing. That is fate. 

I maintain hopes of finding Carlos again in the afterlife. Carlos knows this, and I recently asked him again whether he planned to find me after this life ends.

Don’t forget, I told Carlos, come look for me in next life. 

He responded playfully: You still want more of this? 

Yes, I sure do.

Continue reading Vera’s post, originally published at Women’s Outdoor News.


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