It was the summer of 1989. I was a newly separated young mother of two children. An eleven year old boy and an eight year old girl.
I had just left a marriage that was just not meant to work no matter how good the initial intentions were. Alcohol won out. I had been married for twelve years before I had given up.
It was a rough summer for me. I was working two jobs. One full time secretary job by day and at night I ran a food stand in a traveling carnival. I was unfortunate at the time as my then husband was not helping me financially.Yet fortunately I had three grandmothers to help babysit the children that I was now trying to support on my own.
It was the first time that I had lived on my own. No parents, no husband. Just me and my two beautiful children. And I was scared as hell. I had to go to a large bank to take out a loan for a deposit and first months rent on a small but very cute apartment on the upper floor of a two story house in Chicago.
I had been with the same person since I was fourteen and had absolutely no intentions what so ever of getting involved with anyone that was interested in anything more than friendship. There was no way I was going to fall in love.
Besides, between work and my children there was no room and no time. I just wanted to prove that I could take care of these kids on my own. Oh I had plenty of help from the grandparents with food and clothes. I could not have done it without them. They were our angels. And we needed them. Still I needed to know that I could take care of them without a man.
My working hours were crazy. I worked from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. as a secretary at a machine tool shop. It payed very well at that time. Today's minimum wage in 1989.
I had a friend who had bought a food wagon to park at carnivals all summer. You know the kind that sells corn dogs, fries and Fried cheese sticks which were quite new back then. My friend didn't want to run the food stand herself so she thought that I may be interested in running it with the help of her seventeen year old son as my worker.
This sounded perfect for me at the time. I had worked in the food industry for several years and loved the face paced hard work. And on the weekends in the Chicago area, working a carnival was very fast paced and hard!
I would get to the food trailer early on the weekends to open it up and get the grease out and ready for frying. This trailer was the sort where the sides would lift up and lights hung all around the top. Plenty of head clearance for most but apparently not all.
My helper was pretty good but he was only 17. I knew that he would need direction but he handled his end of taking orders and giving change quite well while I cooked and fried the food in the heat of those hot June, July and August Chicago summers! It was hard work but it helped pay the rent and utilities.
On this particularly busy night in August, my helper kept mentioning to me a man that kept complaining about something. We were so busy that I just told him to apologize and thought at the time, that would be enough.
Earlier that very day, after I had gotten everything set up and ready for the rush of people that evening, I was leaning on the counter just relaxing. Looking out at the carnival rides thinking how fun it would be to walk around and enjoy myself. But alas, I was here to fry!
It was raining lightly as this man walked by rather quickly, looked up at me and said " You have the most beautiful eyes that I have ever seen.", and kept right on walking. I remember my mouth hanging open, probably very unattractively as I thought to myself "So do you." which he never heard of coarse and that was the last that I saw of him. This time.
Now back to the complaining man. My helper, I do believe, was starting to feel frightened by this man who I came to find out, kept hitting his head on the hanging lights. We were much too busy at this point in the evening to be messing around with this stupid little problem. All I could remember thinking was why the heck would you keep walking underneath a light that you kept hitting your head on? But it was obvious that my young helper was getting nervous so I told him that if it happened again to just remain calm and tell him to please come inside the trailer.
I figured that I would apologize for the inconvenience of this low hanging bulb and offer him some free fried cheese sticks. We were much too busy at the time to do any repair work!
I was busy hanging over the deep fryer as my young helper ran up to me and said that he had sent the man to the back of the trailer and he would be there any minute. He sounded rather nervous. I was getting rather angry. I was too busy to be dealing with a possible inebriated dim whit!
The next part of my story you may find hard to believe. I STILL to this very day find it difficult to explain. It is in fact, stranger than fiction but is the absolute truth.
As I was busy cooking I felt his presence in the doorway just about a foot away from me. The doorway was rather small as was the trailer. I could see out of the corner of my eye that his arms were resting up high, one on either side of the doorway and that's when I heard the voice.
It wasn't his voice. It wasn't my helpers voice or any other live voice in the near vicinity. This was a voice in my head.
Now I have to say that I have never, ever heard a voice other than my own thoughts, in my head , in my life. Not even to this day over twenty-one years later. Never, ever.
It all happened so quickly, I was working, he came in and than I heard the voice say as clear as can be "TURN AROUND AND KISS HIM."!!
Since this had never happened to me before and quite frankly, freaked me out, I listened to it. I turned around about one foot, got up on my toes and kissed him on the lips. Not a peck and not a long lingering kiss but a KISS.
A total stranger.
People were waiting for their food orders so I went back to my cooking, told the man that I was sorry for his inconvenience and handed him some cheese sticks.
On the house of coarse.
It was also at this time that I had realized that he was the man that gave me the compliment earlier that day as he was walking by. He really was very cute and tall. But as I stated earlier, I had no intentions of any relationships at this time.
He told me his name and I told him mine. He thanked me for the cheese sticks but didn't look surprised by the kiss. Come to think of it, I didn't feel surprised by the kiss.
He asked me for my phone number and I said no. He gave me his. I kept it. I would be lying if I said that I didn't find him attractive. But I just didn't want a relationship, at all. I had two of them waiting for me at home.
He kept coming by every night to talk. I did find him funny. But I didn't call him.
Not for a couple of weeks. I was so nervous picking up the phone to make that first call. Something else that I had never done before. We talked for three hours, I did most of the talking.
We either talked or saw each other everyday since that day twenty-one years ago. Four months after that first kiss we were married. My friends and family kept saying that it was a rebound affair! Maybe it was but we're still rebounding!
As for the voice. Like I said, I have never heard it again since that night. I don't know who it was. I often wondered if it was my deceased father or maybe even God. Somebody was looking out for the both of us. All I know is that sometimes we just never find the answers to things. And sometimes we should just shut up and listen.