I met my wife, Kelly, in a sports complex where she practices archery. Back then, she was bound for the Olympics. She was the best the state had seen in a long time. And everyone was proud of her.
I think I was too, although I was never a big fan of archery at the time. I was only out there because a friend, who loved the sports, had blackmailed me to come with her.
Kelly’s techniques and fine way of shooting the arrow was captivating. In addition to that, she was also stunningly beautiful.
My friend, Rita, who blackmailed to come to the complex must have seen me staring at Kelly since the moment we walked in, and she took it upon herself to embarrass me more by telling Kelly that I had been drooling on her since I came into the complex. Then she asked Kelly to do her a favor by going to lunch with me so I can get over my drooling. They became fast friends from that encounter.
Even though I tried to protest I wasn’t drooling, saying I was only admiring her art, Kelly pretended she didn’t believe me, but I could see that she was enjoying the whole scene. She agreed to go to lunch with me. “As long as he is buying,” she said. And those were the first words that came from her mouth, and I would never forget. We introduced each other.
We went for lunch and enjoyed each other’s company so much. We talked as if we have known each other for a very long time. That was how we started going out. As the days and months went by, we became closer.
One terrible day, she was coming from practice when she had an accident that took her left hand. Her archery career was cut short even before she could go for the Olympics.
For months she wouldn’t allow anybody to see her, not even me, despite the fact that she knew that I love her. Whenever I called, she would not answer the phone. Rita, my friend, through whom I had met Kelly said she couldn’t see her too.
She was at her parents. And when I called on her there, she refused to come to down from her room. But I kept coming to her parents’ house and dropping flowers sometimes.
The fact that she received the flowers gave me hope. I kept coming over. I became friends with her parents too, and we would play a lot of games together and laugh very loud. I was sure that Kelly could hear us upstairs.
One day I heard my phone beep, and I checked to see who had sent me a message. It was Kelly. And she wrote simply. “Hi.”
I was overwhelmed with joy because the word ‘hi’ says more than a thousand words. And to me it meant “I’m going to live.” and “You can come and see me now.”
I screamed ‘Yes’ so loud in the office that my colleagues thought I had hit the jackpot, which I guess I had.
I left the office immediately and drove down to Kelly’s parents’ house. She was still in her room but invited me to come up this time.
“The room is just the same way as I left it when I went to college,” she started moment she saw me come in through the door. “They didn’t touch anything, as if they knew one day I would be coming back.” She was facing one of the trophies she had won. “I’m sure they didn’t think I would be returning with only one arm.”
I noticed that she was trying hard to keep away her amputated arm from sight.
“I won this in high school,” she pointed to a small trophy on the shelf, right beside a bigger one. “State Youth Championship 2007. I was the youngest person to have won it.”
She pointed to another one on the other side of the big trophy. “National Youth Championship 2008. I was also the youngest person to have won it.”
She pointed to the big trophy. “Master Archer 2010.” Then she opened a closet that housed another of the same big trophy “Master Archer 2011. I had won it two years in a row.”
Other than these four trophies were other medals and awards that I could see, such as Athlete of the Year, Beetledge high. Best Female Athlete of the Year, Wyoming. And so on.
She was full of promises, and she was just beginning.
“What do I do now?” She asked rhetorically, “Where do I go from here?”
I hadn’t said a word since I got into the room, but instead went close to her and wrapped my arms around her. She cried in my arms.
So I visited her regularly for about a month until I asked to marry me. She was happy and at the same time thought I had proposed to her out of sympathy. So it took some convincing to show her that I had always wanted to marry her. That I had wanted her as my own since that very first day we went for lunch. And that the fact that she had lost an arm wasn’t going to change that.
Although the trauma of losing her hand so tragically was still affecting her, I tried my best to make up for what she had lost.
She moved in with me, and a couple of months later we got married.
I couldn’t stop seeing the sadness in her eyes still, especially when she sees an archery game on TV. So one day I told her we were going to see a doctor. We met with a prosthetic doctor who advised us on the way to go about a prosthetic arm. When we weighed all the options, tests were carried out to make certain which would suit Kelly most.
They gave us a date to come back for the surgery, and we did. Although Kelly was not too optimistic about it, I encouraged her.
When we went back, they gave her a new arm that worked well with her body. However, it took a bit of getting used to it.
A few months later, she could control it perfectly, so she took up archery again and started practicing.
She went to the Paralympics that year and won a gold medal in archery.
Some dreams remain alive as long as you keep them alive.