I shot my shot at my girlfriend on a basketball court, I kid you not.

This time last year I was a senior at the University of Illinois and it was our Homecoming. This meant we all ran around looking for an occasion to be a college student, interpret that however you may like. I was given the wonderful opportunity to serve on the 2015 Homecoming Court with 19 other outstanding seniors selected based on their campus involvement, merit and community service. I was in a parade, got to wear a cool sash and was in the halftime of the football game. But this wasn’t nearly as eventful as how this homecoming weekend ended.

In the evening of October 24, 2015, I was gearing up to close the weekend out at the infamous CRCE party. A party hosted at one of the campus’ recreational facilities, almost high school-esque, but that’s okay! I was previously “talking” to a young lady that I was very exclusive with, mistake one. I would like to emphasize that we were “talking”. While this is a very ambiguous term, it basically meant that I knew where home was, mistake 2. If we’re being completely honest, it was a full blown situation-ship, mistake 3 .

Throughout the Homecoming festivities, I invited, let’s call her Susie, to all of the events. My family was there and it was a wonderful occasion. I even introduced her to my now girlfriends line sister who was also on the Homecoming court with me. I wanted to show her off to everyone, which is why I invited her to come down in the first place.

Fast forward to the moments leading up to the CRCE party that night, and a problem occurred. She asked me where her ticket was to the CRCE party. I was really uncomfortable with this because I felt like she cared more about this party than she did me. Especially because she only showed up to one of the Homecoming Court events I invited her to. I had three unclaimed CRCE tickets lying on my coffee table, but something deep inside of me told me not to tell her about those tickets. Till this day I am 100% sure that was God almighty. I told her that I didn’t know she wanted to go to the party, which was true. She pulled out her phone and showed text messages that said absolutely nothing about her wanting to come to the party or asking me to secure a ticket for her. I did anyway because what kind of person would I be to invite her out there to only sit around while I went a party?

All hell broke loose. She threw a fit like I’ve never seen anyone throw before. She was completely fed up with me and the situation. She was staying with me at the time, but she packed her luggage and said she would be staying with a friend for the rest of the weekend. I’ll be honest again, I was in my Homecoming Court Glo and couldn’t care less at this point. The situation was way too petty for me to invest the energy it would’ve taken to fix all of this. I stood in front of the door, looked her in her eyes and asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?” and she said yes. I sat back down, opened the door and watched her leave. In hindsight, she told me that it was more than just the tickets that she was angry about. Also in hindsight, I told her you don’t pack up and just leave someone like that regardless.

That same night, it’s past midnight now so it’s the 25th, I saw this Asian little thing walking across CRCE gym floor. I knew of her, but not really who she was. I always just knew her as the Asian Delta, and kept it like that. We said hi every once in a while, and only conversed in public spaces such as events and gatherings. But this night, I was going to find out what she was about.

I made a beeline straight to her and the only thing I could muster to strike a conversation, was about her line number, 25. This was my football jersey number, so guess what my corny self did? Yep, I told her that number was more mine than it was hers. I rambled on and on about what that number meant to me. From my younger brother wearing 25 is first year playing football, to my older brother passing away on March 25, 2013 (RIP). Apparently, she had been scoping me out from afar, but stayed away from me because she was dealing with her own situation-ship. Being a football player and a Que definitely didn’t help this situation out for me, but regardless  something still sparked between us.

Not knowing what it would lead to, this conversation continued for another couple of weeks. Although she was dope, I told her that we would never ever date. One because she was Asian and Nigerian parents don’t play that, and two because she didn’t consider herself a Christian, which was another big no no. I told her I accept her for who she is, but my family wouldn’t and therefore we could only ever just be friends. That Thanksgiving break, I took her to a church service in Chicago that changed not only her life, but mine as well. She told me she felt something she never felt before, something powerful. I literally prayed for God to come into her life, to touch her. She was awesome, but if she would accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior, and my mom accepts her as my girlfriend, I would be content. Both happened, so now the ball was in my court. December 5, 2015 with the permission of my mom and through prayer, I asked her to be my girlfriend.

The last time I was in a relationship was in December 2011. I made I promise to myself that the next time I got in a relationship, I was going to do it the right way. If I didn’t feel right about it, I was going to partake in it, which is why “talking” was a horrible substitute. It allowed me to remain single, but didn’t avoid the complication dealing with other human beings.

Since then, I’ve only been with her and her only. I’ve never stepped out or anything. But my past still followed me. People would assume that I was cheating on her, all types of rumors, but she trusted me through it all. The one time someone tried it, I was very open and honest about it. We handled it and moved on. That’s how we operate. There is not a single woman that I’ve been with since high school that she doesn’t know about. Why did I do that? Because she only ever asked one thing of me, “Don’t make me look stupid”. This simple, but loaded request is all I think about when I’m out representing her. She took this chance with you, so don’t make her look stupid! Don’t embarrass her. She didn’t have to do this. I feel like I’m the lucky one in this situation, and forever will be. Blessed, truly.

Moral of the story is, if you let go and let God, he’ll have greater in store for you than you have for yourself. When he closes one door, he always opens another, even if its a window.

I felt like Lupe in “And he gets the girl”.

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes!


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