52: My Big, Burly Guy

52: My Big, Burly Guy

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

My Big, Burly Guy

Hope . . . is the companion of power, and the mother of success; for who so hopes has within him the gift of miracles.

~Samuel Smiles

Saving every dime to support my ten-year-old daughter, Milan, was my goal even as I was receiving eviction notices stapled to the door of our small, one-bedroom apartment. I worked at Milan’s private Catholic girls’ school so I could get a hefty discount on her tuition, but it meant taking a huge pay cut from the public-school teaching job I had given up in order to send her there.

I could never foresee that, within the first two years of her attending this prestigious school, her father and I would divorce. I had instantly become a single mom, and I had been doing everything in my power to keep her at the school she loved so dearly. Dealing with the emotional strain of divorce was now coupled with the financial burden of rarely receiving child support. I decided I would have to leave Miami, the city I was born in, to move five hours north to Jacksonville to live near my sister. It was much cheaper there, plus I could be near family.

One night, I had the most vivid dream of sitting at Scotty’s Landing, the waterfront restaurant my daughter and I frequently visited. It was our usual spot every Sunday evening after spending a long day at the beach. She and I were sitting at a table, listening to the live reggae band, and at a nearby table sat a man who gently smiled at us. He had broad shoulders, light hair and eyes, and a big physique.

The next morning, I called my sister and told her about this “big, burly guy” dream I experienced, and she suggested this could be a premonition of meeting a man in her city. We laughed it off, and I told her to keep her eyes open for him. A week later, I had the exact same dream and called my sister once more.

“It has to be a sign,” she told me, so I started thinking seriously about this possible premonition. And as I prayed each night for God to answer my prayers, I secretly wished this dream was his sign that I would find happiness again.

Two weeks later, I was invited to a wedding as the date of the best man, Gerry. We had gone out a few times in the past, but decided we would make better friends than a couple. Since we ended on good terms, I didn’t hesitate to accept his invitation. Not knowing anyone at the wedding, I sat alone watching my date at the altar. I couldn’t help but feel bittersweet when I watched the loving couple say their vows to each other. But I smiled politely throughout the ceremony and finally made my way to the reception.

Gerry led us to our assigned table and introduced me to everyone. There were three couples and a man named Mike, who had come without a date. Since Gerry was away from the table doing best man duties, I sat alone once again. The three couples at our table seemed friendly and engaging, but I couldn’t stop staring at Mike. He had a great smile and was very handsome. We talked all night, and I was intrigued by him, finding myself feeling a little jealous as he danced with other women as I danced with Gerry.

I decided I would pursue him, something I’d never done before, because there was this pull toward him that I couldn’t explain. I got up enough courage to ask him more personal questions like his last name and where he worked. He was a firefighter and obviously Irish, with his red hair and green eyes. As I admired his broad shoulders and husky physique, I guessed he was around 6’2”. I left the reception giddy as a schoolgirl even though I didn’t know if I was going to see him again. That night, I called my sister and told her I had met my “big, burly guy.” At first, she squealed with delight, but then hesitated and asked, “Does this mean you’re not moving up here?”

The next couple of days, I thought about how I was going to meet him again. I didn’t want to look like a stalker showing up at his fire station, so I decided to look him up in the phone book. I couldn’t believe that in a city with over four million people, Mike lived within two miles of me. Mustering up the courage I had left, I called him . . . but his voicemail came on. Nervously, I stuttered, “Hi, Mike? This is Angie from the wedding a few days ago. I was calling because I thought that maybe you and I could go get some coffee some time and talk. So call me if you’re interested . . . bye!” My fingers were crossed that he’d be interested enough to call me back.

The next morning, my phone rang, and it was him! “Angie,” he said softly, “it’s Mike. I have something to ask you. Aren’t you with Gerry?” When I explained our history, he asked if I liked sushi.

“That’s my favorite food,” I practically yelled back.

“Then it looks like we have a date,” he concluded.

Our first date was magical. We talked for hours while we ate sushi and drank sake. I couldn’t stop staring at his handsome face and I felt a strong connection with him. His calm demeanor and gentle smile were mesmerizing. Then I nearly fell out of my chair when I learned he used to work at Scotty’s Landing as a bartender — the restaurant in my dream! A wave of peace came over me afterward, as if I knew he was God’s answer to me. “Give love a chance again,” God must have been saying. “Here he is.”

I listened to my gut and continued to date him. Eventually, he met Milan, and they hit it off. We’ve been together for twelve years now. I can literally say that Mike is the man of my dreams. My big, burly firefighter rescued me, although he swears that I rescued him.

~Angelene Gorman

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