The story of how we met

My sister’s boyfriend, Muller, was intent on introducing me to a martial artist who was visiting Reunion Island to teach a series of seminars. I looked at the flyer he handed me, unimpressed. “I don’t like guys with long hair”, I said when I saw the mullet the man in the photo sported.
“He’s a star! From America!”, Muller interjected.
“Over here, I’m a bigger star!” I replied.
As the weather girl at the major local TV station who had just been promoted to my own weekly show, I was indeed.
Muller didn’t give up and I gave in and agreed to meet the American Star.

I drove the one hour that separated Saint Denis, my hometown, to Saint Pierre, the southern tip of the island, completely unaware that this day would be the last to belong to the Before-Us part of my history.

A few feet away from where I parked, there stood my future husband, my daughter’s daddy.
He was just a man then, wearing a tank top and plaid Billabong shorts. No mullet. Short hair suited him well. “Hello good looking” I thought to myself.

Not five minutes after we were introduced, he asked to take a photo with me. I was surprised at the request but agreed and stood next to him. “No, not like that… like this”, he said as he moved behind me, encircling me with his arms and pressing his cheek next to mine with a big grin on his face.

Photo of Burton Richardson and Sarah Badat Richardson on the day they met
Only five minutes after we met

I just assumed he was bold and forward and used to having his way with women as he traveled the world. Now, that I know him, I can’t believe he acted that way. Very much out of character.

After the photo op and a short chat, we all hopped back into the car. The first thing we did together: shop for underwear! The airline hadn’t delivered his suitcase and wouldn’t for the entire week he was staying. He needed clothes and didn’t speak French so we all went with him. He bought navy blue briefs. We’ve kept those.

As the day progressed, I was smitten. I gave him a ride back to his hotel. He invited me up to his room. We listened to music and talked about his life in America. I asked him what he was doing that night. He replied: “going out with you”. Cheesy but I didn’t mind.

After the seminar, we all went to dinner. My mom, who fancied herself a palm reader, grabbed his hand and announced that he would get married the following year. He smiled politely. He was 35 and had no plans of becoming a husband. Ever.

We spent that night together. It’s not what you’re thinking…unless it IS what you’re thinking…It all depends WHAT you’re thinking 😉
Time and space disappeared. Our lives were forever changed and so were we.

When his friend asked for details the next morning, he simply replied it had been the best night of his life. As I drove to work, my foot on the gas pedal and my head in the clouds, I was trying to convince myself that I could not possibly be in love. Love couldn’t happen overnight I was certain.
As it turns out, it can. It did.

He left three days later and I had very little hope of ever seeing him again.

He came back twice that same year. He asked me to move with him. The very next day, I found 50 bucks in a parking lot and took it as a good sign. I quit my job, got my passport in order and we boarded a plane bound for Los Angeles four days later.

He did get married as my mom had predicted. He married ME two weeks after we landed at LAX, exactly eight months after we first met that day… nineteen years ago.
Our once-upon-a-time was unlikely to end in forever-after yet we did beat the odds.

Not everyone gets a chance to star in a real life fairy tale.


A scene from my future…

Daughter: Mom. I’m moving to the other side of the world with this guy I met 7 months ago. He asked me to marry him!

Me: Over my dead body! You barely know him.

Daughter: Mooom! He’s visited me three times and we’ve spent 30 days together. That’s a lot!

Me: He’s 14 years older than you! And you’re only 21. Don’t you think that’s a bit young to get married honey?

Daughter: I know it doesn’t look like a good idea on the outside but don’t worry mom. It’s gonna be okay. After all it’s worked out great for you and Daddy, hasn’t it?

PS: We’re doomed!

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