I'll never forget the first kiss I had with my future wife, especially since it could so easily NOT have happened. My brother and I were on a tour of Berlin on New Year's Eve 2004, and on the train to Brandenburg Gate, I met Jen, who just happened to be doing a similar tour. It was amazing that we both got on the same carriage, in the same train, at the same time on the same day--especially knowing now that Jen and her friends nearly missed the train because one of their metro passes didn't work! And even more, the only reason they all went to Berlin was because hotels in Prague, their first choice, were sold out!
But it was a meeting that seemed like it was meant to be. We only chatted for a few minutes, but it was long enough for Jen to mention that she and her friends were going on a pub crawl operated by the tour company, and would my brother and I like to come? Well, I was no fool; even after just a few minutes with Jen, I knew I was into this girl and definitely wanted to see her again. So I took the plunge and my brother and I joined up with the pub crawl group hours before midnight.
Well, I didn't see Jen when we first joined the group. In fact, I didn't see her even when we started heading towards the first pub. Maybe this night was going to just be spent with my brother and a bunch of drunken strangers. Oh well, that's New Year's Eve, that's what it's all about, right? It looked like fate was about to change its mind.
Wrong. While in the back room of the second pub, just minutes before we were going to head out to the third pub, we saw each other. She was with her friends, and beamed with delight when seeing me.
I know my smile was even brighter.
So the pub crawl continued, but Jen and I were so into each other that we lost track of the group. It was just me and her alone, and we had to find our way to the pub where my brother and Jen's friends all were. In a big city like Berlin, that wasn't easy. We spent nearly an hour retracing our steps, wandering around, calling the group to see where they were, and asking German speakers how to get to some crazy bar called Zapata's.
But even though it was a bit frustrating at the time, I know the hour we had alone brought us closer. We had to work as a pair, get to know each other, experience an international city on the eve of a New Year--all together. By the time we finally found our group, only an hour before midnight, we both knew pretty well that we were going to be seeing each other again.
That, of course, posed a dilemma.
How does one appropriately express his interest in a girl he hadn't even know for a full day, but knew he wanted to spend a lifetime with? How do you tell a beautiful woman who would eventually become your wife that you like her, that you want to see her again--without screwing it up? Without coming off as desperate, needy, and creepy? There was only way I knew how, and I told her: We had to have a midnight kiss. What better way to begin the new year?
So at 11 pm, I told Jen that I had a problem. A problem?, she asked, a worried look in her bright blue eyes. Yes, I replied. You see, it was only one hour til 2005, and I had nobody with which to share a very special moment. There's only one way I know how to ring in a new year, I said, and that's with a New Year's Kiss. Could she help me out?
It made for a good laugh, and a shy but sure agreement that she would help me with my problem. The bigger problem at that moment, of course, was that we both wouldn't be getting a "solution" for a whole 60 minutes more!
It was the longest hour in both our lives, but as you may know, good things come to those who wait.
The kiss was a memorable one, one we both talk about all the time, and that reminds us of how lucky we are to be together. An unlikely kiss reminds us of an unlikely encounter: how Jen could have chosen a different city than Berlin. How *I* could have chosen a different city than Berlin! How we could have been on a different train, or just in a different CARRIAGE within the train we took. Jen could have never mentioned the pub crawl, or we could have not seen each other on the pub crawl.
All kinds of scenarios could have prevented us from meeting each other...but we still did find one another. We still did meet on that memorable New Year's Night, in a city thousands of miles away from both our homes--mine in New York, hers in New Zealand. And we still did have a kiss that brings back so many memories...and offers the hope of so many more. Nearly 2 years since that unforgettable night, we're about to get married, and yet it all seems just like yesterday.
When it comes to good things in life, they're best measured by the memories they bring you. Kissing, for me, is the best keepsake of all.