By: Jacquie LeRoy –
One year ago, I was selected to attend pilot training for the Air Force after I commission as an officer. Wanting to do very well in pilot training, I began picking the brains of Air Force pilots. A few months ago (Jan 14, to be exact) I decided to do a web search specifically for pilots of a certain type of aircraft that I once flew on while I was enlisted. I was hoping to get some inside information on how to be assigned to that particular aircraft straight out of pilot training. I found this pilot, John, whose screen name contained the name of that aircraft. He was online at the time so, thinking that he might have some answers for me, I sent him an instant message asking if it was safe to assume that he flies that type of aircraft. He said that he had actually completed pilot training years before this aircraft had even been developed, but his unit was just now in the process of transitioning to that airplane. Even though he couldn’t really answer any of my questions, we talked for a while anyway. We quickly realized that we were both active duty at Charleston Air Force Base at the same time for 4 years and knew TONS of people in common. Thinking that we might have met each other while we were there, we traded pictures. Although each of us looked familiar to the other, we didn’t think that we had ever met. We ended up chatting that night until 8:00 in the morning!!!! After our conversation, I couldn’t sleep. I spent the next 2 hours wondering who this guy was and why I felt some strange chemistry between us. Over the next 2 months, we became friends by chatting online or talking on the phone, many times until sunrise.
The first weekend of March, a friend of mine and I were planning to drive to Mardi Gras, which is about 3 hours south of the city where John lives. He was originally planning to drive down and meet us until he realized that he had guard duty that weekend. I realized that I had actually started to look forward to finally meeting John more than going to Mardi Gras and I was SO disappointed that he couldn’t go. Since he didn’t live too far out of the way, he invited me to come up to his place on my way to New Orleans. I agreed thinking that we would just spend Friday together and then I would meet my friend in New Orleans Saturday and Sunday. I never made it to New Orleans!
I arrived at his house and after 30 minutes with him I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could trust him completely and I have some pretty serious trust issues!! We clicked in person just as well as we did the first time we talked 2 months earlier. We stayed up until after sunrise talking about God only knows what! I decided to spend the weekend with him and blew off the Mardi Gras trip. Every night was just like the first: up until sunrise talking, listening to music, playing the drums, cooking wings at 3 AM, playing with his new puppy, looking through old pictures, and whatever else! It was just amazing. We clicked instantly.
Finally, one night I was talking about a wine tasting party that I attended in Charleston 6 years ago. He stopped, looked at me kind of funny, and said, I was at that party! Almost immediately, a look of shock appeared on his face and he said, Oh my God! That was you!!!! I instantly knew who he was. I remembered talking to someone for hours at that party. People were actually giving us a hard time for ignoring everyone else at the party except each other. It just didn’t seem to matter at the time that he was an officer and I was enlisted. We just clicked. After the party, I went to a karaoke bar with a friend and he met us there. I remember babbling on and on about how much I liked this guy all the way to the karaoke bar. While we were there, we again became lost in conversation. Unfortunately, despite the chemistry between us, we knew that we would never be able to have a romantic relationship because officers are forbidden to fraternize with enlisted members. We went our own ways after that night and never spoke or saw each other again. The Air Force eventually moved him to New Jersey and me to Oklahoma. About 3 years ago, he moved to Mississippi and I began working on completing a college degree so that I could become an Air Force officer. That night, standing in his kitchen, we spent the next 3 hours picking our jaws up off the floor in complete disbelief that we had found each other again.
That was 6 years ago and now fate has managed to bring him back into my life for the second time. I left his house Monday morning on a 9-hour drive back to Oklahoma. That drive felt like it only took 3 hours. I spent the entire trip lost in thought and disbelief about what had just happened to me that weekend. I was coming to terms with the fact that I knew, without a doubt, that I had fallen in love. I was terrified and ecstatic at the same time. For 28 years people have been telling me that when it happens, you just know it. Being very analytical-minded, I never really understood that concept. I always wondered what questions you have to ask or what boxes should be checked to know for sure. I realize now that love is an involuntary emotion that is completely independent of logic, thought, or circumstance. It just happens and it had happened to me.
The next night, we were talking on the phone and he finally decided to go out on a limb and tell me how he felt. When he admitted that he had fallen in love with me over the weekend, I turned into a blubbering idiot. I could barely breathe. It was the most emotional moment I have ever experienced. I will remember it clearly until the day I die. Of course, I spilled my guts about how I felt as well, even though I was terrified. The next day, a dozen beautiful roses appeared at my front door.
I have never been so sure of anything in my life. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that God put him on this Earth just for me. I know he is not perfect, but he is perfect for me. I think back to all the other guys in my past with whom I thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life and I think of the song, Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks. The best thing that ever happened to me was being single and available when our paths crossed for the second time. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted and more. He’s confidant, extremely modest, affectionate, thoughtful, considerate, kind to everyone, gentle, honest, has amazing family values, and treats me like an angel. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I feel like my life is just now beginning. Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve him. Sometimes I wonder if this is just a dream. If it is, I never want to wake up.
I flew out to Mississippi during my spring break to see him and then we drove to Florida so I could meet his family. The first night we were there, we all (including his sister and her family) gathered around his parents’ dinner table for dinner. We all held hands as his father said the blessing and, at that moment, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. It felt like I was taking a deep breath after finally completing a very long journey. It just felt so easy. They embraced me so warmly and instantly made me feel like part of the family. At the end of March, he flew to Oklahoma to escort me in the Senior Walk at the annual military ball. Finally, on Easter Sunday, he proposed to me on bended knee as I discovered a beautiful diamond ring hidden in a plastic Easter egg.
On May 9, he will administer the Oath of Office to me and commission me as an officer in the United States Air Force. After commissioning, I will hopefully be stationed near him in Mississippi. I surrendered my seat in pilot training because my priorities completely changed the minute he proposed. The Air Force requires pilots to be away from home quite a bit and I just can’t imagine trying to raise a family when both parents are leading the lifestyle that is required of a pilot. Although I am still proud to be an Air Force officer, I now understand clearly what life is truly about.
By: Jacquie LeRoy