By Caitlin Kelly
It’s been 20 years since I met Jose Rafael Aguilera Lopez — after he spotted my dating profile on (!?) aol.com, placed there because I was writing a magazine story about on-line dating, then still new-ish and declasse.
We hit it off immediately — two hyper-ambitious, driven, mid-career journalists who had come to New York from Santa Fe, NM (him) and Toronto, me.
From our first date at a midtown Manhattan bistro, that was it. His move-in day, from his home in a Brooklyn brownstone to my suburban apartment — 9/11. Yes, really.
So he moved in a week later.
It was…tumultuous at first. Like, for years.
We’re very different sorts of people and it made for quite a shakedown getting used to one another. Jose is a planner and meticulous about details. I’m more spontaneous and risk-taking. He grew up in a small city and I grew up in Canada’s largest one. His father was a Baptist minister with a small parish and my father made newspaper headlines with his provocative films and TV shows.
We were both survivors of brief and unhappy marriages — he in his early 20s, me in my mid-30s. No kids. We had never wanted them and the terrible hours of his staff job in journalism and our distant families would have made even trying difficult and expensive at that late age.
But with time and counseling and patience, we figured it out — and on Sept. 17, 2011 we got married in a small wooden 19th century church in a park on an island in Toronto’s harbor. We arrived by water taxi.
It was a tiny group in a tiny church, maybe 25 of our closest friends, some of whom came from B.C., D.C,. and N.Y.
and all I could hear were cows mooing — not the music we chose!
The day was perfect and the service at 5pm, with golden sunlight pouring into the church’s stained glass windows and its wood, sun-warmed all day, smelled deliciously comforting — like all my old camp buildings.
My processional was the song Dona Nobis Pacem — Give Us Peace — the the pre-processional my favorite hymn, Jerusalem. The recessional? Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine of My Life.
It was a lovely place and time and then we all had dinner in a restaurant’s private upstairs room in the city.
Hard to believe a decade has flown by.