As I was preparing this post I debated for a while whether I wanted to introduce it with my own words or let you just go straight into it immersing yourself in a tale of true love enduring despite adversities. Following on from yesterday’s very, very trivial post (compared to this one!), this story shows how traditions and cultural heritage have such a hold on who we are that the choices we make will affect us for the rest of our life, even if that means swimming against the current.
I thank Paula Player for sharing this beautiful images with us, and Sean and Mona for telling us their story in the most eloquent and emotional way.
Come back for part II later this afternoon to read Sean and Mona’s account of the actual wedding day. But now, sit back, relax and enjoy it…
In the summer of 2009 a most unlikely couple was brought together, a couple who would defy odds and face immense tribulation on their road to finding love together, Sean and Mona. Against all probability they were introduced through mutual friends at a local fitness center. Mona, a timid and polite British Indian, was a small, quiet woman. Her thin, muscular body stood in a perpetual state of poised posture, as though under the calculating gaze of a strict board of directors. Her large, brown eyes gave testimony to her innocence and beauty, underlined by a soft voice enriched with a thick, northern English accent. Her gentle poise fell in stark contrast to that of the man she had just met. Sean, a gruff former Marine, was anything but poised. His graveled voice did little to justify his otherwise impressive diction. A bearded, sharp jaw sat atop a broad, muscular frame, which was in a constant state of dishevel due to his rigorous CrossFit training.
It would come as no surprise that Mona had at first, found Sean’s loud and abrasive nature to be quite intimidating. His recent time in the Marine Corps had left him with a prevailing intensity in his demeanor, a sharp contrast to Mona’s calm, placid personality. However, as months drew on their casual relationship with each other gradually began to develop into a strong, unlikely friendship, rooted in their mutual fascination with one another. It would be in the following year that this friendship would evolve into their bold realization that their growing affection was a bond strong enough to swear a permanent commitment together.
Despite their passionate love and a yearning to commit to each other, Sean and Mona would face harrowing difficulty obstructing their future. Mona, being Indian, faced immense pressure from the greater Indian community. Their affinity for tradition looked unfavorably on her desire to marry outside of the established racial boundaries that all-but forbade interracial unions. Yet she spurred herself on, and with Sean’s support and the blessing of her parents, siblings, and close friends, Mona made the decision to sacrifice her social status for a future with the man she knew would be her husband.
Sean’s proposal to Mona had to be small and covert, the product of the brilliance of his friends and confederates. His plans for an effectively romantic proposal relied on the his ability to achieve surprise. However, surprising Mona would be no small task due to her regimented evening rituals and unnatural attention to detail. He had to rely on clandestine, calculated planning involving many different cogs. The ring, designed by the expert touch of George Baho of G and G jewelry in New York, had arrived in the days before the proposal was to commence. The 1 carat platinum princes cut diamond was kept hidden in a small gun safe as the remainder of the plan manifested.
On the day of the plan’s activation, Sean began the morning by feigning intestinal discomfort. In a rouse worthy of even the most profound hoaxes, the act was maintained throughout the day, “assuring” Mona that the illness was genuine. The day gave way to evening, and when the time had come Sean had requested Mona on an errand to retrieve nausea medication to “relieve” the symptoms. Mona reluctantly agreed, and departed the house entirely oblivious to the concealed assembly of 18 of her closest friends, tactically hidden from view. In the cover of the darkness down the street, beyond the sight of the house, they awaited Sean’s signal. Once the signal was given they would ascend from hiding to the house, through the back door and commence a transformation process. Inside the house Sean waited patiently until satisfied that Mona was out of sight, gave the signal to his awaiting confederates in the form of a series of flickering porch lights.
The group sprang into action. With only minutes to spare Sean and his cohort quickly began transforming the kitchen, living room, and dining room into a dreamlike oasis of small, tealight candles. Along the floors and tables were dozens of roses in glass vases, complete with dispersed petals, effectively setting the mood to a dim, tranquil romance. The group’s lone musician, with guitar in hand, posted himself in the room’s far corner and prepared to fill the air with a gentle love ballad. Sean staged himself at the room’s center, with a series of small candles creating a pathway straight to him from the room’s sole point of entry. In mere minutes the stage was set, and they waited until the sound of Mona’s approaching car prompted the switching off of the house lights overhead, revealing only the tranquil glow of the candlelight.
Mona entered the house, her eyes immediately going wide with utter bewilderment. The guitar’s gentle song of romance floated throughout the room as she stood facing a collection of faceless bodies, silhouetted by the muted glow of candlelight. Standing several meters in front of the black silhouettes was a familiar, broad shouldered figure clutching a small, ebony box in his right hand. Overwhelmed and speechless Mona slowly advanced with timid steps into the room, struggling to make sense of the sudden and radical transfiguration of the world before her. Before she had time to fully process what was happening, the broad figure quietly advanced toward her. By now, with her eyes adjusting to the room’s ambient candlelight, she could see Sean in plain view. He had already taken several steps before stopping not several feet before her. Mona only stood, words catching in her throat, unable to speak, only looking on, her surprise beginning to give way to an emotional choke as she fought the welling of tears in her beautiful, brown eyes.
Sean reached down and took her by the hand, and calmly but deliberately lowered himself to his right knee looked up into Mona’s tear-filled eyes, and spoke in a muted whisper, “Will you marry me?”