The Perfect Suit

A Love Story

Fifteen years ago. That’s when I met my husband. At the time, he didn’t know that I was his nor did I know that he was mine. Yet, there we were in a hot July day at a cookout in Boston. I was home for the summer, a rising sophomore at our alma mater, Tuskegee University. He had just moved to “Beantown” for his first post-college job. In the words of India.Arie, “I found myself immediately intrigued by him.” There was something so familiar and comfortable about this man I’d just met, that I knew my life would never be the same.
We began dating in December of the same year, before becoming exclusive one year later. While I continued my studies, we began a long distance relationship. In spite of the skepticism of those around us and sometimes ourselves, we were able to sustain a relationship primarily by telephone and airplane.
When I graduated from college, I moved back home and thus closer to my love. It was a time of transition as I was at a career crossroads, he dealt with personal tragedy and we adjusted to living in the same city. The new “us” struggled with our new selves—an unemployed college graduate and a grieving son. Our personal obstacles replaced the ease of our relationship and we found ourselves drifting apart. After months of pretending that all was well, we broke up in the summer of 2004. Finding Boston unbearable in the wake of my first heartbreak, I moved to New York with $45 dollars in my pocket and nowhere to live. I couch surfed with friends until I found a job and had enough money for an apartment. Two months later, he moved to Atlanta with the hope that a change of scenery would be the panacea for his grief. We conveniently “lost touch” at my insistence.
It was during our time apart that I realized the only way to truly get over someone is to let that person go. Yet, there was something that held us together. Even in the chaos known as the dating scene, we never found complete contentment with anyone else. There was always something missing in our subsequent relationships, which we had taken for granted in our relationship with each other. This phenomenon is soul satisfaction.
Soul satisfaction occurs when you realize you are in such harmony with the person with whom you are in a relationship that even in challenging times in your relationship, there’s an underlying peace; for me that peace is based in not only knowing who I am but who’s I am. Soul satisfaction is the very moment you exhale because at your core you know that you have found a soul that compliments your own. My fashion savvy husband explained this occurrence best when he said, “Imagine if every man was allowed one suit in life. He may go through life wearing a jersey but, compared to a suit, it’s just a jersey. It can’t measure up to a suit. You’re my suit.”
Luckily, for the both of us, he was unafraid to articulate the need for soul satisfaction. He even had the courage to call me after almost a year of not having any contact. Imagine my surprise on the morning of my 24th birthday when I received a call from a number in the 678 area code.
​“Hello?”
​“Hello.”
​“Who is this?”
​“Saleemah. It’s Eric.”
Silence.

That conversation was the first of many that eventually led to our reconciliation in July of 2005.  Fortunately, we recognized the divine providence that is God’s timing before it was too late. That was my final thought in the moment before I walked down the aisle on our wedding day. After thinking of how far we had come, I took a deep breath. When I exhaled, I felt more peace than I had ever experienced in my whole life because I knew that my waiting was not in vain. My soul was satisfied in knowing that I had not been too hasty or too slow in letting life happen. If we had tried to reach our soul satisfaction before the right time, our lives would have had a different outcome. The beauty is that attaining it is out of our control as human beings. Removing a cake from the oven to soon causes it to “fall.” We must wait for the goodness of life to reach us as a baker waits for a cake to bake.