It all started in the front office of Team Tooke MMA with a conversation about Marvel comics and movie adaptations. Allison worked there in the office and Andrew trained there in preparation for his first fight.
Unfortunately, the conversation was cut short by the nosy security guard, but even still, it had a lasting impact.
There was something about Andrew that caught my attention and caused him to stand a part in my mind. Working at a gym with lots of testosterone and only a sprinkling of other women, led me to be a bit more assertive with men. After a while you get used to flirting guys and take every conversation that didn’t pertain to training with a grain of salt. At least that was my typical way of handling things, but that evening he came into my office for his account and left after a conversation about Marvel heroes. Our first and also last conversation for some time.
[Side note: Later I found out that he was ignoring me due to thinking that I was under eighteen (side-note to the side-note: Bless up, melanin!) but I was twenty-two.] Time passed after our initial conversation, with only polite greetings every now and then, until one evening out in the parking lot. As I’m putting my things into my car I notice him standing outside of his own looking my way. That Andrew grin that I’ve come to know well was out in full force. Now y’all know I stay on my stranger danger, but whether it was his kind spirit or the fact that I could have an entire gym of legitimate fighters on him in a few seconds that kept me standing there, I don’t know. Out of nowhere he asked me what my dreams in life were. One part of me was skeptical if this was some type of line, and the other was interested to see what he’d do with the information…so, I answered him. Standing in a parking alongside 249 with the light from the neon sign of a sketchy buffet, I spilled out my love for nonprofits and helping women and children. And he talked about his journey of learning more about who he was and what he believed. It was one of the least special places, but such a genuine impactful moment. And I came to learn that moments like that happened often with him. Once, after telling him I couldn’t talk due to how cold it was, he ran all the way home unbeknownst to me, just to get me a jacket. Even after a terrible fight and time apart, I remember constantly bringing him up in conversations with others. Until, one day my Ma looks over at me and asks “Do you love him?”.
Right then, confronted with that question, I realized that I did.
Read Andrew’s side of things on our wedding website, here.