By Frederick Antoine
After the death of my grandmother I was left in a place of uncertainty—I have felt that I have been in an indefinable position of neither seeking nor dwelling in religiosity. At the same time, things have never been clearer for me because of the angel that came into my life when I needed one the most. My angel stands at five feet tall and is absolutely beautiful. At times she has made me reassess my entire life and has reduced me to tears more than once. She has led me to reach out and pray to God, although the truth is that I am at a place in my life where I cannot define my spirituality. This angel is my girlfriend Carolina, and I almost lost her at one point because I could not bring myself to love. That moment for me was a moment of clarity because I realized that I was in love and that I wanted to be loved more than anything. I may not be sure of God’s existence, but I believe something divine can bring two people together at just the right time in their lives.
I met Carolina at the Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity at Hampden-Sydney College in February 2012. I had returned to Hampden-Sydney College from a convention with a community service group a week before. This was a familiar time for me because it was after returning from the same convention a year earlier when I received the news that my grandmother had “gone home to the Lord.” I was experiencing some despondency as things at this point were still very unclear and uncertain for me, including where I was going to live for the remainder of my college years. For this reason, I began to question whether or not I was alone in the universe. It had seemed to me then that I was indeed abandoned. I thought that if a God had existed he too had left my life or was punishing me for a lack of faith in him. At this low point in my life, I remember reaching out in prayer, asking for forgiveness and praying to not be alone anymore.
From the moment I met Carolina I thought she was beautiful. Her long flowing hair and beautiful brown eyes captured me at first sight. Moreover, she has a smile that reveals both her warmth and her liveliness. She stuck out like a sore thumb the night we met; for some reason I detected that she was not a student of Sweet Briar College, Longwood University, or some other girl who frequently visited Hampden-Sydney. I had been trying to leave the party while she was just arriving with her friend. As it turns out, she came along with her roommate who I had met at the convention. We danced a bit and spent the rest of the night talking together. I began calling her angel sometime after we began dating the month after we met. Again, I am not really sure why or where angel came from, but the name would always come out naturally as if by conviction.
Once we began dating, Carolina and I learned that we had a great deal in common and could only disagree on menial things: Pepsi or Coke, Family Guy or South Park. We laughed at many of these things as well as joked at the fact that we were too much of the same person. We even had similar relationships with God—her family is deeply religious while she doesn’t know how she feels about God.
As is the case with most young relationships, the bliss did not last forever. As months rolled on we found more and more to argue about. These arguments have even lead to times where I have been unsure about my relationship with Carolina. The most trying time came this past summer after being apart for almost five months. Distance in addition to family problems made it impossible for us to see each other while relationship problems were created. Each day was a fight, but we remained together for the remainder of the summer because it would have been ridiculous to break up while already being so far apart.
Last weekend, Carolina called me while I was at another service convention. She was sick and had to be taken to an urgent care facility. Recalling the night I had to take my grandmother to the emergency room alone, I did not hesitate to rush to Carolina. I would not lose my angel, especially while being so far away and incapable of acting. It was then, during the hour and a half drive it took me to get to Staunton, Virginia, when I realized that I loved her more than anything and could not bear to lose her. I realized that I had been calling her angel this whole time because my prayers were answered by something divine whether or not I choose to call that divinity God. We spent our 19th month anniversary together over the weekend while she recovered and I took care of her.
There are many things Carolina and I are still uncertain about, including where our lives will take us, and God—we don’t know to what extent he is responsible for us coming together. However, we both believe that to some extent something divine has kept us together through our most trying of times. Some people have said that it’s impossible to understand the definition of love while you are young. I don’t think anyone could ever truly define love no matter their age. But, I believe that my prayers have been answered, and that I am loved.
Frederick Antoine is a senior at Hampden-Sydney College studying Economics. He has previously written for the Hampden-Sydney Tiger, and he is a member of the Society for Collegiate Journalists national honor society. Frederick is from New York, NY and plans on returning there after college to begin a professional career in information technology and services.