14 Feb 2019 – My Story
I wrote “The Doves of Castle Dunbrair” because I believe in soulmates. I believe in soulmates because I had the fortune of finding mine.
It was January 1967, I was twenty years old, and working as a receptionist and doctor’s assistant at a medical clinic located in downtown Toronto. I became friends with a group of medical students that had arrived from the University of Mexico for a year of rotating internship, and for a short time I dated one of the doctors until he dumped me for a pretty blond nurse.
However, the bond I’d forged with the women was strong. We went to parties, toured the city, we took a day trip to Niagara Falls, and on a long holiday weekend we flew to Montréal to visit Expo 67. When their year was up, one of the women invited me to stay at her home in a Mexico City suburb.
We landed in the early hours of New Year’s Day, 1968, to an excited crowd waiting to greet my travelling companions. I stood back watching the enthusiasm and emotions of relieved family and friends reuniting with their loved ones. All of a sudden, I became the centre of attention as my friends introduced me to everyone. We were so young and naive then, bubbling over with excitement and happiness.
“This is Roberto, my friend from University.” We shook hands exchanged clumsy formalities, and someone in the group distracted our attention by asking how long I planned to stay.
My friend had mentioned him before landing while we waited in line for the loo,
“I know a boy,” she said. “His name is Roberto. He will be good for you.” But we’d forgotten her premonition until many months later.
With luggage retrieved, and more hugs, and kisses, along with promises to get together soon, everyone took off in different directions. My friend and I walked towards the parking lot with her brother and sister, and Roberto. I didn’t realise he was going to drive us to her home.
As we drove along the thoroughfare I peered out of the windows, but it was before dawn and the streets were dark. Sitting behind our driver in his 1958 Anglia, I continued to scan the streets trying to catch a glimpse of whatever I could see of this foreign country of which I knew little other than what I’d seen in Italian produced Western movies. Every time I turned my vision from one window to the other, our eyes met in the rear view mirror.
Later the same day he came by to drive us to the University where my friend spent the afternoon enrolling in the next semester’s classes. Meanwhile, he gave me a tour of the campus, and we spent every day afterwards in each other’s company. On January 14, (I emphasise that this was 13 days after we’d met), he invited me to an evening wedding party. We sat side by side watching the bride and groom dancing for the first time as husband and wife. When I turned to him our eyes met, and in that very instant my inner voice flashed a thought in my mind:
“What would you do if he asked you to marry him?”
…And as though he had heard my thoughts in the very next instant he said, “What would you say if I asked you to marry me?”
Surprised, I blurted, “I would say yes…”
It was that easy, that simple, for both of us. From the moment we met, we understood that destiny had meant for us to be together, nothing else mattered. Believe it if you will, I really don’t care. Because I know it’s true, because that’s the way it happened for me, for us.
Since he still had two years of medical school before he graduated, I returned to Toronto and besides my full time job, I worked Friday afternoons and weekends at a department store, and I found free time to babysit. I saved as much money as I could to buy my trousseau. During those two years, we were together on only two occasions, for a total of four whole weeks! We wrote frequently and we placed the occasional 3-minute very expensive long distance phone call. That was the extent of our courtship.
We were married in January 1970, in an exquisite baroque chapel illuminated solely by candlelight. Rows of wooden pews aged with the grace of time sat on the worn stone floor in front of a majestic alter completely lavished in antique gold leafing. The aroma of old wood, candle wax and a multitude of flowers releasing their warm fragrance of balsam added to the mystic ambience. And a choir softly singing the “Ave Maria” echoed throughout the chapel welcomed family and friends sliding into the pews.
Now, almost half a century later, the memory remains vivid in my mind as though it all happened just yesterday. Our destiny was to share our lives with each other… we fell in love and we married, and our children are the fruits of our passion. When destiny changes hands with fate, I believe that we will find each other on the other side, and become one again, as soulmates do.