Sometimes, you know when you know

Published 6:33 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

Growing up, you hear all sorts of cliches about life and love and how the two tend to happen. The best advice is typically to take it all with a grain of salt and go your own path.

But I think we all, at a certain point, get to face-to-face with the fact that cliches are cliches because they are usually true.

The cliche that always got me the most was, “When you know, you know.” That always bothered me. Aside from being fundamentally redundant, it never really seemed to answer the question it retorted. Most often, that question was inquiring as to the how an individual knows he or she has found love.

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My parents met on a blind date some 30 years ago. My dad proposed the next day. That’s crazy. How did he know? How does anyone know?

The answer to that question, as I came to understand one day in the middle of March 2010 is simply, “When you know, you know.”

Redundant? Yes. Cliche? Absolutely. True? Without question.

For me, the answer came when I served as a groomsman in a friend’s wedding. The task was one to which I did not much look forward to.

But he is a good friend. So I went.

There, I met this young woman who was directing the wedding. She was a friend of the bride. I would like to tell you that we hit it off immediately and that there were sparks.

But this is not that kind of story.

Those stories get a PG-13 rating and involve a Hollywood pretty boy with overrated acting chops and whatever starlet is serving as the flavor of the week.

Those stories last about 90 minutes, usually involve some colossal screwup by one of the primary characters around the 70-minute mark and end with them getting together anyway, just like we all knew they would by watching the trailer.

This story does not have sparks or fireworks. But it does have laughter.

Lots and lots of laughter. The girl that was directing the wedding had a great laugh. I knew she did because I found out how to make her laugh early. I did it frequently throughout the weekend. Before leaving the church in Elba, Alabama where that wedding was held, I somehow knew that I was going to marry this girl. How? When you know, you know.

Cliche? Absolutely. But cliches are that way because they are true. I knew early that I was going to marry her. Friday night – last night – I did just that.

So the question I often pondered as a teenager who took his relationships way too seriously and as a young adult who could scarcely stick in a relationship was, “How do you know when you’re in love?” And the answer was simple: I knew when I made her laugh, when I felt completely comfortable with her without knowing her for very long. I knew, when I knew.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of the Demopolis Times.