I met Felipe in college about 20 years ago.
Thanks to social media, we had the chance to connect again last year—just to say hi and catch up.
Felipe surprised me.
He confessed almost immediately he was looking for a companion with whom he could spend the rest of his days. “God knows my prayer and must certainly have a plan,” he said, showing a self-assured smile.
I thought, “Well, lucky her!”
He then described the woman he was looking for, and she sounded…unsettlingly…like my exact self. We started dating genuinely, pretending we did not know about God’s secret plan.
We kept up a long-distance relationship for almost a month. (Felipe lives in Neiva, I live in Bogotá.) Then, on a call one afternoon, he told me he was not feeling well and had COVID-19 symptoms. I took a flight the next day to visit him.
At his home, I found a sick man. But what really left me speechless were his words.
“I don’t know what this disease will do to me,” he managed to say. “I was going to wait a bit longer to give this to you, but I think now it’s time.” I saw a ring in his hand. I watched him nervously get down on one knee.
Surprised and terrified by the depth of his fear (and, truthfully, by his proposal) I immediately hugged him.
I stayed the next days with him. I nursed his night fevers. I sat by him as he slept. I quietly stared at his tired eyes whenever he needed comfort. I begged the universe not to take him away from me. Not now. Not after I had fallen completely in love.
Some people laugh when I tell them about Felipe’s proposal. They think he was rushed, bold, or confused. But deep in my own heart, I know he was brave. In the same way, a terminally ill patient does not simply want to fade away, a fate we have seen repeated countless times during the pandemic—Felipe refused to let the opportunity slip by to propose to the woman he had chosen to share his life with. It didn’t matter how short that life together might be.
Many people don’t understand this, don’t understand what happened at that moment. I do.
When you see in the news and in your neighborhood people dying in unbelievable numbers, what can powerfully move you forward? A fear of dying without ever having really loved.
What does Covid have to do with love?
Nothing—if you don’t care how fast life flashes by.
And everything—if you fear you will run out of time and won’t be able to say I love you to the one who means the most to you.
Felipe thinks it’s God’s plan. I think it’s a wake-up call. We risked uncertainty. We bet on a life together.
And why not?
Think about life being like a raindrop falling. We tumble miles and miles from the sky to the earth. We all know how things start, and we all know how it’s going to end.
Isn’t it a perfect time, during a brutal pandemic, to decide who to fall with? This decision was not as crazy as it was, mostly, revealing. We unveiled each other’s purpose.
This story has a happy ending.
After two weeks of symptoms, Felipe recovered at home. Like his health, our relationship has grown stronger and stronger still. We’ve set a date for our wedding. We’ve relegated problems to a bottom shelf. I believe we have built a tiny drop of happiness falling on its natural path in the rain. We both hope it’s a long-distance yet to where we’ll rest on the earth.
Felipe says I saved him.
I think he found a reason to live and fight. His love saved him.
What else, if anything, could have?