By Anita Debro
Special to the Birmingham Times
“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone who would, please send nominations to Erica Wright at email@example.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
BRANDY AND JAQUARIUS SKANES
Married: June 17, 2017
Met: In July 2015 Brandy, a Birmingham native, was scrolling through her Instagram social media feed when she saw that Jaquarius, also a Birmingham native, sent her a friend request. She accepted and followed him back. After that they began to text one another. “She seemed like she was independent and I liked that,” Jaquarius said. By September, the two had agreed to meet up for the first time.
First date: “We met at a park in Tarrant,” Brandy said. “The first time I saw him, he was standing in the water catching fish.” Brandy brought along two friends and after Jaquarius and two of his friends finished fishing, they decided to go bowling. Brandy said at that point she was hopeful that she would find someone she could spend time with and Jaquarius could be that person. “He was honest. He was a giving person and he was himself. He was just everything a woman would want.” Jaquarius said that first date went well. But then the two stopped talking for about a week.
The unexpected: A week after that date in September, the two reconnected and started seeing one another again. It seemed, to the two of them, that they were headed towards a relationship. On October 1, 2015 the unexpected happened: Jaquarius was rushed to the hospital with a serious gunshot wound. “We didn’t know what would happen after that, if he would be able to walk,” Brandy said. “But during that time, my feelings didn’t change. My love did not change.” Jaquarius, after more than a month in the hospital, learned that the gunshot had left him paralyzed. During that time, he said, he realized that Brandy was the person he wanted to spend his life with. He hinted at asking her to marry him. Brandy said she wasn’t sure if he was serious.
The proposal: When Jaquarius was finally released from the hospital he headed to live with his grandmother. But first he went to a jewelry store and bought an engagement ring. One day in December, he asked Brandy to come over while his mother and the rest of his family was there. When Brandy arrived, Jaquarius asked her to marry him. “I didn’t know he was really going to do it,” she said.
The wedding: Nearly one year after first meeting, the two wed at Grant Chapel AME in East Lake. Brandy said it was a big wedding with family and friends. “It was fabulous. Everything went the way I wanted it to.” Jaquarius remembers the day being a little overwhelming, “but it was exciting.”
Words of wisdom: Brandy, 22, and Jaquarius, 22, were barely
21 when they wed. Brandy said some family worried she was too young. “I had faith but other people didn’t,” she said. Jaquarius said he was not worried about their age when they wed. He said young couples can have successful marriages if they are committed to one another. “It is all about the bond they have.” Brandy agreed. “I encourage couples who are committed and ready for marriage to go for it. You will still have to learn and you will continue to learn that person.” Trust is important, she said. Jaquarius added, “trust in and believe in God.”
Happily ever after: The couple enjoy spending time at home watching movies, eating and playing NBA2k. Brandy, who works at Wal-Mart in Hoover, said she looks forward to a “bigger future” that includes her reaching her goal to become a dancer. Jaquarius said he looks forward to continuing his education and starting a family.