The Road to Coupling: The Normans – 10 Days in 10 Years – Part 3

Art by artist Donald Calloway

Art by artist Donald Calloway

Defining Moments

The more Shoni and Scott corresponded, the more real he became. Pictures of him popped up on her computer desktop screen – in the tile pattern.

At Coco Farm Winery's Harvest Festival - Ashikaga-Shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan

At Coco Farm Winery’s Harvest Festival – Ashikaga-Shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan-2000

He’d gotten a part as an audience extra in the Spike Lee movie Bamboozled and we had to watch that one scene repeatedly until we were sure she saw him in the audience. The more dreamy-eyed Shoni grew over him, the more dreamy and focused her music became.

After stints at open mic nights, performing with bands around Michigan and in Canada, and writing constantly, Shoni’s music career was blossoming. She formed her own band. And the spring of 2003 saw the release of “IS,” her first CD, with a release event. Scott made it a point to be there.

Shoni: It was a sweet thing for him even to suggest that he come. It was a big weekend for me. It was, you know, the beginning of a beginning — a personal redefinition. So to have him here was a little nerve-wracking. I felt exposed. I had gained a lot of weight and was nervous about my body. I wondered if he’d recognize me. Would he be repulsed?

But again, it was as if no time had passed. It felt right. That was when I realized that he’s the one. I didn’t want to voice it, although we were flirting and dropping mad hints that we really liked each other still. And we talked and talked. So it was a magical weekend… to have my love interest there too. The one I had dreamed about for so many years.

Scott: So I came out here, spent the weekend at her home, and I was done. When it was time for me to leave, we went to breakfast and we cried at the table. She took me to the airport, and I got out the car. I turned around and I said, ‘I love you. I’ll be back.’ When I turned back around to walk away, I was like, ‘What the f— did I just say? Did I just say that? What’s wrong with me?’

I got on the plane wondering what the f— was wrong with me… ’cause I was actually dating two women at the time. One woman more so than the other, I was kind of done with, but I really liked the other one.

On that plane ride back to New York, he thought about all the times he’d talked himself into staying in a relationship.

Scott: You’re always talking yourself back in despite the stuff that’s wrong. Like, you know, ‘She’s cross-eyed, but the sex is really good.’ Or ‘I don’t like that attitude she has, but she does treat me nicely.’ But here I was trying to find the wrong stuff to talk myself out of this strange feeling that I had. And I had no ammunition. I had nothing to talk myself out of it with. It was a complete reversal… the whole experience was just absolutely brand new.

But I realized I was tired of playing, and I was, in fact ready for love. After Shoni had reconnected with me, I went for a reading from a friend of mine who does Tarot cards and Reiki and one of the cards she pulled was Love and that I would find my soul mate that year! And you know, when you’re ready for something that’s what calls the cards up. I had been praying for it privately.

But back to why I was trying to talk myself out of it. I was the ringleader of my group of fellas who’d go out looking for women, having fun with women. Not trying to be serious. Not trying to hurt women, but just have fun. And now here I was ready to drop everybody, after one weekend. But this was only the fourth time I’d seen Shoni face-to-face. There was the first weekend we all went there; the next weekend when they came to visit us; the weekend before I went to leave for Japan. And now this weekend of her CD release party. That’s a total of 10 days distributed over 10 years. So I’ve seen this woman like a day a year and now I’m ready to just give up everybody and everything for her? So back to the original question, ‘What the heck is wrong with me?’

Scott continued to ponder over his declaration of love; at the same time, he was wondering what he was going to tell the “fellas” who were going to want to hear of this weekend conquest. And it rolls out like a scene from a movie.

Scott: So we get together, and one of the fellas says, “Come on, Scott. Tell us about your weekend.’

I looked around the table and said, ‘Guys, I’m done.’

My buddy Sean said, ‘What do you mean you’re done?’

I said, ‘I’m done. I found the one. That’s it. I’m done with all the other ones.’

Sean said, ‘Are you serious, man?’ Then he said, ‘Man, that’s good news.’

Then my buddy Rob said, ‘Hold up. Wait. What are you talking about? Who the hell is this person? What the hell is wrong with you?’

Scott told the woman with whom he’d been spending most of his time, and she took it well. They remain friends to this day. He spent the rest of his time courting Shoni. He visited her in Detroit. She visited him in New York. Then he made a leap and moved to Detroit in the fall of 2003.

Shoni was living in a one-room carriage house then. The plan was for Scott to live with her for a short while then move out on his own. But the latter never happened. Living with Shoni “felt like home” he said.

 

Ties that Bind

Shoni: Months after he moved here, it was a Sunday evening, and we’re both stripped down to our underwear just talking while he was washing the dishes. I think I was sitting on the bed keeping him company, and we started talking about our life together and what we were gonna do. Then he just asked me to marry him.

I kept my face straight intentionally because I didn’t want him to freak out because I don’t think he thought about it. It just came out. I was like, ‘Does he know what he just said? I’m gonna keep my face straight and respond quickly. Yeah, I’ll marry you.’

And then it hit him and his knees buckled. He turned off the water and came to the bed, cause we had only one room and no sofa. He sat down and he was trembling.

I said, ‘Yeah. Calm down. Just relax. It’s all-cool. You asked. I accepted.’ We made plans to tell our parents on Mother’s Day.

During their engagement period, Shoni was laid off from her day job as a graphic designer, giving the couple bonding time. They hung out at Belle Isle park; Scott read Harry Potter to her. They discovered the snacks they each loved — Scott, doughnuts; Shoni, Cheetos and Green Tea for both. Scott learned his way around the Detroit area on his bike (he’d been a bike courier in NYC). He got acting jobs on stage, in movies, and commercials and he found part-time jobs. Shoni developed her own graphic design agency, and started her own record label.

IMG_1816The couple married on September 10, 2005, the same year Shoni’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. But she managed to dance at her only child’s wedding just like she’d always wanted. Scott’s family flew in from New York and elsewhere.

It was one of the most unique and fun weddings I’ve attended. Prior to the ceremony was the wedding dinner at a hotel in Pontiac, Mich., Shoni’s hometown, followed by a bus ride for all to a wedding chapel in nearby Waterford. The bus returned everyone to the hotel for the reception, which was filled with house (Shoni’s favorite) and Caribbean music (Scott’s mother is Trinidadian). They had a second reception in New York so more of Scott’s family and friends could celebrate the nuptials.

 

Years Go By

Shoni and Scott Norman celebrated their 10th anniversary this past September to little public fanfare. But like their engagement period, they spent private time at their favorite spot in Detroit, Belle Isle.

Despite being interviewed separately, their answers about what holds together their marriage were similar.

Scott: We talk a lot. I think that was the big aphrodisiatic selling point that first weekend I came to Detroit. We have times that we’re not communicating well and the marriage seems messed up. But then, we sit down and talk and that fixes everything.

Shoni: Communication is really the cornerstone. That summer I was laid off, we established a mission for our marriage and our lives. It’s constantly reinforced in our conversation. We often ask each other, ‘How are we doing? We still good? Do we still like each other? Do we still want to be with each other?’ We want to remain in love but the standard is to like each other.

 

The Road to Coupling is a blog series about married couples, what led them to get married and what holds them there. Read the first two stories in the series about the Normans.

Part 1: The Road to Coupling: The Normans – 10 Days in 10 Years

Part 2: The Road to Coupling: The Normans – 10 Days in 10 YearsThe Middle

 

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11 Comments
  1. I really think you should consider using this concept for a book. You already have a title and the first three chapters. I’m just sayin.

  2. I truly loved this series, learning and getting to know Scott, Shoni, very beautiful relationship well written and very entertaining truly. I wish them 10×10 more anniversaries GOD bless them both, communication is truly everything in a relationship. Look forward to this series, how can one be interviewed for this or any future series?

  3. Hi Dale. I’m soooo glad you like it. They really are an inspiring couple.

    I’m actually in the process of compiling a list of married couples to feature. So if you and your wife would like to be included or if you know of an inspiring couple, please email me at andrea@andreadanielpoet.com. To start, all I need to know is the date you all (or the interested couple) were married. Then I’ll schedule an interview.

    Thank you so much for your interest.

    Andrea

  4. Great story :)

  5. I love them even more after this article. Bravo!

  6. I love them even more after this article. Bravo!

  7. Such loving and inspiring experiences chronicled by such a talented narrator. Love your work my sista.

  8. The love story is divine. The writing is exquisite. Yay Andi, Shoni and Scott! Love you all very much!

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