There’s an old saying that everyone you meet in life is either a lesson or a blessing. I’m lucky enough to have had quite a few blessings in my life.
It was late summer when a good friend of mine was coming to the East Coast from Chicago. The Macedonian convention was in town, something I had never been too and it’s what we looked forward to throughout the summer.
My friend Ilce is just one of those people that has a magnetic energy, he can light up any room and I hadn’t seen him in over a year.
When I asked him who was picking him up from the airport, he told me my cousin was going to get him. I wondered to myself which cousin he was talking about, since almost my entire family lives in Macedonia.
My cousin’s name is Brendan, I had heard of him, we even talked on facebook a few times, but I never actually had the chance to meet him in person. That day I immediately got his number and made arrangements to meet up with him in the city, so we could pick up our friend Ilce Trajceski.
Long story short, New York City traffic was a complete disaster, in order to get to the airport on time I had to find my cousin I’d never met in the sea of traffic. As I wandered the unfamiliar streets of the city I finally spotted his convertible BMW and hopped in.
We automatically hit it off, it felt like we’d known each other our entire lives and I could see familiarity in his eyes, I knew he was family. After minutes of non-stop conversation we turned to each other shook hands, introducing ourselves laughing at how it was nice to finally meet each other.
“We’re definitely family cuz, I can’t believe it took so long for us to finally meet” said Brendan Boceski with a huge smile on his face.
We were both so excited to pick up Ilce from the airport, and what the weekend had in store for us. In the mean time we made up a devious plan to tell Ilce I couldn’t come to the airport because I was too tired, which he wasn’t too happy about.
On the ride to the airport, I began to tell my cousin about my friend he’d meet over the weekend.
“I can’t wait for you to meet my friend Angela, she’s amazing, so beautiful and chill just like us, you guy’s are going to love her” I said to him in so much joy and excitement, it’s almost like I knew.
As we approached the airport I ducked down, so Ilce wouldn’t know I was there. When the car pulled up, I jumped out just to his complete surprise.
“When you told me you weren’t coming I was like bitch you played me, we were talking about this all damn summer,” said Ilce as he laughed.
We both embraced in such a genuine hug, as best friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long long time do, it had been too long.
“It was my first time in New York City, I just wanted to feel the city breeze,” said Ilce with look of complete ecstatic. “I couldn’t wait to see all my friends from Macedonia in one spot, I knew it was gonna be majestic as fuck.”
We spent the rest of the late night walking brightly lit streets and of course we walked around in Time Square as tourists do.
Fast forward to the next day, we made our way back to my home in New Jersey, and started making plans for that night.
I called my friend Angela telling her to start getting ready and come over so she could meet my cousin and Ilce already. She told me she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t think she could make it.
“Angela you have to come, we’ve been talking about this all summer and you’re going to feel better once you get up,” I told her persistently. “It’s going to be the best time, and you never know who you’re going to meet, what if you meet the love of your life tonight, you’re going to miss it because you don’t feel good? Get up,” I relentlessly told her.
I told the guys she might not come, and they insisted she come out, they really wanted to meet her.
“Um I came all the way from Chicago, she better come out, call her again,” Ilce insisted.
A few hours later we were all dressed up and ready to go. We cleaned up pretty nicely, but we were just missing Angela so we made a few drinks. Joining us, my parents turned on some music, while my father told the guys try some homemade rakija,the Macedonian version of moonshine.
“I remember that night I was even kidding around, saying you think she’ll like me,” said Brendan with rosey cheeks remonsicing on that moment.
The doorbell rang, finally Angela had arrived. Drunk off of excitement and a lot of alcohol, we ran to greet her with such excitment, except Brendon, he seemed a bit quiet.
“When I first saw him he was red from rakija, he was all shy looking at the ground and later your mom started fixing his hair before we left and we started talking a little,” said Angela laughing uncontrollably.
Little did we all know what fate had in store for them, or maybe me and Ilce secretly did know. As soon as we arrived to the party hall, it was almost empty. We were all confused, especially me, since Macedonian parties in New Jersey are usually overflowing with people.
The dance floor was nearly empty, so we all hopped into the traditional Macedonian dance in the form of a circle, known as the oro. Before we knew it the dance floor grew full, and we went in the middle where Ilce whipped out a huge Macedonian flag.
We danced for a long time when we realized, our friends were missing. Ilce and I found Angela and Brendan outside smoking cigarettes while they talked with another guy from Florida, who we all called ‘Daytona’. Together we joined their conversation for some time until, we decided to go back to the party.
“We went inside to dance the oro, and Brendan didn’t know how to dance
We danced the first round when it was the easy part, then we went to get a drink and went outside because we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves,” laughed Angela.
It was clear Angela and Brendan were enjoying their conversation, so Ilce insisted we leave them alone, and shooed ‘Daytona’ to join us back inside. For the rest of the party we didn’t see Angela and Brendan until we all went home together.
“We went outside and stayed outside beneath the stars all night just talking,” said Brendan.
It was late at night, the sky looked beautiful, so I figured it would be nice to sit outside in the backyard. I brought out a huge teal blanket and some fluffy pillows with us so we could be comfortable..
“I brought ya’ll together,” said Ilce sarcastically. “If it wasn’t for me none of this would of happened.”
Together we all sat laughing, reflecting on the night talking about how crazy this all was, and how happy we all were to have connected to each other so spontaneously. The sky was so clear and the night was full of such good energy, we all couldn’t have been happier to be together.
The next day Angela woke me up around 10 am, she always looks absolutely beautiful, but that morning there was something very different about her, she was glowing. She told me it was crazy how the whole night was, about their conversations, and how she had never felt so connected to someone.
Of course Ilce had been up before us all, already drinking chai with my mom, so we all joined. Angela had work in a few hours, but her car wouldn’t start, which is another funny story.
While Brendan and Angela went around the front to try figuring out what was wrong with her car, me, my mom, and Ilce all smiled as we drank our chai on my back porch. We all knew one thing, they were perfect for eachother.
Later that day after we dropped Angela off to work, Brendan told me he had never had such a deep connection with someone it was crazy. I smiled knowing Angela had told me the exact same thing earlier.
“It was love at first sight,” grinned Brendan. “You know what’s crazy when you meet someone and you never end up leaving their side, it changes your life.”
Just a few months later Brendan and Angela got married in The Garfield City Hall. Before they said their I dos, we all anxiously waited in the parking lot.
It was a Saturday, and when we arrived at the door it was locked. Frantically, we all tried to figure out if there was a mistake or if we had the date wrong. After a few calls the mayor pulled into the lot, and hopped out of his car.
“Usually I’m the one that has to wait for the bride, not the other way around,” said mayor Joseph Delaney jokingly.
Everyone laughed with relief as we paraded into the building, after all it was a big day and we were all so blessed to be a part of it.
It was magical, where I could truly feel the love emanating off of them, together they were glowing. They’re planning a huge wedding in Skopje, Macedonia, and both their families couldn’t be happier.
Throughout my lifetime I’ve heard stories of love at first sight, soul-mates, and happily ever afters, but I would never have thought that I’d be someone in the midst of so many blessings all at once.
Montclair State | New Jersey