On September 19, 2009, Daren and Kim completed the first chapter of their incredible story by becoming man and wife. I was among the select group of friends and family who had the privilege of sharing their day; I also had the honor of coordinating the music for the ceremony and sharing DJ duties at the reception (a previously unrealized skill). Daren has been one of my closest friends since meeting at Tenaya Middle School in Fresno 20 years ago. We've seen each other through some doomed relationships in the past but when he introduced Kim to my wife Kacy and me, like many others have said, I was instantly aware of the amazing connection between them.
It all started on a night out with friends, back in early 2006. Victor, a former classmate of ours, knew one of Kim's friends so he began talking to their group. Daren returned from the restroom when he and Kim made eye contact and began talking, both feeling a strong connection from the beginning; Daren has described their first meeting as "love at first sight". As the evening came to an end, Kim noticed a penny on the floor laying "heads up" and gave it to Daren, she told him "this is a lucky penny". Kim was in a relationship at the time so they went their separate ways that night but Daren gave her his number in case they would get a second chance someday. He knew from how things were going that they both hoped they'd meet again when timing would be on their side. He went home, frustrated that they couldn't go out together but confident that they would see each other again.
Two years later, Daren received a text message on his phone that read "lucky penny". He knew it was Kim, and they made plans to have drinks the following weekend. That evening, Daren asked Kim to reach into his pocket and she pulled out that lucky penny she gave him when they first met. For me, a very interesting and important factor in their reunion is that he was newly single when he got her text, having just ended a difficult relationship. Timing kept them apart after that first night but he became available just in time for them to reconnect. Regardless of timing, I'm pretty sure that nothing would have kept him from answering the message he waited two years for.
Not long after they began dating officially, he brought Kim to my dad's house to meet us, around early Spring of 2008. Later that year, they had a holiday party; I thought he may have been using that as a chance to pop the question because I knew just as well as he did that she was the one for him. I asked him before the party and he said "no, but don't worry I'll tell you when I do." Just two months later he called to tell me that he had the ring and on Valentine's Day she said yes. On their wedding day, with Daren's Best Man Kevin, his friend for 30 years, by his side and Stacey, Daren's cousin, by Kim's side, Daren's lucky penny lived up to its name.