(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And it's Friday when we hear StoryCorps. And today we have a COVID love story from Detroit. When Omar Anani first met his wife Namira, he was instantly smitten. But for Namira, it took asking Omar for a wake-up call to realize he was the one. Here, she remembers that moment.
NAMIRA ISLAM ANANI: I had asked you to wake me up early, and then you did. I remember we hung up and then there's a knock on the door and I look through the little peephole and I'm like, wait a second. Is that Omar? And I also was thinking I don't have any makeup on. Like, he hasn't seen me without makeup on. And then I had to grab my scarf. And then when I opened the door, you just handed me this cup of coffee and left, just to make me happy and put a smile on my face. And I think that was the moment. It just settled. This is the guy that I'm in love with and I'm going to marry.
OMAR ANANI: I knew right away, whereas you took some time to warm up to the idea.
N ANANI: It was three weeks (laughter) right? Within three weeks, we agreed to get married. What was going through your mind when you found out I had COVID? What was that time like for you?
O ANANI: That was really, really rough, especially being newly married, right? We'd only been married for, like - what? - four months.
N ANANI: And then we were separated for six weeks because I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to you and you caught it. When I first got sick, it was a Wednesday. From Wednesday to Saturday, my breathing got a lot worse, and you were calling and then sometimes I couldn't pick up. And then when I could pick up, every two words, I was having to stop to take a breath.
O ANANI: Back then, COVID was still new. And I think my ignorance allowed me to not think those dark thoughts. Since then, I've had multiple friends die from COVID. So it's very hard, especially when you're the person that likes to fix things, right? And there is no fix it when it comes to that. I remember bringing you food and I would sit on the doorstep. And I remember one day I sat in the driveway in my truck and you sat in the bay window of the living room. We kind of just sat there and ate dinner and talked to each other.
N ANANI: It was one of those moments where it really cemented to me how important our relationship was and how much joy it brought into my life. I'm like, I want this level of happiness and I want this joy.
O ANANI: Just like how I knew right away that you were the right person to spend the rest of my life with, I know and have faith that no matter how tough things get, they're going to be OK.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS ZABRISKIE'S "NIRVANAVEVO")
INSKEEP: Omar Anani and Namira Islam Anani. Omar is the owner and chef of a restaurant in Detroit, and Namira is a nonprofit lawyer. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress with hundreds of thousands of others.
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