April 4, 2021
Newark, NJ

Mbele & Elijah




Elijah Dérismé


Mbele Beti Owona




April 4


How We Met

First comes school, then comes marriage.

Here it was, high school! The biggest milestone of a teenager’s life. Clara Barton High School to be exact in 9th grade English is where it began. Having no clue that the minute we would meet, that our lives would literally change forever. Elijah was the cute funny class clown and I (Mbele) was the outgoing, bold, vocal new step team member. I got Elijah to notice me by asking him to pick up my pen, after intentionally dropping it a few times ( I clearly watch too many movies lol). It went from smiles, laughing at jokes, having the same lunch period breaks to a friendship that was brewing. A newfound friendship that plunged into intimate conversations and deep connections of family, vulnerabilities, happiness, interests and life as we saw it. With no intention of a serious relationship, it was clear that this was something special.

When We Started Dating

04 * 09 * 2011

We remained as friends up until our junior year of high school when we both sensed that this could be something real. We would spend hours on the phone talking, instant messaging on aim in addition to seeing each other in school, it began to intensify our feelings. Elijah was first to say “I Love You,” I for one was in shock, and I knew I did too but was afraid to admit it. Elijah is the one guy I know who wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn't care what anyone has to say about it. After days of playing it over in my mind, I mustered my courage and told him that, I loved him too (felt like such a sucker lol) but it went without saying that my feelings were just as strong. On April 8, 2011, Clara Barton High School was having its annual talent show and my step team was performing. As I was stepping, I remember hearing my name and skimming over the crowd to see where it was coming from. I saw Elijah standing from the crowd screaming out “ GO BETI! “ & I felt like the only girl in the world as he called out my name. The next day, he asked to see me and I agreed to meet up with him. Elijah in all his glory, sweaty and nervous with his big cheesy smile ( we still laugh about how nervous he was ) Elijah asked me to be his girlfriend. I said yes, and everyday after that, we’ve been inseparable.

The Proposal

05 * 14 * 2019

Mbele graduating from nursing school, I (Elijah Dérismé) felt was the best time to ask for her hand in marriage. I knew this would allow everyone, including her family and mine to be present in one place. I rented out a townhouse and had my family cook food for the celebration. During this celebration, Mbele gave her speech of appreciation and thanked those that were apart of her journey. When she thanked me, I shed a few tears. Despite what happens in life, I know Mbele and I can move forward together, on stable and shaky grounds. We have always been one even before this day. Once she finished her speech, it was time for me to speak and I simply told her how my soul felt. As I spoke to her in spirit, reality started to settle in, that I was making a decision of a lifetime by asking her to be my wife on one knee. It was an unforgettable moment that could not be explained. It's something that you can only live through. Mbele was speechless with tears of joy. Her answer to her high school sweetheart was Yes! … Now we are preparing for a wedding & a life lived together.. till’ death do us part.