In 2004, when I met Alan at a party in Mainz, Germany, what I knew about Dallas was mostly derived from the TV series with the same name. I did not even want to know more, as I had no intention to fall in love with this IT guy from Dallas, who was on a work assignment in Germany and would leave again after two years.
I had a good life in Mainz, a career in fiction- and TV-movie writing, a great group of friends, my family, lots of travels and a house right on the Rhine River.
But intentions and destiny clashed. I just loved to hang out with this guy who was nicknamed “The Dude” by his friends. I learned that we shared views and core values which was comforting, while being different was the exciting part. Even my dog, who didn’t like many men, loved him.
When I accompanied Alan on a work trip to Dallas, I realized that my TV-induced conception of the city was quite wrong: There were no oil pumps but trees, diverse neighborhoods and a bustling creative scene. We both agreed that if we ever lived in Dallas together, it should be close to White Rock Lake. But that was a big IF at that time.
So Alan kept delaying his move back. After three years, he gave me a diamond ring and after five years, he was still in Mainz, and we got married. After seven years then, when his company´s patience wore out and urged him to come back to Dallas, I knew I would follow him.
In the German language, there is the idiom “Don’t replant grown trees,” which some of my friends quoted, warning that I would never grow new roots in Texas. But I didn’t listen. I had this melody in my head, an old song by Gladys Knight. The lyrics, “I´d rather live in his world than live without him in mine,” seemed to be composed for me.
So I had my car shipped to Port Authority and took a plane, my dog in its freight belly.
From New York, I drove the whole 1,500 miles to Dallas. I wanted to physically conquer the distance between the world I knew and the American Southwest, not just jump in and out of an aircraft and be catapulted in the unknown.
When one night, I stopped at a dog-friendly motel in Alabama and found myself right in the aftermath of a gigantic tornado, I admittedly got nervous again, but didn’t have second thoughts. I arrived in Dallas, and there was Alan with a bouquet of roses — and also a bit-nervous smile in his face.
Ten years later, I can say that I did grow new roots in Dallas. I found friends, favorite hang-outs and restaurants, favorite book stores and favorite Texan destinations like Enchanted Rock and Big Bend. I had my first book in English published, the thriller Island of Dead Gods which, of course, is another huge favorite. But most of all,I am with my favorite man.
— as told by Verena Mahlow