They met at age 17 and he knew she was the one. She wasn’t so sure; she had options so she asked her friends to vote on which of the five boys chasing her she should date.
Once she made up her mind, she was all in, giving up her position as deputy head girl so she could be his girlfriend. Today, Theven Raphael and his wife Tajera Williams-Raphael look back at those days at Vauxhall High School in Kingston with fond memories.
“Oh, so you did have me pon raffle?” Theven asked before bursting into laughter after Tajera explained why she finally gave in and dated him.
They were married six years later, on March 24, 2021 and have a five-year-old-son, Thevaun.
“When I saw her it was her appearance; she had a nice look, just the way she bring herself. She was selling sweets at the time and I begged her one just to start conversation so I could get to ask her to be my girlfriend. But it wasn’t really working. So that’s how I asked my friend, who was also her friend, for her number,” Theven told the Jamaica Observer.
Tajera wasn’t happy about that.
“I was really upset about the fact that my friend gave out my number. But my best friend kept saying he was a good guy and I should just give him a chance,” she said.
A week later she found her interest had grown so, through the grapevine of mutual friends, she let Theven know he had a chance. They decided they wanted to be together, but there was one hurdle.
“It was a struggle to keep the relationship because I was the deputy head girl at the time and Theven was considered to be one of those boys in a clique. It turned out that they said I had to choose between him or my badge. I gave up my badge because I just couldn’t choose a title over a human being,” Tajera told the Observer.
Theven was even more convinced, then, that she was the one for him.
“As time went by, I realise that I was really happy with Tajera and there is really nothing out there to run down. So me just settle, because she have everything that I was looking for in a woman. She knows what she wanted out of life. She was focused on her future and I liked that,” he said.
He won her heart by showing her that he cared, waiting for her classes to end and walking her home after school. And she was impressed by his determination.
“I also love the fact that he is very focused on what he wants, he never give up on something he sets his mind on,” she said. “I’m happy I never gave up on my relationship. We went through our rough times throughout the years yes, but we are happy for our son and what we are building.”
Marriage has been rewarding for the two who have focused on building their careers along with a family. Tajera is employed at the National Land Agency as a customer service officer. She is also enrolled at Excelsior Community College where she is doing a bachelor’s degree in tourism management and entertainment. Theven is a driver at Cannabis Licensing Authority.
They have plans to do more.
“We have about three business that we want to start,” Tajera told the Observer.
The 23-year-old high school sweethearts also make sure to find some time for fun. That, and communication, has helped them build a solid relationship, Tajera said.
“We just have to talk and we still ensure that we go out and have fun, because we young,” she said.