After a chance meeting in a basement on New Year’s Eve 1999, Dana Osman and Jennifer Cleary became star-crossed lovers.
Separated by a war, college and other relationships, each felt like they had let the other slip away.
There was the Las Vegas wedding of a mutual friend a year later. Jennifer didn’t know that Dana had been invited; Dana knew that Jennifer would be there.
They passed each other going down an escalator. The minute Dana saw Jennifer, he was “engulfed.”
Dana was serving in the Marine Corps and went back to his base. They didn’t see each other again for ten years.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Dana was in the first wave of Marines to enter Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in 2002. When he returned stateside, he heard that Jennifer had gotten married.
“I always felt like this was the one that got away,” Dana said. “I felt like I never gave it my full effort and I should have. Now she’s married to this other guy.”
Dana moved to Florida. He, too, became involved with someone else. Five years later they broke up and Dana moved back to Lansing.
By then Jennifer’s marriage had ended. She also had moved back to the progressive, cutting-edge town where entrepreneurial spirit and hometown traditions create a truly dynamic destination.
Not realizing that Dana was living five minutes away, Jennifer sent him a message on Facebook. She was going to Florida on vacation. Maybe they could meet up?
For the next three months Dana and Jennifer engaged in fake tagging on Facebook. Both admitted to “stalking the hell out of each other” on social media.
Finally, on Aug. 16, 2012, they didn’t let the other get away.
Wednesday evening at SIP, the appetizer bar on 95th Street that seems to confuse everybody with its North Side sensibility, Dana threw a surprise birthday party for Jennifer, now a yoga instructor at Suit Ur Karma a few doors down.
Dana had another surprise for Jennifer. Getting down on one knee, he popped the question to Jennifer in front of all their family and friends.
“I think I married you in a past life,” she cried, after which, they both high-fived each other. The answer was yes.
Jennifer said she was totally surprised, especially by the marriage proposal (the engagement ring was bought at Kay’s).
“The way my personality is, I can’t be surprised,” Jennifer said. “I’m a yoga teacher. I pick up on other people’s energy. I got nothing. We went to lunch at Portillo’s. He was talking and nothing seemed weird. It scares me a little bit.”
Surveying the Astro-turf beer garden behind SIP, and the back door of Suit Ur Karma, Jennifer said she needed to be punched in the face.
“The fact that it all took place here is so symbolic and energetically appropriate,” she said.
They’re planning a small wedding with 30 or 40 people. It will be on a beach, maybe Michigan or Tampa, FL.
SIP Appetizer Bar is located at 4911 W. 95th St. The bacon-wrapped
dates are amazing, plus you never know what's going to go streaking by.