Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In anonymity, I thee wed

TAMPA — On Friday morning, some six hours after two people in England got married in a ceremony watched by millions, two other people in the Hillsborough County clerk's office got married in a ceremony watched by family.

He had on sand-colored boots and camo fatigues with a digital camera in a Velcro pocket.

She wore white. Her dress came from Ross, her heels came from JCPenney, and her silver butterfly necklace came from Walmart, 50 bucks total. She got up early to do her own hair.

Timothy "T.J." Sloan and Lilian Julieth Padilla approached Window 3 in fluorescent-lit Room 140 in the old downtown courthouse. The sign said PLEASE TAKE A NUMBER.

He's 20, she's 17, and they didn't want to wait. He's deploying in August to Afghanistan.

• • •

They met in middle school in the back of the bus. He kissed her on the cheek and asked her to be his girlfriend, and she blushed but said yes. He was her first.

His mother took them to Skateworld in Town 'N Country. Her mother took them to a Halloween carnival in Oldsmar. "From there," he said, "it went to 'I like you,' and then to 'I like you, too.' " They talked about getting married, even back then, which was just kid talk, because after six months they split.

But they got back together when he was a senior at Alonso High and she was a sophomore at Jefferson. A year after that, after lights out one night at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Va., he used his slow-loading cell phone in his bunk in the barracks to buy her a ring off Overstock.com.

He proposed on a two-week leave on Christmas Eve morning in 2009. He gave her a card — Will you spend the rest of your life with me? — and got down on one knee. "I ran to him," she said, "and I said, 'Yes, of course.' "

She spent Thursday night in the home of her parents in the room she shares with her 11-year-old sister.

"Are you nervous?" her sister asked. "Yeah, a little bit," she answered.

It got late. She couldn't sleep. At 2 a.m. she turned on the TV. She likes TV. She watches Wedding Planner on Oxygen and Army Wives on Lifetime. The night before she was to be married, though, she watched the Disney Channel.

• • •

Lilian's mother drove her to the courthouse. T.J. drove on his own. They sat together at Window 3. The friendly clerk named Shannon had them fill out the necessary forms. Lilian's mom signed off on the marriage because of her age. Shannon asked them if everything was true and correct and to raise their right hands.

"Yes," he said.

"Yes," she said.

It all cost $104.50, $64,999,895.50 less than the wedding in England. T.J. paid in cash.

They went over to the corner of the room, where it was a little more private, and they stood under a trellis of plastic flowers and held hands.

Shannon read from a piece of paper: "Timothy, do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife …"

"I do," he said.

"Lilian, do you have this man to be your lawful wedded husband …"

"I do," she said.

Rings went on fingers and they kissed. They kissed again and they stayed like that and their families clapped. They walked out from the corner and under the EXIT sign, through some double doors and down the hall, and then out into the world. The sun made them squint. T.J. and Lilian drove away in his tan Mitsubishi Galant.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Michael Kruse can be reached at mkruse@sptimes.com.

In anonymity, I thee wed 04/29/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 7:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the shooting deaths of two Kissimmee police officers:

  2. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot

    News

    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of WESH.com
  3. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  4. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.