Turquoise McCray & Jared White
September 5, 2021, in Philadelphia
Turquoise saw a friend sitting on her neighbor’s porch and went to say hello. “My friend introduced me to Jared, and it was like lightning, I had an instant shock,” she said. “This had never happened to me before and, honestly, it wasn’t something I believed in.”
“I was intrigued by her, but I didn’t want to push too fast,” Jared said of those first moments in Spring 2007. “I gave him a hint – eye contact. My eyes were all the talk.
A few days later, Jared got his number from their mutual friend and called Turquoise with a question they both knew was an excuse.
“I asked him the question – whatever it was – then put it aside and started a conversation to get to know you that lasted at least three hours,” he said.
“We talked until we fell asleep on the phone,” Turquoise said.
There were more phone calls, groceries, and nature walks along Indian Creek in Morris Park. The sparks remained, but no one did anything for eight months, when Turquoise asked Jared to go to the movies. He said yes, then canceled at the last minute.
“A coworker stepped onto my foot by accident and I had to go to the hospital,” said Jared, who is now 42.
Turquoise, who is now 32, was a little sad and a little dubious. “I thought maybe he was making this up because he didn’t really want to date me.”
Then Jared invited her to dinner and arrived with a big boot on his feet. They were talking and laughing all the time.
“I fell in love with his personality,” Jared said. “She is very smart and ambitious. She is funny. She says what she thinks. She is spontaneous and caring, and I saw all of these characteristics on our first date.
Turquoise knew right away that Jared would always make her laugh and soon knew a lot more. “I felt safe and comfortable. What really attracted me to him was that I could be me, he accepted me for me, ”she said. “He’s really sweet and caring and loving, strong on the outside and on the inside, a teddy bear.”
The couple have three children. Jared, who is a security guard, has a son, Nafice, now 21, from a previous relationship. Turquoise, a medical assistant, also has a son from a previous relationship, Sincere, now 15 years old. Together they have a daughter, Sanai, who is 9 years old.
The couple had breakups in their romance, but even then, Jared and Turquoise remained friends and co-parents, and never stopped loving each other. They were on hiatus in 2018 when Turquoise met Jared’s dad. “He told me Jared went to the hospital for stomach pain. I dropped everything and drove to Lankenau. I went to the emergency room and found it doubled up.
That night the doctors told him he had cancer. “Non-Hodgkin T cell lymphoma, stage 4,” Jared said.
The diagnosis and the six months of chemo three days a week that followed was something Jared knew he had to go through, for himself and the kids. “But Turquoise was still there, wondering how I was doing, making sure I was okay, bringing me things.”
After his last treatment on October 10, 2018, he rang a special bell in the hospital. “Now I feel good, healthy and have returned to my normal state after three years of remission,” he said.
The couple last split the following spring, then resumed dating tentatively in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Sanai and Sincere were attending the online school. Jared wanted to be with Turquoise and the kids – to support them and protect them with whatever was going on, including an increase in COVID-related crime, and the two decided he could move into the West Philadelphia house that was going on. ‘they always share. “There was nowhere to go due to the pandemic, so we just spent time watching TV shows or movies,” Turquoise said.
In May 2020, the couple opened up about something they both achieved – they had become partners in all aspects of their lives and it was working. “We really do that. We are really around each other all the time and we are a couple, ”said Turquoise. “I don’t want to put a title on it until it’s the title, but I really like where we’re at, ”Jared agreed.
Against the backdrop of so many lives lost to the pandemic, they vowed to do whatever needed to be done to avoid losing their relationship again. They would find a way to make it work.
Turquoise wasn’t feeling well one day in July 2020, and Jared encouraged her to spend the day resting in bed. “I’ll go do some shopping and get you something to eat,” he told her. She was watching TV when he came back, put her food on the dresser, grabbed her hand, and started pulling her out of bed.
Why, Turquoise wanted to know, couldn’t he just bring her the food? But then she was on her feet, and he was on her knees. “I’m like, ‘Is he going to offer me with this soup?’ “
She stopped wondering when she saw the tears in Jared’s eyes and then rolled down his face. The moment he said, “I love you. Will you marry me? “She was crying too.” Oh my God, yes. Yes. ” said Turquoise. Jared put a ring on his finger and they kissed.
Girl Sanai was in the room the entire time, playing Roadblock on FaceTime with her cousin, who wanted to know what it was.
“Oh, my parents are getting engaged,” Sanai said casually.
The couple were planning to tie the knot on March 21, when they believed the pandemic would have eased to the point where the city could reopen. Two weeks in advance, with things not as open as expected, they made the difficult decision to call and text their 60 guests. “At first we were at a loss, then Frances [Jones, their wedding planner and Turquoise’s aunt] helped us move everything in September, and we love fall, and we knew that by then everyone would be vaccinated, ”Turquoise said.
Fifty guests joined them for the ceremony and reception at the Regal Ballroom, which had been decorated in cream, periwinkle and silver. As Turquoise walked over the petals and between the candles, hydrangeas, and roses lining the driveway, she saw her friends and family around her and, best of all, Jared at the end. “It was just everything I wanted, everything I hoped for,” she said. “It was’ Finally, here we are! I love you! We’re doing this today! ‘ “
His walk was also an amazing time for Jared. “We were in eye contact again. I was locked in on her, ”he said. “It was an incredible feeling.”
Brother-in-law Donnie Carey, pastor of Kingdom Harvest International Church in Camden, guided them in their vows. They later danced to “You Make Me Feel Brand New” by The Stylistics. Jared and Turquoise laughed the whole time.
After the wedding, the couple went on a cruise to the Bahamas. “It was super fun and very relaxing,” Jared said. “It was really nice to have this time with my new husband,” Turquoise said.