Love Story

All it took was just one look

Patrick Conway and Thaylia Smith met at Jardine’s jazz club, which has since closed. They’re getting married next month.
Patrick Conway and Thaylia Smith met at Jardine’s jazz club, which has since closed. They’re getting married next month. The Kansas City Star

Thaylia Smith, 52, was stressed out. Many nights that fall of 2009 she couldn’t sleep, so she’d go to Jardine’s Restaurant and Jazz Club to hang out with friends and listen to music.

Patrick Conway, 48, was the percussionist for Mark Lowrey With Drums, one of the late-night bands. Though he didn’t usually mingle with the audience, Patrick noticed one night in November that Thaylia looked troubled. He thought she might need a bit of levity.

So he strolled over and asked if he could put his drink on her table. She didn’t look up; she just crossed her arms and said, “I don’t care.” Patrick gazed at her, and when she finally did glance up, everything changed.

First impressions:

Thaylia: “I saw these amazingly alive blue eyes. That’s when I started to come out of my dark place.”

Patrick: “Thaylia was attractive, with a sultry energy. I wanted to get to know her.”

The unfolding: That night Thaylia wrote on her calendar, “Drummer sat at table.” She continued to attend the late-night sessions, and she and Patrick got to know each other.

Married young, he had long been divorced. Thaylia had been engaged years earlier and had decided “never again.” Though she was not interested in a relationship, she gradually began to admire Patrick’s rich voice, his musical prowess and the way he could make her laugh.

Patrick appreciated Thaylia’s warmth, caring and intelligence. They spent time together in the summer of 2010, and by the following summer, both realized they were in love.

The proposal: Two years later, Patrick figured they would get married and he picked out an engagement ring. On Jan. 12, 2014, after watching one of their favorite TV shows, “Downton Abbey,” Patrick felt the moment was right. He offered Thaylia the ring, saying, “I bought this because I want you to be my wife.”

They will be married in Kansas City in May.

Careers and family: Thaylia is a graphic designer at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Patrick is a freelance musician and a composer. They live in Kansas City. Thaylia has a grown son from a previous relationship.

The qualities they most appreciate in each other:

Patrick: “She has a quality of peacefulness and reflection. She’s fun and she also grounds me. She’s extremely warm and loving and I know she has my back.”

Thaylia: “Patrick is a happy critter and that inspires me. To all the single people who have suffered disappointments: Don’t give up. Love came to me out of the blue and it can happen to you, too.”

Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. The final Star Magazine Love Stories are running here in Saturday FYI.