“Fate brought us together,” Rashid Saxton says when asked how he met Naomi Abraham, in what he calls “a chance occurrence on the subway” 22 years ago.
“We first met on the C train when we lived in Clinton Hill, a block apart from one another. In old Brooklyn—Biggie’s Brooklyn,” Naomi further explains. “Ra lived in the building next door to Biggie and I was a block away.
“I wasn’t exactly interested when I met him but thought he seemed interesting,” she adds, noting that she did, however, find her future husband “cool and mysterious.”
“So I told my homegirl to invite him to an event she was hosting,” she winks.
As for Rashid, he was immediately interested in the young woman carrying a box of cereal on her morning commute.
“Breakfast is meant to be eaten at home, not carried on the train to eat at work, but still, I was intrigued,” he jokes. “I ended up going to the event that her roommate was hosting so I could see her, but she wasn’t there. She was working. She was always working. Months later, I bumped into her and invited her to a New Year’s Party that her roommates came to but she didn’t because—she was working. Who works on New Year’s Eve?”
“I didn’t think much of that encounter after I got off the train but looking back, unlike most events in my life, I remember so many details about that C train encounter,” Naomi adds. “I remember thinking I looked extra fly with my moon boots and Matrix long coat, LOL. I remember the handmade political prisoner event flyer my friend was handing out—pretty sure it was on pink paper. I remember it was Banana Nut Crunch cereal I was carrying. I even remember the outfit he had on. I think I remember all the details because somehow on some metaphysical level, I knew that moment would be mapped on to all other moments of my life.”
It took nearly a year “of bumping into each other in the neighborhood and missed connections,” but Rashid finally got his chance to connect with Naomi when he ran into her at a restaurant where she was working—ironically, during an ex-girlfriend’s graduation dinner. “It was funny, because the ex’s father was asking me about my plans for his daughter while I was trying to figure out how I was going to slip my number to Naomi and finally make it happen,” he laughs.
After all the anticipation, their first date was, in Naomi’s estimation, “magical,” starting at a restaurant in Williamsburg and ending on the other end of Brooklyn at Coney Island. “I knew pretty much right away,” she says of falling in love with Rashid, who’d brought along his sketchbook to show her his art. “I thought that was pretty cool, especially because it wasn’t some scribble-scrabble—he had skill and I think he knew it.”
He did; in fact, the now-architect was preparing to leave the city for graduate school when he realized he was in love with Naomi.
“It was a summer day, it was raining hard and it was right before I was leaving,” Rashid recalls. “Burning Spear was playing and I realized I really cared for her and would miss her.”
“I wrote a poem about the night he is referring to and we still have it somewhere,” Naomi, now a communications strategist, adds.
After well over a decade together, the two married in 2015, when Naomi was pregnant with their first child.
“It was just the two of us in Cuba and in the background was the water hitting the shore as we exchanged our vows,” says Rashid.
“It was intimate and a joyful culmination of so much that I can’t exactly put into words,” adds Naomi.
Naomi and Rashid now share their beloved Brooklyn with their daughter Solara and son Iyasu (ages 5 and 20 months, respectively) splitting time at their compound in Mexico. In addition to what Naomi calls “the un-monetized soul work of parenting,” the couple also pursues real estate and land investments together. Praising Rashid’s parenting style, Naomi notes: “He is giving and extremely patient. I especially love that he shows up 100 [percent] and we have a fairly even breakdown in our parenting roles. During the pandemic he ran daddy daycare and he rocked it probably way better than I could have.”
“Even amidst challenges and conflict, she’s able to be so loving to the kids,” Rashid responds, crediting Naomi’s passion for life as his favorite of her qualities. She, in turn, values his integrity and humor.
“We’ve been together for so long, we’ve practically grown up together,” she explains. “We’ve been through so much together...we’ve had growing pains and that kind of thing, but it’s hard to put my finger on what’s different [at this point], aside from we’re parents now, so less us-time, less sleep, less a lot and so much more at the same time. I’ve learned that love is an accumulation of small moments and feelings of care and in our case, laughter…rather than occasional grand gestures or big feelings.”
“We’ve gotten to know each other better than we know any other person. What that translates to is seeing the full spectrum of each other’s humanity,” Rashid adds. “It’s bigger and fuller than how love, romance, etc. is depicted and maybe even how we thought about it when we were younger. It’s definitely richer and more fulfilling.”
While the two credit their relatively conflict-free relationship to natural compatibility and chemistry, they admit that “maintaining the integrity of [their] relationship amidst outside influences” has perhaps been their greatest challenge. Rashid says they find resolution in “turning towards each other.”
“I think we’ve gotten better at understanding each other’s triggers and love languages,” Naomi adds.
Now, they simply look forward to more—more love, more travel, and “seeing us in many other settings,” says Rashid, who advises that real love takes sustained effort.
“Really get to know one another,” Naomi adds in agreement. “Recognize that we’re always evolving. Your partner and even who you were last year may not be the same this year, so continue to listen and observe with curiosity—your partner, but also yourself.”
You can read prior installments of “How We Do” here.