How We Met: On a sunny morning at a Starbucks up the street. I’d brought my laptop and a small pile of work — when I noticed him walk in. If I remember correctly, he was dressed in jeans with a gray hoodie and a dark blue hat. When our eyes met, he smiled at me.. and the rest of this story unraveled into a two and half hour conversation which felt incomplete by the time one of us realized we had to go.
One of the things I remember most about our first conversation was how much we both smiled when speaking to one another. If you were a bystander that day, I’m sure we would’ve looked like a pair of old friends, quoting the action and dialog of old stories and memories. And, since then, Cole and I have been joyously investing in the wellbeing of not only ourselves as individuals, but also in our relationship, partnership and friendship, together.
how they asked: For about a month or so, Cole had been very inquisitive about details he seemed nonchalant towards, before. I noticed that he would try and slip in questions like, what my shoes size and dress size was, or if I were working on a particular Friday at the end of the month. He even went as far as to ask if I had a favorite photographer I wanted to shoot with, who lived close by. However, it wasn’t until we went to see a movie at the mall and had some time to spare, which I had calculated his true intentions behind all of his inquisitioning.
We walked into a popular jewelry store across the way from the theater and browsed for a bit. And ever so “casually,” Cole asked if I knew what my ring size was. After being measured and heading back to the movies to grab our tickets, I had a smile on my face which stayed put that whole evening.
The day of the proposal, Cole presented me with a long, sleeveless black evening gown from Calvin Klein, and thereafter told me that I had a make-up appointment scheduled for 3pm, later that day.
With a new pair of heels sitting in waiting next to the bed and a box of hand-picked jewelry on my nightstand, I was elated to begin the day — almost positive of what was in store!
When the waiter of our evening cruise seated us, I noticed that our table cloth differed from those around us. (talk about hints-upon-hints) Not only that but Cole was a nervous wreck almost the entire evening. Halfway through our 3-course-meal, I wanted to tell him that he didn’t have to be so anxious, as I held his hand across the table; giving him as many words of comfort and encouragement as I could.
As the dessert course was upon us, Cole excused himself for a moment to “use the restroom.” And that’s when ‘I knew this was it!’ It was really about to happen! I saw him speak briefly to someone else before he disappeared, thereafter returning about two minutes later.
When he finally came back — and I say finally because by this point my own leg was shaking quietly against my cushioned seat beneath our table, the music which had been playing gently in the background was softly muted by the DJ, who began to say something along the lines of, “to our special guest of the evening… Cole, take it away.”
When I tell you that my heart stopped, I am absolutely not exaggerating! The ship of which we were sailing on, with at least 200+ guests dressed-to-the-nine, fell into such a hushed state, that I’m sure that I could hear Cole’s heartbeat — which was beating at a pace fast enough for the both of us.
On bended knee, with a little black box in his hand and a smile which could restore the hope of humanity, Cole looked up at me, and asked in the most confident voice he could muster at this moment,
“Alexandria Walker, would you do me the honor of being my wife?”
Before I could say anything, I was in tears. And, not those dainty tears you see some glamorous actress shed graciously on the silver screen, but tears of which I was sure were currently giving my water-proof make-up a run for its money. When I said yes to him, I immediately hugged this man with every ounce of strength, emotion and love I had in me. I held him and held him and held him.
And even though I heard the slight beeping of a camera over the applause and cheering of the other guests, I continued to hold him. “I guess she said yes!,” the DJ announced over the microphone, as I continued to cling to Cole’s broad frame. As I relinquished my embrace and allowed him to put the ring onto my finger, the introduction to our song began to play — Marvin Gaye’s, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
With my 6-inch heels kicked off, and my hand in his, Cole led me to dance floor, and we danced in front of a yacht full of people. And even with all eyes on us — what I remember most was how honest and intimate that moment felt. The way he looked at me and the smile on his face. The warmth of his hand on the small of my back, and how he might’ve stepped on my toes once or twice :)
(Rest assure, he will be taking dance lessons before the reception of our big day)
If I could tell anyone anything, even with the knowledge of Cole’s proposal that day, none of that could have changed the raw emotion and reaction of which I had when he did ask. There’s just something about the way it feels to have someone else profess their love and commitment to you aloud — I truly believe that that is what actually brings someone to tears.
Not the size of the ring, or the place of scenery, but the genuine gesture itself. That’s the cherry-on-top.
That’s the icing on the cake. That’s what opens the floodgates to tears you thought you’d be able to hold back. And that is what makes your “yes,” one of the most honest answers of your lifetime.
Photos by: Hornblower Cruise