Alina and Michael

How We Met

It was the summer of 2008. I was 16 years old and had just experienced my first heartbreak. In my irrational state of teenage devastation, I had decided to have my hair cut to a hideous bob. I had been moping in my bed for about a week (partly because I was heartbroken and partly because I was grounded for getting caught driving before I had my driver’s license), when my sister, Amanda, knocked on my door and told me about a party she was going to. I wasn’t interested. I definitely was not in any mood to put on makeup and make myself look presentable, but she insisted I try to have fun and that I needed to cheer myself up. I remember Amanda saying to me something to the extent of “you can go out and try to have fun, but if you stay home your just going to find yourself crying again”. I was tired of wasting my summer vacation crying so I decided to go out.

It was your typical high school, backyard party. Everyone was drinking beer, hanging by the bonfire, and having a good time. Amanda went to catch up with her friends and luckily my girlfriend, Candace, was at the party so I went to hang out with her.

As I was talking with Candace, I couldn’t help but notice a cute boy I had never seen before. He was sitting by the bonfire, wearing a baseball cap and a Boston shirt, laughing and goofing off with the other girls sitting across from him. He looked so confident and handsome, but he appeared to be flirting with girls so I assumed he was already interested in someone else. He was also sitting next to this guy, we’ll call him Sam, that I had gone on a date with the summer prior which ended awkwardly so there was no way I was going to approach him.

Later in the night, I was standing by the drink table with Candace when out of the corner of my eye I see Sam come over to me with the cute boy I saw at the bonfire. Sam asked how I was doing and making small talk when the cute boy interjected, “You’re not going to introduce me? Hi, I’m Mike”.

From that moment on Mike didn’t leave my side the rest of the night at the party, or the past 10 years for that matter. He made me feel beautiful even though I put in zero effort to look nice that night. We flirted and talked all night about the party, the music we liked, and camping and hiking.

It was the end of the night and Amanda was ready to drive me home. Mike, being so smooth, I will never forget what he said before I got in the car to leave. “So you’re 16 and single? And I am 17 and single. Maybe we could go on a date?” I think I may have rolled my eyes while I opened my flip phone to exchange numbers.

As Amanda and I drove home, I couldn’t help but smile thinking about this cute boy, named Mike.

Looking back at the past 10 years, I am confident that everything happens for a reason. Love finds you when you least expect it.

how they asked

We usually take a short trip around or on our dating anniversary which is July 28th. I am a teacher so I am already off for the summer, so each summer Mikes tries to take off a few days around then so we can have a nice anniversary. This time around I let Mike decide where we should go and I let him do most of the planning because I usually take charge of everything. He picked Cape Cod and found us a charming bed and breakfast close to the ocean. We spent the day like any other, relaxing at the beach, drinking, and exploring the shops. When it was closer to dinner time we went back to our bed and breakfast to get ready. We both decided to celebrate by having a high-end dinner at Captain Linnell House, a seafood restaurant served inside a stately historic house. We were already running late, but Mike was being so patient with me and telling me “not to worry”, “take my time”, and telling me how beautiful I looked. Mike is always complementing me and making me feel beautiful, but something about today seemed different. He had much more patience with me than he normally does and he kept staring at me more than he usually does. The moment he said “Let’s try to get there early to take a nice picture”, my heart started to race. Mike NEVER wants to take pictures. I started to think that maybe today would be the day. We had talked in the past about getting married and him proposing to me, but he said I would never see it coming. Mike is very good at surprises and to propose to me on our 10 year dating anniversary would be too obvious. I tried to get the thought out of my head because I had been let down before thinking “today might be the day”, but it never was. However, as we drove to the restaurant my heart wouldn’t stop racing. When Mike stepped out of the car to pump gas I grabbed my phone and almost texted my sister to tell her that I think Mike is proposing today. I stopped myself because I didn’t want to say it and then for it not happen. We finally arrived at the restaurant around sunset. Mike looked around for someone to take a picture, but no one was outside. He decided to prop his camera against a pole and said he will put it on video and we can just screenshot a picture. I honestly thought that was the weirdest thing I have ever heard so I told him to just put the camera on a timer. He put the camera on a 10-second timer and as he runs back he gets down on one knee and says “but 10 seconds is not enough for me to tell you how much I love you”. I just stared at the ring in disbelief. I had been with this man for 10 years and I knew someday this would happen but I could not believe it was now. I rehearsed so many times in my head what to say, but none of it came out. Finally, my mouth opened and I said: “are you really proposing right now?!” Mike likes to mess with me and I am not sure why I had to question him at this moment. He said, “yes, why…is this not what you wanted?” He started to tear as he knelt with the box open with the most beautiful ring sparkling in the sun. “No, it’s perfect, finally!” I said, still not answering the question that I had rehearsed so many times in my head. “Sooo is that a yes?”, he asked. I finally remembered the 3 letter word that I was supposed to say, “YES!”