How We Met
As the Chainsmokers would say, “We were stayin’ in Paris”. And we both were. We just didn’t know it yet.
It was ten days into my month-long stay in Paris. I was well established into my groove of traveling around the world: alone. I loved roaming, with only my sense of adventure and a playlist as my companion. Maybe it wasn’t roaming that I was infatuated with. It was the novelty. I craved novelty. New cities, new ideas, new anything. It was a one-way ticket around the world; never touching the same ground twice.
And I didn’t plan to.
I look up when I hear my flatmate run towards me excitedly. She looks excited by the way her eyes dance and twinkle. She calls my name with her French accent. I stare at her blankly, waiting for her to proceed with her story. I don’t quite catch it all.
Truth to be told, I wasn’t too interested. “Is that ok? Do you want to meet them?” she asks.
“Do you want to meet the three American guys tomorrow.”
No. Not really. Even before she tells me more about them, I don’t plan on it. I just started my own trip and didn’t feel altruistic enough to guide someone else’s.
“They’re from Utah.”
I’d like to think of myself as open-minded, but right then I knew for sure I wasn’t. Really, Utah? I mean, if they hailed from The Big Apple NYC, South Beach Miami, or Los Angeles… But Utah? I tried to picture the American state with no success. All I could think of was… well, let’s just not say, in case my in-laws are reading (I love you guys!)
Side note, yes, I am Canadian.
But I look at my flatmate’s face, full of hope and want, and I churn inside. Being the loud outspoken one, my flatmate was quite shy and was relying on me to meet these new strangers. I reluctantly say yes, and she immediately lets the boys know. I inwardly shrug and turn back to what I’m doing.
My flatmate informs me she cannot join us tomorrow morning. She suddenly got called into work. What am I supposed to do? She proceeds to tell me she already forwarded my number to the boys, and we can figure it out on our own. Content with how she handled the situation, she leaves for her room. I begin to worry. I mean, sure, I’m pretty outgoing. But meeting three new strangers in a city I was unfamiliar with? I wait fretfully for a text.
At 11:50 pm I get exactly that.
A few minutes later, I sleep, with plans to meet the three Americans at Trocadero Station; a platform with the Eiffel Tower in view and about a few kilometers away.
The next morning is uneventful. I dress up and head out with time to spare. I get there a bit early, so I leisurely walk around with the iconic Eiffel Tower in view.
The first ten minutes I’m satisfied. The next ten minutes, I start to get anxious. The ten after? I’m pissed. Where were they?
I text them and realize how badly we miscommunicated. They were AT the Eiffel Tower. I close my eyes and sigh in exasperation. What could I do, when in this situation they were the tourists and I, the native? I hesitate a second before I break out into a run towards the Tower. If you’ve been to Paris, you would know the distance between the platform and the Eiffel Tower is quite a bit away. By the time I get in line for security, I am sweating bullets and breathless. I get checked and slowly make my way so I can catch my breath. I see them, the three, standing right underneath the Eiffel Tower. They turn and see me. I walk up to them.
“Hey, I’m Alysha.”
“Hi. I’m Nik. This is Tony and James.”
So… how did we meet?
I met my fiancé, Nik, in Paris right underneath the Eiffel Tower.
how they asked
I dread the 30th of December. This year, it would mark its fifth anniversary and its first with Nik. Even though the past few days of being reunited with Nik had me high on love, I was dreading it as the day got closer.
The day came. Inevitably, with the previous days filled with worry and anxiety.
Nik knew. With the consideration he always has, he planned a day around me so I didn’t need to spend it drowning in sadness and hopelessness. It’ll be an easy day, he said. Just us.
We spent the day walking around Park City, Utah. Beautiful and idyllic, we strolled around holding hands with easy conversations and warm drinks. It was exactly what I needed. With my bad memories kept at bay, I felt at ease, holding his hand and talking about everything and anything.
During dinner, we opened a bottle of wine. Our conversations always flowing sweetly and easily as the drink. We ate, we laughed, we talked. We reminisced about how we first met, how incredibly fast we fell in love, how in love we were.
I felt warm. And happy.
We sat, silently, and couldn’t stop smiling at each other.
If this was what it felt like to love Nik, I wanted every day to be like this.
As dinner came to an end, Nik decided to stop drinking. I giggled, quite tipsy, and told him we still had a quarter of the bottle left. However, unlike him, he was insistent, as he told me he had to drive us home safe. But, I couldn’t just leave a perfectly good bottle behind. In a matter of seconds, the bottle was empty and we made our way out the door.
Needless to say, I was quite drunk.
We decided to take a drive through Wasatch Boulevard; a street that took us over Salt Lake City. Nik suddenly turned into an observation point and asked whether I wanted to look out. I enthusiastically agreed, ripped open the car door, and ran out to the edge. Nik yelled for me to take my jacket, but I was having none of it. Feeling hot and giddy by the wine, the cool air felt refreshing. Nik scrambled out of the car, and came to join me.
As you could imagine, Salt Lake City is pretty dang cold during the winter. We huddled together, feeling silly and drunk, as we took in the lights below us.
Nik slowly turned to me and grabbed my left hand. On my ring finger was my promise ring. He slowly reached for it and slipped it off. Inebriated as I was, alarms immediately started to go off in my head. He was about to propose!
Which didn’t really do much for me when Nik did, in fact, go on one knee.
When he asked to marry me, I yelled at him. Are you being serious? He nodded.
No, for real?
For real. I started crying and he slipped the ring onto my finger. He hugged me tight, and asked me if that was a yes.
I laughed and cried, nodding and saying yes, of course.
Yet, in all this chaos of emotion, I was caught off guard. It was too dark to see, but I felt my ring. Wasn’t this the ring I had on just a few minutes ago?
And in that second, I knew. I couldn’t care less. I loved Nik, and even if he offered nothing, I knew I would love him until I died.
We cried a few minutes more before I had to interrupt him with something just as important.
“I really need to use the washroom.”
I had a lot of wine to drink, alright?
We laughed, getting into the car as we shivered from the cold. But the moment the car started, firework began going off at the bottom of the mountain. I shouted, no way babe! Are those for me? Of course they are, and my parents are waiting down below for us, Nik informed me. I looked at him wide-eyed and he laughed. He wasn’t even prepared with a ring, how did I expect him to orchestra the fireworks? A beautiful coincidence with New Years Eve coming tomorrow, his wit was charming and hilarious.
After coming home to the congratulations of both our parents, we lay beside each other quietly, the rush of excitement slowly settling to something more calming.
“Do you know why I proposed to you? Without a ring, and completely unready?” Nik asked softly as he held me close.
I shook my head.
“I wasn’t planning to.” He answered thoughtfully. “But, during dinner I knew I had to. I knew I had to do it tonight. I want to take every bad memory away from you. And what better way can I do that, by giving you the best memory on your worst day? I’ll always try. To make only good memories for you. Starting now.”
The day Nik proposed to me was the day, five years ago, when I almost lost my life in a road accident.
I know he didn’t save me back then, but in this moment, he did.
I cried into him as he held me for what felt like forever.
Don’t worry. I got my ring in the end.
And it was perfect.