How We Met
David and I went to St. Anthony Village high school together, but met during a theater production of Little Women the fall of my junior year and his sophomore year. I think it’s safe to say that we both shared a similar characteristic: awkwardness. Oh yes, in all it’s raging, hormonal teenage-ness glory.
I thought he was a great guy, but I wasn’t interested in dating him. Why screw up a good friendship, right?? Clearly, I also had common sense on my side at the age of 17, too.
Our paths didn’t connect beyond friendship. We were either dating other people or one of us was on a “break” and the other started something new with another. Timing was off (it’s not a cliche thing to say!).
At the beginning of my freshman year of college and David’s senior year of high school, we had the opportunity to do a community theater production of A Christmas Carol together. We became closer as friends, but, once again, timing wasn’t in our favor. There were other priorities, people and events taking place that prevented us from pursuing anything more. Which worked out for the both of us. There was a lot going on and we were at different chapters in life.
By the beginning of my sophomore year of college and his freshman year of college, David and I were both unattached and had nothing to hold us both back from pursuing a relationship together. We ended up at the same school, The University of Minnesota. It was all working out We went to visit a friend up at St. Ben’s with a few friends and finally had the “DTR” talk after the weekend. It had been fun and we clearly recognized that we were both in a place that we could pursue something that was more than friends. The common response from friends was, FINALLY!
Okay, okay, so maybe I was thinking the same thing, too.
If this doesn’t sound like a cheesy rom-com by this point, I don’t know what does.
We dated a few months and took a break. I mean, it’s a part of our story. I have to be honest. I was nervous about being in a relationship, ruining my friendship with David, not knowing if it would work out, ruining his freshman year of college, the uncertainty of the future… Now you’re thinking, You told him this, right? Nope. The biggest mistake ever.
I felt horrible after I called it off. I felt like I had given up on something amazing and I hurt my best friend. It killed me.
We ended up being judges for a Mardi Gras talent show at my church and going out for coffee afterwards to talk, clarify things and “be friends”. Yeah, Harry and Sally would get a kick out of that one!
We ended up talking for a few hours, about life, next steps, dreams, goals and what the heck happened between us. I may or may not have said, I love you, David, and I care about you. And David may or may not have choked on his coffee.
That’s right folks, I dropped the “L bomb”. I’m really good at this, I’m telling ya! Multiple awards in this department.
We parted ways and decided to remain friends, keep in contact and wished each other the best. I felt like an idiot. A relieved idiot.
About a month later, David texted me and asked if I wanted to go to coffee and to a film fest with another couple. I panicked, WHAT?! Coffee? Out with another couple??
I frantically texted a friend and wondered what was happening. Did I need to be prepared for more? Was I overthinking it? I don’t know how this person is still friends with me after all of that (you know who you are).
That same day, I had found out I was accepted into the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. It was a Cloud 9 kind of day! I met with David at Tea Garden on campus and we talked, laughed… it all seemed quite normal, relaxed, fun. We walked over to Coffman Memorial Union and arrived a bit early. David asked if I wanted to go for a quick walk outside before the film fest started. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have some butterflies in my stomach.
We went outside and started walking. Soon enough, David talked about how he felt, about what I had said (sometimes, the “L bomb” can work ya’ll!) and that he would be willing to try our relationship again. We talked the nitty gritty, the good, the bad, the awesome and decided we would try it once again.
I don’t quite know what it was, aside from God bringing us both back to what mattered: to each other, to Him. It was good. It was hard, it was difficult, it was awesome, it was fun, it was momentous. We had long talks, short talks, everything-in-between talks with each other. David challenged me like no other and pushed me to think differently. That is something I love about him. He always pushes me to look at things differently, to question what I believe and what I do and it allows me to grow, to change and to always pursue and seek out what matters and what means more. I am never stuck, suffocated or stagnant with David. It is always an adventure with him and I can’t wait for what’s to come!
We have been through quite a lot in the 6 years that we’ve known each other. I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I have learned so much more about myself and about him. He is my sweetheart, the one I cherish, the one that holds my heart. I cannot wait to start our life together as one.
how they asked
David and Bridget went to see the show, Once: the musical, at the State Theater. It was an incredible performance and the music was phenomenal.
David had texted Bridget right before the show, apologizing that he had to drop a few items off at a meeting. He is the retreat director for St. Lawrence’s Newman Center and had promised Bridget that it would only take 10-15 minutes. Bridget thought nothing of it and knew they would have time in between the show and dinner at David’s parents house with their families.
David and Bridget parked and walked to Aster Cafe where David had said the meeting would take place. As Bridget and David approached the front of the restaurant, Bridget thought she recognized Jeremy Stanbary, founder and owner of Open Window Theatre, whom she had worked with for two years. David asked, “Jeremy?” and he looked up from his phone. “Hey guys! What are you doing here? This is a random coincidence!” David proceeded to explain that he had a brief meeting before he and Bridget were off to his parents house for dinner. David, in turn, asked Jeremy what he was doing. Jeremy told Bridget and David that he was in between shows and was supposed to meet a friend for coffee, but that his friend had to reschedule because of something that had unexpectedly come up. David suggested that Bridget and Jeremy catch up while he briefly attends his meeting. Both Bridget and Jeremy thought it a splendid idea. As they began chatting, David ran out and gave Jeremy a copy of The Jeweler’s Shop, which he had claimed was Jeremy’s. Bridget thought that she had remembered David receiving the copy in the mail, but quickly brushed such ideas aside. It didn’t matter anyway! Or did it?…
Jeremy and Bridget walked a short loop around St. Anthony Main. Eventually, they were facing towards Hennepin Bluffs Park when Jeremy said, “You know, this ties in with what we’re talking about! Let me read this passage!” Bridget obliged (he directed this show, of course he would know the passage that tied in with their conversation!) and listened intently. As he read, Bridget realized that what he was reading didn’t tie in at all with what they had been talking about. As Jeremy finished, he smiled and prompted Bridget, “Let’s walk! Beautiful day, isn’t it?”
Instantly, Bridget had the feeling that what she thought she had known and what seemed tangible and normal, was suddenly unclear and unbelievable: could David be proposing?
Jeremy directed Bridget to pick up a letter placed on the side of the path. She picked it up and read it. David’s handwriting, a letter filled with beautiful sentiment and calligraphy. This was real. This was happening. Meeting, schmeeting!
As Bridget and Jeremy continued walking, Bridget’s nerves were getting the best of her (she may or may not have asked Jeremy if a shot was hidden at the next stop). Bridget noticed that her dear friend, Ellie Zeller, was sitting on a bench in the park. Ellie looked at Jeremy and Bridget approaching and walked over to both of them while taking photos.
Jeremy handed the book to Ellie and she took Bridget a few feet away before reading a passage. They both ended by the gazebo in Father Hennepin Bluffs Park and Ellie directed Bridget to pick up another letter. A saxophone player (not arranged by David), questioned, “Is it her birthday? Oh is it a treasure hunt? Whoa something is happening!” Ellie proceeded to tell him something in whispered tones. As Bridget walked by, the saxophone player musically said, “Congratulaaaaaations!”
As Ellie and Bridget walked across the Stone Arch Bridge, Ellie read another passage. Bridget proceeded to do some deep breathing. Towards the middle of the bridge, Bridget met her cousin, Alex Pokorny, and he took the book from Ellie and read Bridget a passage. He then told her to pick up another letter. This letter specifically told Bridget that David would ask her to be his wife and to ponder her decision in these next moments.
This is when Bridget really started deep breathing because the reality of the moment was hitting her and the excitement and nervousness was mounting. Alex read Bridget another passage and then they both met her best friend, Julia Ennen. Alex handed her the book and she read a passage. Bridget and Julia proceeded to walk by the Mill City Ruins and Julia told Bridget to pick up another letter. Bridget read the letter and they continued walking by the Guthrie Theatre. Once Julia and Bridget passed the Guthrie Theatre, Julia read the final passage and told Bridget to pick up her final letter. This letter requested that both Julia and Bridget cease speaking and walk in silence up Gold Medal Park together. Julia grabbed Bridget’s hand and they walked up the winding path to the top of the hill.
Once Bridget and Julia made it to the hill, Bridget saw David, lovingly looking at her and seeming nervous and excited. The feelings she had been experiencing throughout the past hour. David asked Bridget, “Do you have it?” As David opened up the book and started reading the passage, a stream of bikers came up and Bridget had a moment of panic thinking that a flash mob was about to take place. Fear not! No flash mob was planned; the biker gang sat on the side of the hill with their bikes.
David expressed his feelings and beautifully shared his desire to spend the rest of his life with Bridget. The sun was shining through the trees, David’s eyes looked anxiously into Bridget’s. He got down on one knee, opened the book and asked, “Bridget, will you marry me?” The ring had been with Bridget the entire time!
Within .3 seconds, Bridget said “YES!”, David put the ring on Bridget’s ring finger and they kissed and embraced.
In that moment, everything was silent, still and beautiful. It was as if time stopped and they had a few seconds of overwhelming bliss.
A bystander had been watching and came over to take David and Bridget’s picture. She then proceeded to look at Bridget and say, “You know, I thought he was a clean-cut stalker! He was looking over the hill and kept peeking around… I almost called the park cops on him! But then, I figured it out – it was a proposal! Good thing I didn’t call!”
David and Bridget thanked the woman for the photo and started to descend Gold Medal Park. Julia yelled up to David, “What did she say?!” He prominently put his fist in the air and Julia shouted, “SHE SAID ‘YES!’” The bikers and bystanders on the hill and in the park loudly cheered and clapped.
Bridget and David met up with Julia, Ellie and Alex, took photos, hugged and thanked everyone for their involvement in a beautiful, elaborate proposal.
Everyone proceeded to go their separate ways and David and Bridget went to David’s house to announce the exciting news to their families and celebrate together!