Caitlyn and Devon

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How We Met

The first thing that I saw was his t-shirt. It was a kitten grey, soft looking thing that had a familiar round logo in the chest corner, Xavier’s School of Gifted Students.

I liked this kid already.

It was eight grade, and I was about to turn 13. I wore UFO pants with jelly bracelets and a metal ball necklace choking my neck. My idol was Jean Grey and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My best friend Rachel had just introduced us to each other. It was the first time he made me laugh, and little did I know then, but it would be far from the last time.

My family owned the local dance studio in the area in Northern Virginia and from the ages of 12 to 18 I worked there everyday. It was my first (and also one of my current) job. That same year that I met the boy, a family with two daughters joined our program. I instantly fell in love with their compassion, spirit, and generosity to everyone that they encountered. Two weeks later I found out that Devon, the boy in the X-Men shirt was also one of the sons of the same family.

In high school, Devon and I were nowhere near the same despite being close friends. He was on all of the sports teams, and I was known to hang around the concert scenes. Devon never missed school, and I was the one that forgot to go to senior year. I wore black and he wore Hollister. He smiled constantly and I had a RBF. He was a suburbia boy, and I spent my extra time in the city. Always bright, making people laugh, center of attention Devon that I would banter with became a passing staple in my life, one of my best friends.

High school passed. We would see each other when we came home for the holidays. I would listen to him when he would have trouble with his friends, family, and girlfriends. I would give him advice and there were more than a few nights that I ended up crashing on his couch while hanging out with his family. College hit, and we couldn’t hang out as much. College is a time that changes people, makes them grow up, and when everything else was falling apart, and everyone else fell away for some reason Fate brought us back together even closer than we were expecting.

I rode the D.C. Metro system five out of seven days of the week for four years during the pursuit of my degree in D.C. and one morning at 7 A.M. while I was settling down for my ride in my dirty orange seat at the Vienna station, Devon walked onto my train to go to work.

He had gotten a Government job in the city.

We started to ride to and from D.C. everyday together.

We started sharing headphones, and falling asleep on each other’s shoulders during the mind numbing metro commute. I realized I had fallen in love with him during an east coast blizzard. When it took us 6 hours to drive 30 miles in the snow. We had left his car in the parking lot and he was trying to navigate my SUV through the blanket of white. I had plenty of time to think during the ride home.

This couldn’t be happening could it? All of a sudden Devon became more with each passing day. I wanted to tell him about my day. All the time. I couldn’t love Devon, could I? I couldn’t be in love with Devon, no. We were friends. I’ve never felt that way about Devon. The weight of our relationship would upset people. It would just mess up everything, and cause so much drama that wasn’t needed in either of our lives. Right? Causing trouble was the last thing either of us ever wanted to do. It was a fight that was stacked against us.

So we both ignored it.

Another year of dancing back and forth with each other and I was offered to start fresh in Louisiana with my cousin, and it was the perfect escape to get out of dodge and away from things that were not bringing me joy anymore. My cousin and I were in the process of looking for places to move into down there. We were ready. I was ready!

Devon and I have a long history of Marvel comics. We love them. We love talking about them. We both grew up with them. We have been seeing Marvel movies for years together. It was our thing.

The night that the first Avengers movie came out we went to the midnight premiere, and Devon had heard about me leaving. He asked me to take a chance on him that night in a dark car with our music playing. All I could do was watch the taillights fly by on the highway.

It was May, and we only had together until August when I moved a thousand miles away. I was too mad to breathe.

Now? He asked me now? Why now?

But we took the chance. I said yes to date him after the movie. I needed to take this chance on him, this chance to be together. Something was telling me not to throw this away.

My plans fell through to move to Louisiana in July. Again, the universe had other plans for us.

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how they asked

The dance studio played a huge role in how we met and grew together. It has an almost human like existence for the pure impact it has on people. Every year my family puts together the annual recital, which is more like a professional production. Large, with about a thousand people in attendance every show.

This year, Devon’s youngest sister was graduating after dancing with us since she was three years old. I’ve loved to watch her dance growing up, and I figured I could spend my time with Devon and his family to watch her last recital. Little did I know I wasn’t supposed to be sitting in the audience, I was supposed to be backstage like I was every other year.

It was the end of the 1 pm show, and two routines from the end I went backstage to do my duty as an employee and help out with the finale. We bring out the entire staff, and give them flowers as a thank you for being on our team. Since I was a site manager and the Graphic Designer at the studio, I had already been brought out in front of the audience the night before at the previous show, so nothing was off to me about being called out onto stage.

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However, instead of my aunt keeping the microphone, she handed it behind her to Devon who appeared like a magician from behind the curtains. I have to say, things go blurry from the moment I saw him. I remember thinking “he’s not supposed to be there.”

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Then just the quiet hush of the thousand people in the auditorium brought my eyes to his face. He was shining in the spotlight. He didn’t look nervous at all, and he was smiling from ear to ear.

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When he got down on one knee all I could do was keep backing up to keep him in view before I blacked out.

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Around me, I could only hear the audience applause and all of the dancers on stage roaring all around me. Glitter, sequins, and chaos surrounded us. But I found my calm in the moment with him. My best friend asked me to marry him in front of over a thousand people on the stage of our former high school.

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I said yes.

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And I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.

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Special Thanks

Ms. Thomas
 | Gainesville Dance Center
Ms. Weaver
 | Gainesville Dance Center