Charlene and Michael

Image 1 of Charlene and Michael

How We Met

We met in high school, but our story isn’t one of those typical cheerleader meets football player fairytales (even though Michael was my favorite football player). I had a huge crush on him and told all of my friends about it for months. One of our mutual friends finally introduced us in the cafeteria. I was too shy to make conversation so after our initial meeting, nothing really happened. There was the occasional ‘hello’ in the hallways and I would go to the football games just to watch him play, but that was about it. One morning as I entered the parking lot, I saw Michael’s 1968 Camaro parked. I decided to park behind him to get his attention. Well I got his attention to say the least. As I waved at him getting out of his car, I accidentally hit the gas and rammed into it. I was absolutely mortified. It was not the kind of attention I was hoping for. We exchanged information and he said he would forgive me if I went on a date with him. I avoided talking to him for months because of how embarrassed I was. A year later I finally decided to take him up on his offer and the rest is history.

Image 4 of Charlene and Michael

how they asked

Michael and I currently live in different states so we try to visit each other every month. This month we decided to meet up in NYC. We both had never been and we love the show FRIENDS so we thought it might be a cool place for a weekend getaway. A few days before I left, his mom asked me to deliver a package to Michael. She told me it contained a special gift from his grandfather, but little did I know my engagement ring was going to be my most valuable carry-on. I arrived in nyc early Friday morning. His flight was after work which meant he would not get into town until later that night. Once he arrived at the hotel around 8pm, he went to the restroom and took with him the special package that I delivered all the way from California. Afterwards, he was very anxious to go to Central Park.

Image 2 of Charlene and Michael

I thought he was just that excited to see New York! Getting to the park, as is getting anywhere in the busy city, was challenging as we battled the crowds. When we got to the park, it was quiet, dimly lit by the buildings around us, and it was hard to believe such a serene place existed in such chaos. He took me to Gapstow bridge, a site on my list of places to visit. We stood in front of this scenic bridge, hugging and excited to finally be together after weeks of not seeing each other. He seemed nervous as he looked up and down the path. I asked him a few times if he felt uncomfortable or scared that someone was going to mug us. In reality he was just anxiously waiting for someone to walk by so they could capture the moment. Unable to wait a second longer, he shared with me some kind words, got down on one knee and said, “Charlene Joyce Rafael, will you marry me?” Some people may think of Friday the 13th as bad luck, but that day will always be lucky to me.

Image 5 of Charlene and Michael

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Image 3 of Charlene and Michael