how we met
Zaid and I met during medical school where we shared the same circle of friends. Zaid has a certain magnetism about him that’s undeniable, I’ve always enjoyed his company because he’s such a fun person to be around. Our relationship started during our intern year. I moved from Maryland to New York to complete a general surgery internship, which means I was quite busy- working long days and 28-hour shifts every three days. Zaid didn’t have much free time either while completing his medical internship at the same hospital, but he always found the time to make sure I was “okay”. Having lived in New York since he was 11, Zaid made sure to show me around, introduce me to his friends, and share all his favorite food spots. We made plans early on during our internship to stay healthy (this is ironically hard to do during residency). We would go to the gym together twice a week, holding each other accountable when sometimes all we wanted to do was sleep (more often it was Zaid telling me I could “just nap in the car”). Quickly we found ourselves spending nearly all of our free time together, still as friends. We had a running joke that’s now turned into something very meaningful- we would say that if we knew each other when we were kids, we would have been the best of friends. I lived across the street from the hospital. One day, Zaid had stopped by after his day shift and offered to drop me off at work that night. After he literally drove across the street to take me to work, I got out of his car and said “I love you” before my brain could even process what I was saying. I kept texting him that night to apologize because it honestly felt unintentional and I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. It turns out, I was definitely, definitely, in love with him. Zaid’s take: “There was a time at the start of intern year when I turned the corner in the hospital and I remember looking at Cynthia. She had a smile that anyone would agree lights up a room. While passing Cynthia I didn’t think that she would make a point to say “hi” to me but she did and I remember the feeling of being lifted off my feet, literally feeling like I was on top of the world. Cynthia often did this to me and I remember it was all I wanted, her smile. I would sometimes come back to work after long days at work to bring her food and to stay with her on her 24 hour shift as long as I could. Only to go home at midnight and be back by 5 am. Cynthia always pulled me to her and her comfort was always my concern.”
how they asked
My sister tagged me in an instagram post by Heather O’Steen (our amazing photographer!). Heather was asking for nominations for a free photoshoot for healthcare workers. I didn’t think much of it (my sister tags me in everything). A few days later, Heather announced that I won and I immediately started thinking of who I can gift the photoshoot to instead (quarantine didn’t have me feeling very photogenic). Heather messaged me and planned for a photoshoot a few months down the line. After months of not seeing each other, Zaid finally was able to come visit the weekend Heather had planned to do the photoshoot. While I just wanted to spend time with him, Zaid encouraged me to “just get the pics” because he was thinking he could jump in a few and we could finally have some nice pictures together. Well, he did! He jumped in and asked me to marry him.