How We Met
Ryan and I first met when I was 16 years old. I was working a seasonal job in the mall for the holidays and Ryan was working at a cellphone kiosk in the mall. I had stopped to get a coffee on my break and as I was hustling my way back to work, Ryan had noticed me. “Whatcha got there?”, he said nodding towards my coffee cup. My heart skipped a beat and I had a sudden boost of confidence. Despite being late I knew I had to take this detour. We made flirty small talk for a little while and then I had to go back to work.
That night I decided that after work I was going to go down and try to see him again. He was still there closing up for the night. It was pretty obvious I had come all that way just to see him again. He poked fun at me a little and teased me about having a boyfriend. “I don’t have a boyfriend!”, I scoffed. He smiled at me and we continued to chat a bit longer before I had to go. Later that night I received a message from a mutual friend on Facebook. “Hey, my friend Ryan said he met you today and was wondering if he could get your number.” My mom had my Facebook security settings so high back then that he couldn’t message me himself, but he found a way to get my number!
We had gone on a few dates and he had given me a few rides to and from work. I thought things were going really well, but it turned out he had just gotten out of a long term relationship with someone and wasn’t ready to jump into another one. We ended up going our separate ways. The timing wasn’t right. I ended up dating someone else for a few months afterwards. When that relationship fell through, Ryan found out about it and asked me out two days after my ex and I broke up. It might seem a little wrong to move on that fast, but I still had feelings for Ryan that had never gone away. The timing was right this time and we’ve been together ever since!
“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.” -Kahlil Gibran
How They Asked
It all started with a hot glue gun. I was in the process of making a DIY that I had seen online that uses a slinky to make a pumpkin craft. I was racking my brain trying to think of the last time that I had used my hot glue gun. I remembered Ryan using it last so I headed to his office to look for the glue gun in his desk drawers. Ryan and I were chatting as I was searching and he was casually playing with my slinky pumpkin. I hit the second drawer down and heard a loud gasp from behind me. Ryan tossed my pumpkin craft into the air, which then landed in the litter box across the room. He lunged past me to the drawer. “Don’t look in there!” He said trying to hide a little blue box in his hands. He quickly disappeared to re-hide the box as I pulled my craft out of the litter box… That was hint #1
A few weeks later I was on the hunt for command hooks. Off to his desk, I went again. When I got to the second drawer down, I saw a piece of paper from a ring company. It was the receipt. He didn’t hide the receipt. I didn’t have the heart to ruin his surprise that bad, so I refrained from looking at the picture of the ring that was on the back. That was hint #2
I recently got a new job and I was trying to decide on a good start date. The date that would’ve made the most sense was the first Monday after my 2 weeks notice from my old job, September 23, 2019. Ryan and I had previously decided that we were going to spend Sunday and Monday together doing fall activities to kick off the spooky season. I asked Ryan if he would be OK cramming everything into Sunday. He was surprisingly very adamant about taking Monday off. Usually, Ryan is very laid back and goes with the flow so for him to make this special request was odd to me. Hint #3
We had spent that Sunday getting brunch, apple picking, beach glass hunting, driving around the countryside and horseback riding. It was wonderful. Shopping and dinner were the only two things on Monday’s agenda. I was still confused about why we couldn’t have added those into our Sunday festivities, but I went along with it. We woke up late on Monday. I had bagels at home and I had the opportunity to start putting my Halloween stuff up, which I look forward to every year. At one point I saw Ryan outside on the porch in the pouring rain talking on the phone. It was a very odd behavior. I made sure everything was OK and then I let it go. He was in a hurry to head out for the day so I got all dressed up and did my makeup jussst in case a proposal was going to be taking place.
We went about a half-hour out of town to a small local lake with little shops. It only took us about an hour to navigate the area, which put us at 2 pm. I knew it wasn’t going to take very long so I was confused about why he had wanted to start so early in the day. We drove around a lot to explore and kill time. We then made our way to Chautauqua, NY which is where our dinner reservations were going to be. Unfortunately, many of their little shops were closed for the fall/winter season, so there wasn’t much to do and we still had so much time before the 6 pm dinner reservations that Ryan said he made. I asked him if we could move our reservations up a little and he didn’t want to. Again, odd behavior for my laid back guy.
We ended up stopping at a little market to get ice cream. Afterward, we went down the street from the restaurant to a few little shops that were still open for the season. We looked around casually for a while and then Ryan told me to pick out 3 things that I wanted and he would get them for me. I get uncomfortable with people buying me things like that. I didn’t feel like I deserved any of it. Especially three things in this somewhat expensive little shop! I pointed out some pajama pants I really liked and told him I didn’t want/need anything else and that he didn’t need to spoil me like that. He paid for the pants and then went back through the store and collected a long-sleeved Chautauqua shirt I had admired and a fairy garden pot that I had also admired earlier and brought them up to the other counter for checkout. It all happened so fast, even the cashier was surprised! He didn’t let me pay, although I offered. He paid attention to the things I showed interest in and treated me to them. He told me that he wanted to provide for me because he loves me and I deserve it. My heart melted.
We had wandered down to the lakeside and sat on the benches talking for a little bit about life and how I felt about starting my new job. A young girl had walked by with a very large camera and it seemed a little out of the ordinary. A thought crossed my mind that maybe she was going to photograph us, but she disappeared into the condos behind us. I reminded Ryan that I had brought heels and that I wanted to make sure that I could wear them to dinner, so we made our way back to the truck to get them. We hung out in the truck for a little while and then the Bluetooth in the car started going off. Ryan was getting a call from “RJ Potter”. I had no idea who that was, but Ryan looked panicked. He went to open the car door but accidentally locked it with his elbow and tried to play it off cool. He answered the phone very stiffly. “RJ” said, “The ad is ready.” Ryan said, “Okay sounds good!” and hung up. After a 2 second pause Ryan turned to me and said, “Do you want to see if we can go to our dinner reservations early?” It’s 5:30 at this point. I was very ready for food so we headed down the street. Ryan was acting very odd, looking all around the place frantically.
We get on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant and Ryan asks me to take a picture with him in front of the fountain before we go in to eat. This water was already splashing all over us. I was getting drenched. Ryan dropped his phone on the ground. I gasped and went to help him pick it up when he spun around on one knee and held out a ring. He paused for a second and said, “Will you be my wife?” I was still taken by surprise even though I had an inkling all along that this would be the moment. I had paused thinking there may be more to his speech, but that appeared to be it. Ryan saw my confusion and started to try to fill the silence. He stuttered, “We’ve been together for 8 weeks, no. 8 years, no. 5 years! And I want you to be my wife!” He said. He was so nervous, he was shaking! Of course, I said yes. I had to take off my promise rings, but after the absolutely gorgeous ring was slipped on, he told me to turn around and smile for the cameras. We turned around and there was the young girl from earlier and my college photography professor! Ryan had planned for them to shoot our proposal for me. He knew that it was always something that I wanted to be caught on camera and he made that dream come true. RJ Potter turned out to be an alias name for the photographer and the phone call was their secret language to let each other know that they were ready. My photographer asked what the significance was with the day he had chosen and Ryan said it was because it’s the first day of fall and that it’s Heidi’s favorite season.
Ryan always jokes that he’s not romantic and that he doesn’t know how to be, but I beg to differ. It was a fun mess, but hey, that’s kind of our whole relationship. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.