How We Met
Well it all started in high school! I remember telling my friends how big of a crush I had on Jesse, but sadly he was taken all 4 years of high school. So I settled for being good friends with him, often having classes together, and secretly hoping he would want to be with me someday. Fast forward to 4 years later, I was returning home for the summer after being away at cooking school down in Miami, Florida. All this time we had briefly said our hellos and how ya doins and he worked up the courage to ask to get together now that I was in town. We spent the entire summer together doing our favorite things, hiking, nature walks, going out for drinks, swimming at the nearby lake, everything and anything and using any excuse to hang out together. I found myself secretly falling for him, knowing I needed to get back to Florida at the end of the summer just made it so much more difficult. And I guess he had secretly fallen for me too. So when the time came, we said our goodbyes and remained friends.
Time and life went by, girlfriends and boyfriends went by, and I still thought about the summer we spent together. After being in Florida for so long I had accepted the fact that I was planning on staying down there after graduation, but life has a funny way of changing whatever plans you ever set out for yourself. My mother had gotten very ill and I just wanted to be able to spend all my time with her and be able to take care of her when my father was away at work. Well these news must have travelled fast because Jesse had soon messaged me asking to get together once I returned home for good, which I gladly accepted. Once again we spent that summer together and enjoyed every minute of it. Soon after the summer had ended I finally answered yes to his many questions of why we wouldn’t just BE together.
how they asked
That day was such an emotional day – it was the last full day we had together since he was getting deployed later that week and needed to be on base the very next day. So we did what we always like to do on a gorgeous day, and let me tell you it was the perfect fall day – a little chilly but the sun shining strong and the wind blowing all the newly colored leaves around us – we went to the Vanderbilt Mansion and had a picnic down by the Hudson River.
So of course I wasn’t expecting anything, especially after the fact that we had discussed plenty of times we wouldn’t move to the next step of our relationship until he returned from Kuwait, in a year. But him having me hold my own present as we walked down to our favorite spot made me nervous as to what to expect. Everything was normal as it usually is, enjoying our picnic, the scenery, the company. This was where we had our first date, doing the same activity, so this place has always had a special meaning behind it.
Soon came the time to open my present and I couldn’t be more excited but knowing I would tear up because it would definitely be sentimental. I saw him propping up his phone to record me opening my presents, which at the time I thought was a little weird, but made myself think, maybe he just wants to have a recording of us sharing this memory so he has something to enjoy while he’s away when he’s missing me.
The first present – a flip flop. Of course I’m so confused as to why he would gift me his dirty flip flop! He then explains the bag he got was way too heavy and needed to add some things to it to make it heavy – and the next present being a Mets bobble head, knowing I’m a Yankees fan being immediately confused and telling him he can have that back. The next presents were a breast cancer awareness water bottle, my all time favorite chocolates, a calendar he made with pictures of us throughout our entire relationship so that I could count down the days until he returned home, and an Alex & Ani bracelet we had gifted his mother about a month ago for her birthday.
You see, his mother had passed away last month from multiple complications due to cancer, and this bracelet, that we had specifically chosen for her since her favorite movie was Beauty and the Beast and was adorned with a rose, had so much meaning to it. I still remember her opening the box and crying tears of joy. When she was passing, Jesse decided to play that movie for her like she use to do so many times when he was in the hospital, and even though she didn’t open her eyes, she knew what was playing, because as the last song finished, and Belle and the Beast stopped dancing, she passed peacefully. So I told him I would gladly wear it in her honor. She treated me like a daughter, she had 5 boys, and was happy to know there was another woman present in the family, even though Jesse and I were just boyfriend and girlfriend. I miss her every day and wish she was here to enjoy our happiness.
The last present was a card, which he specifically told me to open last. As I read the card I felt tears welling up, not because I thought he was going to propose, but because the very next day he would be leaving me to help our country and how much I was going to miss him. He was telling me he knew how much I wanted this, meaning proposing, to happen, and how things kept getting in the way and the timing was off, which we always joke as to the timing being off with our whole relationship but turning out for the best, and that he’s always wanted to make this happen from the very beginning of getting to know each other.
The very bottom of the card read “turn around” and when I did, Jesse was on one knee telling me with tear filled eyes, ” I love you so much, will you make momma proud and marry me?” I just remember being so overcome with happiness and emotions that I started crying, asking him if he was serious, even though he held the box with the ring in it in plain sight.
After saying yes and celebrating and phoning our families, I later got a better look at the ring, which is made to look like a rose.