How We Met
Payton and I grew up in an extremely small town in rural Connecticut. We had known each other indirectly for years prior to dating, but since he is two years older, we didn’t know each other well. We went to the same high school, he coached my younger sister’s soccer team, he refereed my soccer games, and he even played with me on my team at one point! We would bump into each other in public and say hi and make small talk, but we were never close. Our paths crossed again after I graduated from high school when his girlfriend at the time got in a Facebook argument with my best friend. Payton and I both got involved in the argument. He defended his girlfriend, I defended my friend, and I even insulted him. After all was said and done, I felt guilty for getting involved and treating him badly, so I asked my friend for his number, and texted him an apology. He apologized as well, and we made up. He and his girlfriend soon broke up, and he used my phone number to add me on Snapchat. We started talking every day, and we realized we had a lot in common. We had both just gotten out of relationships, and we were both a little down and discouraged.
Soon, he started asking me out on dates. Every time, I told him I was still healing from my breakup and declined his offer. He even asked me if I would be free on Valentine’s Day! When I refused, he calmly asked me, “Well what else do you have to do?” I thought to myself, “That was rude, but he has a point!” He patiently continued talking to me, and persistently continued asking me out. He ended up asking me on dates about five times, and I eventually accepted (on what I later found out was the last time he was going to try). In the days leading up to the date, we flirted over text and Snapchat, but I wasn’t sure it was going to go anywhere. Then, on January 31, 2015, everything changed. Payton texted me to let me know he was on the way to my house, and noted that he had butterflies in his stomach. I thought that was so cute of him to admit, and I realized he was more open than most guys I know. He got to my house, I let him in, and he hugged me tightly and nervously. I told him I wanted to drive because he’s an alpha male and I wanted him to know I was independent.
Fast forward to the actual date, we had sushi in a beautiful Japanese restaurant. Our conversation was easy, natural, and really fun. It was clear we had a genuine connection. When we left the restaurant, we held hands as we approached my car. He stopped walking at the passenger side and I kept walking to the driver side and tried to let go of his hand. He suddenly tightened his grip on my hand, spun me back around, pulled me into him, and kissed me passionately. I truly felt fireworks. After that date, we became inseparable. He asked me to be his girlfriend three days later, and after three years we are still in a happy, healthy relationship. He is the kindest, most generous and compassionate person I’ve ever met, and I am so grateful for his presence in my life. He doesn’t think twice about helping anyone he can, and after nearly three years, he still treats me chivalrously and makes me laugh. We sing in the car together, we hide to jump out and scare each other, and we bust out laughing in the middle of arguments. He is most certainly my dearest friend and my soulmate.
how they asked
I woke up on August 7, 2017 with no idea I would soon be engaged. Payton and I enjoyed a beautiful dinner in a historic, castle-like restaurant in Bristol, Rhode Island, then got in the car to go home. Payton surprised me and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. I am a nature freak and love being outside, but Payton is more of a watch-TV-indoors guy, so this request was exciting and unexpected. I, of course, agreed, and he drove us to Colt State Park. This park is well-known for its gorgeous stone walls, paved walking paths, and indescribable ocean views. When we arrived, it was about 8:00 at night. The sky was dark blue, the sun was setting, and we could barely distinguish where the sky ended and the ocean began. It was drizzling that day, so the park was completely empty except for us.
We got out of the car and walked hand-in-hand along a paved path. We stopped at a corner of the path, inches away from, and surrounded on one side by the ocean. As I was staring out at the ocean, Payton put his arm around me and asked, “You love me, right?” I jokingly and unwittingly responded, “I guess so.” Then, to my utter disbelief, Payton stood in front of me, got down on one knee, opened the ring box, and asked, “Will you marry me?” I was in complete shock, and couldn’t muster any sound. I was crying hysterically and shaking my head in disbelief. Payton noticed me shaking my head and asked me, “So is that a no?” I responded, “No,” as in, “No, it’s a yes.” Payton was nervous and misunderstood what I meant.
He asked me in a slightly panicked voice, “Wait so you’re saying no to marrying me?” I had to laugh. I said, “No, I’m saying absolutely yes!” He picked me up and we hugged and kissed and cried together. We looked out at the water for a few more minutes, but then we had to go back to the car because he had cut his knee kneeling on the pavement. My proposal was sweet, intimate, quirky, and entirely unarguably “us.” The ring is more beautiful than I ever could have imagined, and was the exact style I had always adored. Though I didn’t know it was possible, I fell even more in love with Payton that day, and I wouldn’t trade his proposal for the world.