Kaity and Sam
How We Met
Sam and I first met in the summer of 2016 over the Memorial Day weekend holiday. My brother, Zach, a current student at James Madison University, met Sam back in the fall of 2015 at a local crossfit gym in Harrisonburg, Virginia. As my brother was not allowed to have a car on campus, he was left without a ride home from the gym. Sam kindly approached him, offered a shotgun seat back to the university and from there, a deep friendship blossomed. Over the course of my brother’s freshman and sophomore year, Sam and Zach grew not only as friends, but as brothers. As spring semester came to an end and summer festivities quickly approached, my mother hosted a high school graduation party for my younger sister at our home in Pennsylvania. Zach invited Sam and another friend from Harrisonburg to attend my sister’s grad party, as well as to join the “MURPH” workout our local crossfit gym on that following Monday. When I first met Sam, I was blown away by not only his handsome features, but by his southern charm. I had never met this boy and yet, he still felt compelled to bring three bouquets of flowers to our home – one for each of the women in my brother’s life. I was floored. It’s rare that guys these days do things like that, and the gesture, although perhaps minute to some, made a lasting impression on my heart. Zach had always commented on Sam’s genuine character and I couldn’t help but begin to feel the tiniest of crushes. Except here’s the kicker: At the time we first met, I was dating someone else at the time Although I had been seeing someone previously for about eight months, it quickly fizzled out by the end of the summer and I found myself single by Labor Day weekend. Fall semester began and my life slowly returned to the turmoil of nursing school by day and waiting tables at night. With little interest in the pursuit of a love life, I went through my daily routine unfazed. Unfazed, that is, until Sam’s name resurfaced in my Facebook notifications in February of 2017. I’ll spare the awkward details but my family posted quite an embarrassing video of me on Facebook, where all of my family and friends could see. Right around this time, Facebook designed the “reaction button” and Sam just so happened to “love it.” As his name emerged in my feed, I couldn’t help but to feel, dare I say, butterflies? I quickly grabbed my phone and texted my brother, “Sam B (insert heart eye emoji x3).” Zach responded with, “Dude he’s in love with you.” I was in disbelief. I honestly didn’t think that he even remembered me. Shortly after, phone numbers were exchanged and we immediately hit it off. I found myself falling for him harder and faster every day. In March, we began a long distance relationship which was merely scratching the surface in terms of the hardships of our LDR. After just a short month of dating, Sam was shipped off to Fort Benning, GA to start basic training for the Army. Our relationship consisted of infrequent phone calls, minimal texts, and some very lonely nights. We did not get to experience the luxuries of a normal relationship, but one thing we learned early on was to never take our time together for granted.
how they asked
After what seemed like the longest 14 or so months of my life, we were *finally* reunited in GA to celebrate his graduation from Basic Training. His family and I drove the twelve hour trip to his base, where we spent the weekend attending the traditional celebratory ceremonies that were held to recognize his and his company members’ accomplishments. With his assignment to Airborne school quickly approaching, our trip came to an end and it was unfortunately time to return home. The most challenging aspect of this goodbye was not having the next hello in sight. Although there was a chance that Sam would be able to return home for a weekend during the next training segment, nothing was set in stone. In order to avoid getting my hopes up and being disappointed, I accepted that Thanksgiving would be the most likely time that we would see each other again. It was thus to my surprise that, on August 4th, around 3:30 in the afternoon, I received a phone call from the love of my life, requesting that I pick him up from Philadelphia International Airport! I was beyond thrilled. I was going to be reunited with my man for a weekend and I could not have asked for more. The next morning, my mom invited Sam and me, as well as his mom and sister (who just so happened to be traveling from Virginia to Vermont at the time) for brunch. It was a gorgeous, sunny, summer morning and having Sam next to me at the patio table made my heart dance. Next thing I know, Sam pulls me aside and asks me to come inside, where he tells me to look inside one very special book. This book is a compilation of all of the letters that Sam wrote to me during his time in Basic Training. The letters trace from April until the end of July, with one letter dated for just about every day in between. The first few pages are stuffed with pictures of the two of us, love notes, and his version of “29 keys to a relationship.” Afterwards, there are countless letters where he shares his experiences during Basic, pages filled of memories from the beginning of our relationship, plans and dreams for our future together, and bible verses that grounded us during times of despair and loneliness. I love that I felt so compelled to preserve them in way that would allow me to go back to flip through and read his progression not only in his passion for the Army, but as an individual. Sam tells me that he thinks the letter pages are out of order. Except I thought I had put them all in order of date; starting with the oldest and ending with the most recent. However, as I am flipping though the book, I come to the first letter. It is dated 4-7-17. Suddenly, I realize that the book doesn’t look the way it had before. The first letter of the first word of each letter were highlighted. Sam had coordinated the letters so that each one began with a word that started with the corresponding alphabetical letter to spell out “WILL YOU MARRY ME”. As I started flipping though the pages faster and my brain finally caught on to what I was reading, I turned around in pure disbelief only to find him down on one knee, with a ring in hand. A southern gentleman and my brother’s best friend, who quickly turned into my best friend, had asked me to spend forever with him. Of course I said yes!