How We Met
In August of 2015, I was feeling burned out from the amount of work I was putting into my business. I decided to switch gyms to refocus on my love of fitness to bring some balance back to my life. Since the cheapest membership special they were running came with a personal trainer, I used it as an added resource even though I already had a love of fitness. The first day the trainer walked up to me and was laughing and I had a suspicion someone had said something to him about me.
It turned out that another trainer with long dreadlocks was the one who said something to him. That was the first day I met Antoine. He was the friendliest person at the gym and unbeknownst to me he’d flip off my trainer every time he would be training me because he thought I was attractive. I tend to keep to myself at the gym so the guy I called “the overly friendly dude with the hair” who high five’d or fist-bumped everyone was someone I tried to avoid. Antoine does not go unnoticed and would stick his arm in front of me as he trained someone to make sure I high five’d him.
How They Asked
Nine months later when my birthday rolled around in March, Antoine found out I was turning 35. When he realized I wasn’t in my 20s, he went from being the friendly gym buddy to being the guy that was hitting on me. I’m not easily impressed and at the time I didn’t trust his motives so I didn’t pay him much attention. By July I finally agreed to get one drink with him in hopes that it would deter him. Instead, one drink turned into us sitting there talking like long lost childhood friends. As he dropped me off at home he asked me on a second date. My condition was that he go to church with me. I figured that if he wasn’t truly interested that would be the thing that would finally deter him. Little did I know that he would heal the faith that he had been raised with and be re-baptized a few years later.
Three years later this has been the most effortless relationship I’ve ever been in. From the start, it’s felt like we’ve known each other our whole lives and we spend most of our time together laughing. Antoine is both incredibly considerate and yet so outrageous and goofy.
I joke and say that Antoine has been talking about marriage since the second date but it’s not far from the truth. I was the one that needed more convincing. I knew it was coming one day but he told me he had this whole list of things he wanted to happen before he proposed. Between that and the elaborate proposal he had in mind that he kept hinting at, I figured he was going to just talk about it for another year or two.
Now for Plan A. He decided to start putting together this grand proposal and no one was returning his messages. Little did he know how it would actually come together.
Then in August 2019, my grandma had another stroke. She wasn’t waking up and we were told that if she did she might not walk, talk, or be mentally aware of much even with therapy. We decided to honor her wishes. While at brunch with some friends whose wedding I photographed, my mom called me and Antoine answered. She told him that right before her stroke my grandma talked about this couple in a book she was reading who were always giving each other a hard time and joking around and how it reminded her of Antoine and me. She said that the last thing my grandma said was she hoped that I’d marry Antoine. So that’s when he started thinking of Plan B. My sister flew in and the next day we were going to the hospital to say our goodbyes. Antoine told me he wanted to be with me when we went.
The next day we got a call…my grandma was awake. We all jumped in our cars and made the hour drive to the hospital. When we got there my grandma couldn’t lift her head or open her eyes but she was aware enough to flirt with Antoine and be feisty with the nurses. My sister, Antoine, and I went to dinner with my uncle’s family and afterward, the three of us went back to the hospital to check in again. As we walked in my mom tells my grandma “Kristen, Jessica, and Antoine is back!” My grandma lifted the arm she had use of and said “Antoine!” Of course, my sister and I looked at each other and laughed. He leaned over and gave her a hug and later he told me that he told her that he had the ring with him. When he stood up she started sticking her hand in his pocket to all of our shock and amusement (and my confusion). Later when I came around to tell her I loved her she kept trying to focus behind me (you can see me trying to figure out what she was looking for in the video). She asked me what I said and I repeated that I loved her. She told me she loved me too but then she looked behind me on the other side. When I looked back again Antoine was there holding a ring box. I just started laughing because it seemed so crazy that we were in a hospital room but when I looked back I knew it was exactly how this was supposed to happen. Antoine proposed with an exquisitely delicate Melanie Casey sapphire ring. The entire time my grandma was weakly squeezing my hand in the hospital bed.
My grandma’s health is still uncertain and there are so many hurdles ahead for her. But I can’t tell you how grateful I am that she was awake and as aware as she had been in that moment. It wasn’t the plan or even the backup plan but the way it all came together was something that none of us could have imagined.