How We Met
Franck and I met while we were working at the same hotel in San Francisco. He was working as the Executive Chef, and I was in charge of the Front Office. During my first week, it was planned that I would have one on one meetings with my new coworkers. During my meeting with Franck, I was completely captivated by him. Franck was originally from France, and he told stories about his life and career that had taken him across the world. He spoke with such passion and enthusiasm, and I found myself eating up every word. For the first time in a long time, I felt nervous when it was time for me to talk. I couldn’t decipher if these butterflies in my stomach were from the new job, or this amazing man sitting in front of me. It didn’t take long to figure out it was the latter.
A month after cautiously flirting at work, Franck asked me out. He picked me up after work on his motorcycle. I tried to act as though this was totally normal and hide the fact that I was freaking out internally. I had no idea where we were going, and for some reason didn’t care. As he sped down the coastal highway, I couldn’t slow him, or my mind, down. I had never felt so alive as we flew past buildings and the beautiful California sea. The air smelled of gasoline and salt water, and I couldn’t catch my breath. When we finally stopped at the restaurant in Half Moon Bay, I felt like I was on fire. My face was stuck in a permanent grin and I lost myself in his eyes and words until the waiters started to turn off the lights and clock out for their shifts.
We weren’t ready for this night to end and I jumped on the back of the motorcycle with a new found confidence. This time I managed to loosen my grip and even open my eyes as we drove back into the city and up to Twin Peaks summit. We sat and talked for hours. By the time I looked at my watch, it was 2:30 am. This was about four hours past my standard bedtime. Sleep was the farthest thing from my mind, despite having to be at work in 4 hours. “I’m hungry,” I said. “Me too!” He exclaimed. We ended our epic first date with breakfast at a downtown diner. I remember excusing myself to the bathroom and staring at my reflection in the mirror as I washed my hands, fully aware that my whole life was about to change.
how they asked
Franck and I had moved to Sedona, Arizona for work in August. On May 6th, I planned on taking a solo trip to Connecticut to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. I couldn’t take much time off of work, so I flew out on the redeye and planned to spend about 24 hours with my family. It would be a ridiculously short trip, but well worth it to celebrate my Grandma on her special day. Franck stayed at home because he couldn’t take the time off of work. The party was a huge success and my grandmother was so surprised to see me that it made the short trip totally worth it.
My family and I spent the morning celebrating on the beach, eating great food, and sharing funny stories. Everyone kept asking about Franck, and I found myself really missing him. I called him a few times, but he was so busy at work he wasn’t picking up. As the party died down and we started to clean up, my parents summoned me outside to take a few last family photos. We took a few different shots, one with the beach in the background (zoom in for a surprise!), and the other of us facing the beach.
Before I knew it, I realized that my sister was staring at me with this huge, suggestive smile. I followed her gaze and saw that there was someone standing on the beach in front of us. My eyes fixated on the person standing behind some driftwood and before my mind had a chance to keep up, I started running. A million thoughts ran through my mind as I ran toward my boyfriend, who was supposed to be at work in Arizona but was now standing on the beach where I grew up in Madison, Connecticut. By the time I got to him, I collapsed in his arms and kept asking “What is happening??” over and over. As we hugged, I noticed he had one hand behind his back and I couldn’t catch my breath as hard as I tried.
Before I knew it, he was down on one knee and it felt as though everything around me froze. Franck presented me with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. The ring itself was nestled in a transparent box filled halfway with sand. Franck explained that the sand in this transparent box was not from the beach where we were standing, but from the beach in California where we had one of our first dates. I can’t remember much more of what he or I said at this moment, but I do remember exclaiming “Yes!” and giving him my hand.
I turned around to see my parents, sister, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins coming out to celebrate with me on the sand. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I was literally holding on to Franck so I wouldn’t fall down. One by one my relatives and friends came out of the building where the party was, shocked to see what had just transpired. One of my cousins brought us out the champagne, as Franck told me that I was no longer leaving on a flight back to Arizona in 2 hours, but that he had extended our trip by two days. He had changed my flight, covered my shifts at work, and had been in cahoots with my parents and sister for months. It was a surprise after surprise for the next 48 hours as Franck completely turned my world upside down.