Michael and Melody

Image 15 of Michael and Melody

How We Met

I met Melody on Hinge — she was in Uganda, and I was in Los Angeles!

Her face popped up on my iPhone screen. She was sunny, bright, radiant…full of the kind of joy and peace I craved and had always wanted in a partner. So, I swiped right to “Like” Melody’s profile, closed out of Hinge, and left for work. I had no idea that this simple “swipe right” would change my life.

We had our first phone call over WhatsApp a few days later — 11:00 am my time, 9:00 pm her time — and talked like long-lost friends (while I paced my apartment nervously). Later that week, COVID-19 broke out, and Melody told me on our first EVER video chat that she had to leave Uganda.

So, for the first time, I prayed for her. We prayed on our first WhatsApp video chat. In the next few days, Melody would fly home to her mom’s house in Ohio, barely avoiding the United States border shutdown, and leaving almost all of her things behind to friends in Uganda.

Image 1 of Michael and Melody

During the early weeks of the virus, Melody and I talked and talked and talked. And talked and talked and talked. We were long-distance, we were friends, and we loved it.

Melody talked me through a lot. Remember when we all thought COVID-19 would be over in two weeks? “We’ll be back at the office by the end of March! NO PROBLEM!” SIIIIIIIIIIIIKE. But Melody was there. I would FaceTime her and prop my phone up on the side of my laptop, talk to her while typing, and wear my AirPods to cut down on the clicking noise.

We had our first official date on Easter, over Zoom, a few hours after both of our families unintentionally ended up watching “Jesus” from Sight & Sound at the same time, unbeknownst to them. We binged A Different World during work, watched Insecure over dinner, and celebrated the completion of Melody’s book. March came and went, and April was about to end.

So, I decided to risk quarantine and the virus to visit Melody in person for the first time on Friday, 5/1/2020 — the first day of interstate travel into Ohio.

I got off the plane in Northern Kentucky, ran to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, nearly hurled, and brushed my teeth again. I walked out of the bathroom, to our agreed-upon rendezvous point, and then, I saw her.

Image 2 of Michael and Melody

Image 3 of Michael and Melody

Melody was tall — not WNBA tall, but taller than I thought. She had long legs hidden under long jeans and wore a matching jean jacket to match. We hugged for a long time. We kissed quickly. I made a Dad joke. Melody giggled. We walked to her car, hopped in, and drove off.

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. So, on I-71, after we had crossed the bridge and left Downtown Cincinnati, I looked over at her from the passenger’s seat and yelled.”YOU’RE SO ATTRACTIVE! YAAAAAAAAAAAAS!” Melody laughed and blushed.

And that’s how we met!

Image 4 of Michael and Melody

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How They Asked

It was an overcast Saturday morning in Portland, Oregon. The sun peeked through the clouds intermittently as Melody and Michael waited in line to enter the world-famous Powell’s Books. It was a quiet, pleasant day. Melody was enjoying taking in the sights and sounds of the quaint city, and Michael was patiently waiting for his chance to pop the question.

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Image 11 of Michael and Melody

You see, Melody and Michael had planned Michael’s maiden voyage to Portland to visit Melody’s sister Joy and her husband Rob and enjoy their city’s eclectic arts scene. However, unbeknownst to Melody, Michael had been in secret talks with Joy and Rob to plan an epic proposal in one of Melody’s favorite venues — Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon!

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So, the day had finally come. Melody was delighted to meet up with her sister in the world’s largest independent bookstore and dance down its long corridors, and Michael was quietly managing his emotions carefully, praying to Jesus that he (nor anyone in the bookstore, who all knew of the surprise) would blow the secret.

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After waiting in line outside, Melody and Michael met Joy and Rob in the bookstore’s lobby. From there, Joy led the way and steered Melody to the Rare Book Room, a special place within the store reserved for comfort and elegance. The Rare Book Room is 1,000 square feet of dark wood shelving, ambient lighting, antique furniture, and carefully selected works of art. The Rare Book Room is also home to several thousand of Powell’s most valuable — and beautiful — books, including an extensive library of reference works about antiquarian books.

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The four of us arrived at the Rare Book Room. Joy led Melody to the corner of the room in search of a mysterious art book as Rob quickly set up his master photography equipment. Michael slid in behind Melody, handed Melody a book he held, and finally spoke.

“Melody, I think this is the book you’re looking for.”

Melody opened the book’s first page. On it, Michael had written that famous question in ink…

“Melody, will you marry me?”

Melody was surprised and began to shake in delight and shock. Michael said some sweet things, and then scooped to his knee with the ring in hand. Michael then asked the question again, verbally.

“Melody, will you marry me?”


Image 14 of Michael and Melody

Michael slid the engagement ring on Melody’s finger — a sunburst flower diamond ring — rose to his feet, and hugged a delighted Melody. The newly engaged couple then enjoyed a makeshift picnic — an African blanket covered with Melody’s favorite flowers — and Michael began to tell Melody the story of how the surprise all came together, with both pausing in awe to soak in the timeless moments.

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Image 10 of Michael and Melody

Special Thanks

Rob Lewis
 | Photographer
Joy Davis
 | Planning