How We Met
Remember middle school, when your idea of a type was a perfectly gelled hair flip and braces with color coordinated bands? Brekkan was definitely my type in 8th grade. We first met when I was invited to the movies with my best friend as her wing woman for a boy her family knew. I think my biggest priority that night was a jumbo popcorn and sour patch kids but somehow I ended up as the one sitting next to her setup with my fingers tightly intertwined with his during the middle of The Haunting in Connecticut… I think it’s important to note here that I did not break girl code, it ended up that she was not interested. During a whirlwind, one month (which was a big deal in 8th grade), including my first real kiss, Brekkan and I broke up. Of course, I was devastated, 8th grade me thought I just lost my one true love. I definitely had Stickwitu but The Pussycat Dolls on repeat for a whole week.
Then we were on to high school and college. The next few years went by quickly. I no longer hung out with that best friend and I had lots of boy friends and lots of kisses. The first year and a half of college were all about focusing on myself. I was not the relationship type, in fact, I avoided relationships like freshmen avoiding mono (which I did not successfully avoid, thanks frat party bag of Franzia). Fast forward to Sophomore year, the night before Thanksgiving break. My girl friends and I spent the night watching movies, discussing how I was definitely NOT looking for a relationship and future baby names. You know, typical girl stuff. If you know me you know I love the idea of a different name for my future kids. So that night after not thinking about Brekkan for 6 years I said to my friends….”I used to date a boy named Brekkan, I love his name but is it weird if I name my future kid after an ex-boyfriend? I mean it’s not like I’ll ever talk to him again….”
Somehow, Brekkan and I reconnected during that Thanksgiving break. The poor guy spent 3 days asking me out on a date before I decided to say yes. We went on a date to the movies after I had curry for dinner, which may not be the definition of romantic but our relationship has been nothing short of romantic ever since. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I think the universe was working its magic that autumn night in November 5 years ago. Now when I look back, I definitely was the relationship type I just knew I was waiting for the real thing.
How They Asked
Brekkan and I had been together for 4 years and boy were Brekkan determined to get down on one knee. Of course, we talked about it, we both knew we were each others’ forever but we were young and fresh out of college so we weren’t in a rush to get engaged. While in college I set the rule that after our 5 year anniversary he could propose. If you know anything about Brekkan he’s not very good at waiting (Just take a look at the fish tank in his room, which he was supposed to wait until after we bought a house to get). So Brekkan took 5 years as a challenge and beat it by 1.
December 20th, 2018 was just like any other day for me – My agency would be closed for the following week so I spent the day hustling away to make sure I had a work free week off. I had plans with Brekkan to get dinner and to drive around town looking at Christmas lights. This had become one of our favorite holiday traditions. I missed my first train home and barely got out of my office in time to make the next train. It had been raining all day and I was trying my best not to fall on 34th street while running to catch my train. I had safely made it into Penn Station, onto track 14, but not even 2-feet from the train door I slipped on the safety-line! If you’re familiar with Penn Station you know those grooved lines are meant as to give traction and are used as a precaution so no one slips onto the tracks. But with my graceful luck, I managed to slide across the grooves and face plant in the middle of the platform.
If falling wasn’t embarrassing enough let’s throw in 100+ people inside and outside of the train car gasping as I hit the ground, followed but frantic attempts to help me up and hands helping to pick up my disheveled items that were strewn across the platform. My building ID still lays in the middle of Track 14 on the west-end of Penn Station as a lovely memento (if you’re ever in the neighborhood go say hi). I got onto the train with ripped pants and tear soaked cheeks, determined to do nothing but watch Netflix for the rest of my absurdly embarrassing Thursday evening. There would be no dinner and Christmas lights for me, sorry Brekkan.
Normally Brekkan is pretty understanding when I cancel plans last minute, but this time he was relentless. He would not take no for an answer. At this point, I was throwing my own pity-party heading east through Long Island and was making an excessive effort to cancel our plans. Brekkan’s main excuse for why we couldn’t reschedule for the next night was because it was going to rain. I mean I may have suffered a mild concussion during my fall but there was a 99% chance it was already raining outside (Mean Girls reference for all you Boomers), so what was the point of Friday versus that night? Well, Brekkan ending up getting his way and little did I know I was going to be so happy he did.
We went for dinner and cruised around his hometown, check out the lights. I was persistent in heading a few towns over to visit one of our favorite houses but he kept heading in the wrong direction. When I asked why we were heading towards the Marina he mentioned a gentleman at the gym had told him about a light show at the Marina that night. Well, the concussion must have been a full force at this point because my usually skeptical self believed him! As we pulled into the Marina there was not a single car or a single Christmas light in sight. I was bummed and told Brekkan to turn around, but instead, he kept heading through the parking lot to the water’s edge. He then asked me to get out of the car and take a walk. The rain had finally started to die down and as we walked down a path towards the water I noticed the gazebo had been decorated with Christmas lights. As we approached the cabana there was a large sign with “Will You Marry Me?” written out in Christmas lights.
I think I momentarily blacked out and came too, to find my best friend down on his knee with the most gorgeous ring I have ever seen. That “Yes” was the easiest yes I have ever said. I didn’t need 3 days of asking to convince me. I knew and still, know, that I wholeheartedly want to spend the rest of my days with Brekkan Frederick Dufek.
If you know Brekkan and me, you know we spend our days with endless goofy laughter, continuous support and love, and the constant urge to push each other to be the best person we can possibly be. I think I was made for him and he was made for me. We’re the complete opposites but somehow we have found a partner with the same fundamental values and favorite hobbies. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with my favorite person, and next time I trip in the middle of a public transportation system I’ll keep in mind that perhaps another amazing memory is right around the corner.