Ria and Noah
We were that boy and girl next door couple. Kind of. Except he was the boy on the football team and I was the girl on the sideline… and I kind of had no idea who he was for the first year we knew each other. And our lives have centered around football ever since. I would get up at 4am during the end of summer to prep the training room, he’d drag himself in at 5 to get ready for practice. I’d be there with a water battle, ice bags, bandaids and heat packs. From August to November we spent every day together. It took me a whole year to figure out who he was since I was two years ahead of him in college. But the one fateful day when I messaged him before practice one morning the second week of camp my senior year as I took a break from online shopping (yup, I slid into his Twitter DMs – what a cliche millennial relationship), we haven’t gotten a day without talking since.
We’d spend 3 more football seasons together, two got him conference championships, one an ACL repair surgery, and at the end of the last one, me a total car stranded in the middle of a Pennsylvania Highway.
As kids from two midwestern towns, his a tiny pop up manufacture town, and me from a tiny suburb and county school, we were simple. We didn’t have the fancy dates, the long trips or the swanky parties starting out. Our weekends were spent at football games, me cooking or baking for him, staying up later than we should’ve after practice talking into the wee hours of the morning about everything in life and laughing until he couldn’t sing Johnny Cash anymore. We only had my senior year together before I packed up not even two weeks after my graduation and moved to his tiny town.
Truthfully, we had picked out a wedding date before I even graduated. It’s the weekend before we actually plan on getting married. So to say I was expecting an engagement for a while was a bit of an understatement. As I moved on in my career while he was still on the football team, I kept expecting it at some big point that year, when I flew him to Dallas to surprise him with his first cowboys game, his senior day as he walked across the field, that year on our third Christmas together. In true style however, he wanted to catch my always had to have a plan self off guard. So he did what every guy does to catch a girl off guard. Waited until we were arguing.
It was a winter night in January, I was working on a graduate school paper, he was supposed to be at school. I’m holed up in the my room, sweatpants, laundry going, and all of a sudden, someone is knocking on my front door – and I live in the middle of no where, so no one knocks on the door on a dark winter night. It was him. Noah had driven home after rush hour on a winter evening. I was confused, he was supposed to be at school an hour and a half away, didn’t he have school in the morning?
He says he just missed me, I’m already mad at him from our argument earlier in the evening, but he’s acting weird so I go with it. He’s sweating, shaking, I ask him if he’s sick. He says no. And that’s when it happened.
He asks me to come over to him. Give him just a minute. And then knocks over every possible things he could trying to get down on one knee. His clammy hand holding mine, other hand catching him from falling over, I’m half laughing half in shock because I thought I was into him and I’d know when this was coming.
What happened after that neither of us really remember. Except that I said yes. Neither of us even remember why we were arguing. But it was how it was supposed to be. A simple private moment between two small town midwestern kids. Who’s relationship wasn’t about the fancy dates, the expensive clothes, or the flashy social arena. It was about us, a private romantic moment, just the boy and girl next door (or next to each other on the field…)