How We Met
“CIOFFI, YA COMIN?” The year, 2006. The place, Crossgates Mall in Albany, New York. The culprits- The tall, loud kid from Peabody (*cough, TOM, *cough), his Tomboy best friend, a Ginger from Troy NY, and his (then) girlfriend from somewhere in southern upstate New York. They headed to the mall, due to the fact that MCLA was in the middle of nowhere USA. The day started fine, until The tall one and the Ginger’s girlfriend began to argue in the middle of the mall. *AWKWARD TURTLE* Cue Title Line: “CIOFFI, YA COMIN?”
Matt Here: This was the first time we ever talked to each other for more than a few minutes. Eventually, we joined the soap opera already in progress, and headed back to campus. Years went on, and we chatted every so often about our education classes. I came out to Boston to go to a wrestling show. Shannon came out to see Tom at MCLA for a weekend here and there.Each time, we picked up where we left off, casually chatting, catching up. Fast forward to November 2010. We both were in the realms of Education hell. I was having a terrible time student teaching, and Shannon was teaching at a private school that just didn’t work…for anyone. I reached out to Tom, and although he tried, Tom admitted that teaching matters were not exactly his forte. He did, however, know of a certain someone who was going through nearly the exact same thing. Tom gave me Shannon’s phone number. I called her that night, and we spoke for several hours. We spoke for several hours every night, talking about life, venting, and enjoying each others’ company. During these nightly chats, I began to feel something was “happening” — talking to Shannon every night was the bright spot of my my day. We decided that it had been far too long since we had last seen each other and so Shannon and Tom ventured out to western Massachusetts. I was looking forward to seeing the both of them, but I was especially interested in seeing if what I was feeling for Shannon was genuine. Should I trust my intuition here? Tom arrived first, then Shannon arrived. The three of us hung out for awhile, and then Tom went home. He had to work the following day. Shannon Here: Matt and I had established that we would be making my Chicken Parm for dinner (what better way to make a first impression with an Italian?). As we were cooking, we carried on a conversation as if we would each night. We laughed when the can opener broke in my hand. We ate dinner (which he LOVED, by the way…), and then we sat down to watch a movie. During the movie, Matt and I just snuggled in slowly. So we carried on, seeing each other every other weekend. I felt myself falling in love with Matt with each passing day. On one of our tearful goodbyes, in South Station, on April Fool’s Day, we said “I love you” for the first time. That summer, he surprised me with a visit when I was done teaching. Life carried on, and our visits grew further apart. I felt our relationship spinning out of control. We could meet somewhere halfway (Holyoke…eww)-but it was just not working. August 16, 2013, Matt took a leap of faith and moved to Lynn. I cannot thank him enough for taking that leap of faith! We blossomed, we grew, and we settled in as a legitimate couple.
how they asked
The Proposal that was almost ruined…TWICE
Matt Here: For a couple years, Shannon had been hinting that whenever I wanted to propose, the answer was yes. All I had to do was ask. After much deliberation, I came across a quote by Jack Cheng: “If it excites you and scares the crap out of you at the same time, it probably means you should do it.” That quote really stuck with me, and I realized that I was ready to make the next big step. I talked to Tommy, who was thrilled and ready to help with whatever I needed. I worked up the strength to ask for Kathy’s (Shannon’s Mom) blessing and was met with overwhelming support and love. She told me I was already a part of the family, and that she couldn’t wait for it to be official. After buying a ring I knew she would love, I started hashing out a plan with Tommy and Kathy — we planned a karaoke proposal at Fantasy Island, a Chinese restaurant in Salem. Kathy set the plans in motion by encouraging Shannon to get a group of friends together for her birthday and getting family members together while Tommy and I planned on our end. I finally picked up the ring and as the proposal was weeks away, the tricky part became not spilling the beans. I almost let it slip twice — the first occasion? Shannon and I were at my apartment. I was watching TV while Shannon was making dinner. Shannon mentioned wanting to get professional photos taken, since we hadn’t gotten any done since we were in Jamaica for my brother’s wedding. Without thinking, I said “Oh yeah, it would be nice to get engagement photos done.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized I may have let the cat out of the bag. Shannon, as naive as could be, asked why we would get engagement photos done if we weren’t engaged? I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I may not have totally blown it. The second occasion? Shannon had the morning off one day and came over before I went to work. It just so happened that she came over as I was getting up, so I let her in and took a shower as she watched TV. It wasn’t until halfway through my shower that I realized that the ring was in a gift bag with the jeweler’s name on it about 5 feet away from her. Luckily for me, it was in a spot where most of my things were and she thought nothing of it. After my shower, I “casually” grabbed the bag, tossed it in my closet, and wondered to myself how I managed to narrowly escape revealing my master plan twice! The day came and amazingly, I was calm! Tom and his sister Sarah picked me up; Sarah had agreed to take video which I appreciated. I had the ring stashed in my sock and must have touched my calf every 10 minutes to make sure that it was still there. We got to Fantasy and it really was EVERYONE in Shannon’s life. The nervousness began to mount, but after a dose of liquid courage I quickly put my song in and talked with the karaoke host who was aware of my plans prior to us coming. After much deliberation, I decided to sing “Marry Me” by Train. Shannon later told me that this song was the one she hoped I would sing to her. My name was called and I got up, a huge bundle of nerves. The beginning chords started and the look on Shannon’s face was worth everything.