Elizabeth and Robert
How We Met
Rob and I met in theater class audition senior year of high school. At the time, Rob was on the tennis team and ran track, but he was recovering from a broken arm. So he opted for a theater class instead of tennis practice. And boy, were we lucky. After meeting in class and just happening to play one another’s lover on stage, Rob developed a real-life crush on me that he kept to himself for 6 years… 6 YEARS!
It was during our theater class that I asked Rob to hang out with me by going on a run. I was athletic and determined to become a ‘runner,’ therefore I needed to have a running buddy. After overhearing that Rob was on varsity track, I knew Rob could teach me a thing or two about my form. With outstanding patience on Rob’s part, he not only devoted his off-time to teaching me about long-distance running, but on our runs his witticisms and goofy jokes would send me to tears with laughter. We’d get into debates and have such meaningful conversations on our runs. It was through our runs that we realized we had so much in common; reading, writing, love of the outdoors, and who could forget our shred late-night cereal, popcorn, and movie binges. Here I thought Rob was just a sports jock who needed to take a theater class to fulfill last-minute requirements, but I quickly came to find there was a lot more to Rob. He actually wanted to be in that class. Both our interest in and love of theater and the arts enabled us to meet during that fateful day of auditions.
It didn’t take long before Rob and I became the best of friends and kindred spirits. We spent the summer before college running and getting to know one another by trading poetry books. We both had just enough eccentricities and the same sense of humor that attracted us to each other. Throughout college we’d become pen pals because we lived so far apart. We would write countless letters to one another and send poetry books on birthdays with our favorite poems earmarked. During our summers at home we were inseparable; either training for the next 10k we’d sign up for or making plans to hike. My boyfriends at the time didn’t stop Robert and I from hanging out; no one did. In fact, they all knew and liked Rob and his silly witticisms. Yet, as we grew up and college for us both came to an end, my relationship with Rob with my only constant in life.
Fast forward 6 years and countless letters, runs, and hikes together to 2014. Remember, for 6 years Rob had literally run 500 miles by my side and never said a word about his crush on me. He’d somehow find a way to avoid the topic of conversations on relationships, especially in his letters. No matter the news I had (good or bad), he was always there – my rock and support. We even helped one another through serious deaths in the family around the same time. The bond and the jokes we shared made us inseparable. It was quickly becoming obvious to everyone around me that we were soul mates. It only took me 6 years and 2 serious relationships to realize that for myself. Thank goodness I finally woke up! When Rob asked me to be his girlfriend, I was so relieved and ready to call myself his. Finally, my built-in-buddy and I were on the page we were always meant to be on. For 2 years it felt so good to be with my best friend, and now that he has proposed, it feels even more kismet and just calming to be his fiancé. I am blessed and lucky to be embarking on this life journey with him. I feel so at ease!
How He Asked
Active and outdoorsy, Rob decided he would propose the only way we knew how, outdoors among the majesty of nature. In fact, proposal planning began back in January when we finally received permits to hike Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous US. Because my dad would be accompanying us on a week-long backpacking trip along the High Sierras in California all the way up to Mount Whitney, my parents were fully aware and in cahoots with Rob the whole time. Rob knew he wanted to propose at the top of Mount Whitney, so my parents helped make it happen. In fact, up until we reached the summit, my dad held on to the ring for safe keeping in a vacuum sealed bag.
Here we were, 4 days into our backpacking trip. We had gained over 5,000 feet in elevation and hiked over 50 miles to get to Trail Crest, 2 miles away from the summit of Mount Whitney and 2 miles away from the pinnacle of our trip. Little did I know I was also 2 miles away from being proposed to by the love of my life with my Dad to witness the beautiful moment. We dumped our heavy gear, – each of us carrying 40-lb packs-, in lieu of light day packs. We packed our water, snack, layers, and that’s when Dad slyly packed the ring and his multi tool for cutting the bag the precious cargo had been safely carried in.
With our daypacks on our backs and optimistic hearts, we were off into the wind-chilled unknown, tired from beginning our journey that day at 3 AM, but so excited to summit. It took us 2 hours of treacherous snow crossings and navigating boulders to get up to the peak. Finally, we were at the top. All was quiet. The morning sun was warm on all our faces, welcoming us to the summit of Mount Whitney. We had made it! Little did I know we were all minutes away from receiving our ultimate reward: a proposal… my proposal!
At the summit, Rob and my dad made a subtle exchange, shook hands, and cut the ring bag while I was looking in the opposite direction enjoying my inhibited vista views. As calm and collected as Rob could ever be, he walked up to me and got down on one knee.
Stunned and shocked from the events unfolding and from the lack of oxygen up at that height, I became overwhelmed with emotion. Onlookers cheered, cried with us, and snapped photos as they witnessed such an intimate expression of love as I said yes and Rob and I embraced. My dad, just as emotional, snapped as many photos as his frozen hands could. Afterward, my dad handed us both 2 notes; one from him, and one from my mom who was selflessly waiting for our safe arrival home. Rob and I read these notes of congratulations and love with smiles on the summit, over 14,500 feet up. Even though my mom was not able to be there in person, it was so special to know she was there with us in spirit until we were back on solid ground to celebrate. As we made our decent, news spread quickly. Other hikers had heard of our engagement and congratulated us all the way down.
Our engagement will forever be the pinnacle moment of a trip of a lifetime and the beginning to the rest of our lives. We won’t ever forget!