Jaclyn and Chase
How We Met
Jaclyn and I met each other in high school, but we weren’t really interested in each other at the time (read: she wasn’t interested in me). But we kept in touch, as friends, and decided to make a go of it a few years later when I transferred to the University she was also attending. Turned out we liked each other and then loved each other, and stuck together for 5 years before the engagement.
When we are both together and present, we mostly talk. We go through our days, try to troubleshoot our life issues and plan what we want to do. Jaclyn and I are very different people on the surface, but, at our core, we both want to make the most out of our lives. We are committed to finding the best in ourselves, which we’ve figured means the best for each other as well.
Jaclyn was sure long before me, no doubt. Things didn’t really click together in my mind until after a few months of moving into our first apartment with no roommates. Even then it took months before I became really comfortable with depending on someone and being depended on. For me, it wasn’t a “the” moment, but a bunch of small moments which kept making me warmer and warmer to the idea until proposing was not a question, but a definite next step.
How He Asked
The proposal was at Big Bend National Park, way out on the edge of West Texas. The trip was planned, the proposal was a surprise. Though considering I was uncharacteristically cagey about certain details, and she needed an emergency manicure while we were on the road, I think she had an idea. Thankfully though, it was a long trip, and there were plenty of beautiful locations to camouflage where I actually wanted to propose.
The spot, in particular, was picked with a lot of help from my photographer, Michelle Santiago. She and I had discussed some of the areas in and around Big Bend, and we settled on an easy (read: non-sweat inducing) trail in the Chisos Mountains. We started before sunrise to head to Big Bend, and I was pushing us hard to keep on a schedule she did not know about.
We drove around the park and stopped at amazing vistas and hiked wonderful trails, but I think I was pushing a bit too hard.The plan was to hike, have fun, have lunch at the park’s lodge, clean up and head out on the tail where Michelle was waiting, but a combination of dehydration, elevation and nerves had made me extremely sick.
At one point we actually had to pull over on a narrow mountain road because I looked and felt like I was about to pass out.Jaclyn was driving, and she kept suggesting we leave the park early since I felt so bad. The lodge was close though, and I’m known to be very stubborn when sick, so I just kept saying let’s go to the lodge. The lodge is only a few miles away. I’ll be better at the lodge. Just, lodge.And we got to the lodge, but now we were way ahead of schedule for when Michelle was supposed to meet us. And mountains and cell phone reception don’t mix, so the plan was the plan was the plan and I was going to sticking to it.
So chugged water and Dramamine until I could feel okay, and did everything to keep my obviously very patient girlfriend from wanting to go do anything else. But, after yammering about “soaking in nature” for about two hours we were getting close to the time. And we, very slowly, started making it to the spot. Taking a long way. And getting “lost” once. It was worth it when we got there though. The Chisos Mountains are beautiful, and this spot was particularly beautiful. I told Jaclyn she should take a picture, and while she was busy trying to capture the scenery, I got on one knee.
In the meantime, Michelle recruited a couple to shoo away people from the spot. So just up the trail, a small crowd was forming, just waiting for Jaclyn to turn around. And the moment she did turn to point something out to me, there were instantaneously tears. And then clapping. And then more tears. And then for a moment, it was just her and me and nothing else. I didn’t even pop the question, looking back. Didn’t need to.