Kayla and John

How we met: John and I’s story spans back to 2003.  John was an 8th grader and I was a 7th grader at Mattawoman Middle School (Waldorf, MD). We met while staying after school to assist teachers with musical performances during the Charles County Spelling Bee Finals.  He was in the band, and I was in the chorus. We met through mutual friends and his then “girlfriend” (if those even exist in Middle School).  I had the hugest crush on him and wrote him a couple notes.  He doesn’t remember the notes, though (Probably, because I addressed him as “Jonathan” because I swore “John” was short for something else.) We continued on to Westlake High School (Waldorf, MD) together, he being one year ahead of me, having the occasional class together, mutual friends or the occasional “hey” in the hallway.  He asked me to his senior prom when I was a junior, I said yes at first, but after not having a dress until last minute and having a new boyfriend, I decided to change my mind (I know, I’m mean). Thanks to Facebook and texting we kept in touch through college (Me at Temple University in Philadelphia and he at East Carolina University in Greenville) and after both of us ended long term relationships (3 years), we decided to finally give it a shot!

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How he asked: So it all started with a family photo shoot that my boyfriend had come home from Charlotte to do.  A family photo shoot that never happened.  We had gone out the night before with other members from his fraternity, and he had accidentally left his camera at my house (convenient right?).  The next morning, as I am getting dressed for my family photo shoot, he is blowing my phone up saying that he had arranged to take a girl’s pictures at our high school prior to my family’s photo shoot.  (Really?) “Just a couple shots babe!”.  So my brother and I get into my car and make our way to the high school. I pulled up and was caught off guard…

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The banner read “Our Memories Started More Than 10 Years Ago” and our senior pictures were on it.  The banner was painted in our high school’s colors (aqua and orange).  I could only see feet under the banner, so I am super confused.  I get out the car and the banner lowers.  To my surprise, I see my two best friend’s, one’s fiancee, and two teachers from the school, whom knew both of us.  The two teachers in the back hold up another sign that says “Go to where we reunited 3 years ago”. And I’m off…

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I pull up to the place where we reunited 3 years ago, the local movie theater.  We had reunited during our college spring breaks when both our family had gone to see “Jumping The Broom”.  We ran into each other after the movie, at the trashcan.  We exchanged current contact information and became best friends almost instantly.  Well… I pull up to the movie theater to see a giant “Jumping The Broom” movie poster.  Holding the movie poster is my mother, his mother, his little sister, my godsister and my two college best friends (one traveling all the way from NYC).  They are all jumping up and down and squealing with excitement.  They ask me if I’m okay, and still in shock, I manage to shake my head yes.  They hand me the next clue..

The next clue sent me to Kay Jewelers in the mall across the street.  At this point, my brother has hopped in the driver’s seat because he’s been in on it this whole time.  (Figures…) So I walk into the mall’s food court and to the Kay Jewelers.  I walk in and I must’ve looked really confused and obvious because a saleswoman came up to me and asked, “Are you Kayla?”.  Looking around for the next set of friends and family, I nervously say “Yes”.  She says, “Do you know who is doing this for you? You have a really good man!” Realizing that I was alone at this clue, I nervously take the envelope that she handed me and made my way back to the car.  As I walked, I opened the envelope.  Inside was a card with a note from his mother, welcoming me to the family.  I start to shake nervously, as I get back into the car, headed to the last and final clue, “You and my son’s favorite place to eat”… Carrabas!

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So I pull up to Carrabas to a tunnel of about 40 friends and family, balloons in my favorite color (aquamarine) and two of his friends from East Carolina were singing John Legend’s “All of Me”.  The rest is pretty much a blur.  They had me stop in the middle of the human tunnel and he met me in the middle, having come from the opposite end.  He took my hands, looked at me in the eyes and it began…

He got down on one knee and because I was crying so frantically, I could only nod “Yes”.

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Photography  by Tim Bowser