Kayla and Pat

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How We Met

Patrick and I met in high school back in our home state of New Hampshire. My mom would always say “Oh that Patrick, you need to meet a guy like that. If he’s ever single, I know you both would just hit it off.” To me, he was just Patrick, a gentle giant, as he is almost a foot taller than me. Years later he would tell me that he had a crush on me from the moment he saw me, but for the time being we were just friends.

After graduation, I moved to Boston Massachusetts for College and he was off to a Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, New York. Every few months we would chat and catch up, never losing touch. By then we were both single, exploring new cities, and discovering what life had in store for us. Little did we know life was leading us back to each other, and that Boston would become not only our home, but the catalyst to our love story.

Patrick randomly texted me one cold October day asking if I was free. He was in New Hampshire on school break, and it was Halloween of our senior year in College. He thought it could be fun to come into Boston and go out. I was working as a cocktail waitress to help pay for school, and the bar just so happened to be having a Halloween party that night. I wasn’t scheduled to work and invited him to come along. It had been years since we had seen each other, and I’ll never forget watching him cross the street to meet me at the corner of Louis Pasteur and Huntington, carrying a giant Cookie Monster costume. He was even more handsome then I remembered and I got butterflies instantly. But he was familiar, and safe, and felt like home even though it had been ages. That night, dressed as Snow White, accompanied by Patrick in a blue adult onesie with giant Styrofoam googly eyes, we began Our Adventure together. There was a magic between us that can’t be named, and when I looked at him, I saw my future.

As our Halloween party unfolded we both knew that there was much more then friendship between us, but we pretended to be “just friends” for a little longer. Our friends would pester us, telling us that they knew we were perfect for each other. My mother was now certain that where we had hit it off (as she knew we would), that we were destined to be together.

I had to admit, the bond Patrick and I had was like nothing else. A few weeks later he just started calling me his girlfriend. Unconventional for sure, but I liked the hutzpah. From then on we were inseparable. Patrick would come to Boston to visit me every weekend that he was allowed to leave, driving hours each way. Sometimes only for a one day visit before returning to the Merchant Marine Academy. One time driving through the blizzard Nemo, even though there was a driving ban. Nothing could keep us apart. We would explore the city, making memories amongst the cobblestone streets we traveled, in the tiny apartments we lived in, learning each other. Places like the local restaurants, shops, and train stations were now the places where we would tell each other our hopes, dreams, struggles, and triumphs. Boston was now a map of us, where the streets held our memories like sacred secrets.

When the Boston Marathon was bombed, I was working at the bar where we had reconnected that fateful Halloween, only a few blocks from where the bombs went off. The city I loved, we loved, was in harm’s way. It was that day that I first told Patrick I loved him, standing among the chaos, knowing that he had to know how I felt if anything should happen to me. And he told me he loved me to. I knew from the moment I saw him, and felt in that moment that this was without a doubt my soulmate.

How He Asked

I had been working with my jeweler for some time to design the perfect ring for Kayla. After, sort of, patiently waiting a few weeks I finally received word that the ring had arrived and was ready to be picked up. Immediately I jumped into action and rushed out of our apartment to get “snacks” before picking up a friend at the airport. I never intended to get snacks nor did I come back with any. When I returned, my friend distracted Kayla while I quickly put the ring into our safe, but not before Kayla asked where the snacks were with a slight grin. I had the ring in my possession and it was time to find the perfect location for the proposal.  I had been thinking about the right place for a long time. I wanted somewhere that was meaningful to us, so I knew it had to be in Boston, but where specifically?

While pondering this the day before I was going to propose to Kayla, I reached out to my friend from high school, Alex Wiciel. She just to happens to be a very talented wedding photographer, and I was asking her for advice. As soon as she heard me say, “I’m going to propose,” Alex stopped me in my tracks and told me that she is going to come down and clandestinely capture the whole thing on camera. Suddenly everything started to make sense to me,  and I knew where I was going to propose. I hurried downtown to the eastern edge of the Swan Boat Pond in the Boston Public Garden, roaming around until I found the perfect spot. Now it was time to ensure the secret would not be discovered by Kayla, who is much too observant. I changed Alex’s name to Matt in my phone so that Kayla would not catch onto who I was texting with, and had to work hard to contain my excitement.

The day of the proposal, I dropped Kayla off at work. All she knew was we were having date night right after she left work, so she had to dress up for work because we wouldn’t be going home first. I immediately got to work myself, finalizing the plan and getting ready. I had received Kayla’s father’s permissions the weekend prior and everything was in place. As if a sign, I received a notification from Facebook that Alex had taken a picture of Kayla and me three years ago that day. Another sign that fate had brought us together, and was on our side.

Before leaving to meet up with Alex, I practiced my ring display skills (trust me, practice), then hopped on the train and headed to a local bar where she was waiting for me. We finalized the plan on a cocktail napkin; drawing out the route and marking key spots where I would text “Matt” aka Alex so she could keep hidden. Then I was off to pick up Kayla from work, and Alex was off to the Swan Boat Pond, where we had found the spot with the best backdrop. Everything was set and the plan was officially in motion.

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After picking up Kayla form work, I told her we had early dinner reservations, but that I allotted some time for one of our usual walks through the park. Just a typical date night in our favorite city, or so she thought. Upon entering the Public Garden I followed the planned route and text schedule, until I saw Alex sneakily hiding behind a tree.

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This was going perfectly! As I turned to walk to our spot, I was met with a surprise of my own: bunch of people and birds in our spot, uh oh! On the fly, I brought Kayla over to a nearby bench to wait it out, but I was running out of time. There was a baby screeching nearby, and the heat had risen to nearly 95 degrees. I wasn’t going to be able to keep her there for long.

Suddenly a goose emerged from the water fowl, and took charge of the area. It cleared out the people and fowl alike. First it started with the people, biting a young woman on the ankle, and then chasing the other birds, while honking and wildly flapping its wings. Next, the goose walked over to us, paused in front of our bench, and made direct eye contact with me before calmly walking away. I do not know who or what made the goose help me out, but it was finally my moment.

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I took Kayla over to a willow tree, in our now empty spot, and it was now sinking in for both of us what was about to happen. I looked into her beautiful brown eyes, which were brilliantly illuminated in the evening sun, and told her a few things only her and I will know, kissed her, then proceeded to drop to one knee while pulling out the ring (seriously though, practice this).

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I asked, and she said yes.

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We then had our first kiss as fiancés, after which I directed our attention to Alex, a few yards off, snapping away, capturing it all. I could not have made it so perfect without Alex, and I appreciate her help and her talent. Kayla was so thrilled, excited, and shocked in the best way. I nailed it!

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We proceeded to call all our friends and family while walking around downtown Boston. After our announcements were made we went celebrate with dinner at Top of the Hub. We sat at a cozy table, next to a wall of windows, overlooking not just the city where we fell in love, but the exact spot of our engagement. Just blocks from the corner of Louis Pasteur and Huntington where we reconnected about four years prior, with the help of an amazing friend, and a goose, Kayla and I moved onto our next chapter on Thursday, August 18th 2016.

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Special Thanks

Alexsandra Wiciel
Photographer