Matt and Talya
How We Met
Matt and I met in high school. We started dating after 9th grade as the boy with flipped out skater hair and the chatty girl with more eyeliner than she cares to remember. Thankfully our styles have evolved, but unfortunately for Matt, I can’t say I’ve become any quieter…
How He Asked
On Saturday morning I woke up and shuffled out to the car with some tea and a warm blanket in tow. My mom and dad had recently told my sister, Abi, and I that we were going to end the summer off with a family weekend in Parry Sound. As a family we’ve always bonded most over our travels together. Whether it’s a trek across the ocean or a quick getaway for the weekend, it never fails to encourage memorable discussions, stories of adventures both big and small, and a time to reenergize and rejuvenate our spirits. I figured that this weekend would be no different, and while the lasting memories and adventures were quite the same, this weekend was unlike any other before. When we arrived in Parry Sound my dad pulled up to the waterfront and enthusiastically told Abi and I that he wanted to show us something quick before we got to the hotel. As soon as we pulled into the lot, overlooking the harbor, he whipped around and passed me a little pink envelope. I looked at Abi who convincingly looked as confused as I was. Inside was a brief message, “Forget where you thought you were going, embrace the unknowing”. My parents, beaming, ushered us out of the car and into one of the many places along the water. Once inside I was thrilled, the surroundings all too familiar, we were going flying.
I’d never been to Georgian Bay Airways but the friendly staff greeted us and showed us to a perfect little Cessna 180 floatplane waiting for us on the water. As much as I would have been all too happy to take the controls and zip off for a quick joyride, our pilot Sam eagerly helped Abi and I into the plane. Just this once I supposed I could settle for co-pilot. My parents love to surprise us with things, so with very few questions we thanked them for the surprise and waved goodbye. We flew over the many islands of Parry Sound and our pilot Sam laughed when he realized how clueless we were about this excursion. We took time to laugh, chat, and quietly take in the views. We ended up over Muskoka and Sam began pointing out different notable sights. At one point he pointed out Taboo Resort and asked us if we had heard of it. I told him that I’d been a few times, and that we first stayed there several years ago on a similar family weekend ‘staycation’. He smiled and asked if we were ready to land. Wait a second, this wasn’t a round-trip sightseeing flight? We swooped down, gently landing on the water, pulling up alongside the resort.
As I was altogether enthralled in the aviation side of things, I had failed to notice the greeting we were receiving. Abi nudged me, and pointed towards the dock. I looked over to see Samantha and Rachelle, two of my greatest friends, grinning and welcoming us. I hopped out and hugged them, exclaiming that it was so great of my parents to think to invite them to join us! They smiled, knowing all too well that my parents weren’t the ones behind their guest appearance. Samantha handed me another pink envelope, instructing us to head to the resort’s restaurant for some lunch. That’s one thing us girls are great at – lunching. Basking in the warm sun on the patio, sipping on refreshing sangria, and chatting like we do best, we enjoyed our lunch and, of course, the company.
Instead of bringing us the cheque, the waitress cheerfully handed us another pink envelope. Reading the note, I quickly realized that this day wasn’t what I had originally thought. It was Matt who had organized the day! Matt had known that it had been a rough few weeks and that I had been quite stressed out, and I reasoned that he had likely colluded with my parents and friends to arrange a remedy for that. What a guy! The next few notes had us traipsing through the resort from the tennis courts, to the golf course, and finally to the boat rental shop. At this point I had clued in to the fact that my sister and friends were in on the plan and that we were being lead by the little pink envelopes.
As we went up to the two young guys at the boat rental shop I knew just what to ask for. “Do you have a pink envelope for us?”, I asked excitedly, but their clueless looks told me that this time I was wrong. I handed them the note and asked if they could decipher the hint. “Oh, so you’re on a scavenger hunt. Well, it sounds like you need to get to the Muskoka Wharf, but you’d need a boat for that”, he said. “Well, how much is a boat, then?” I asked, ready to get going. He told us it was probably too expensive for a scavenger hunt. We all thought for a minute until he said, “Wait a minute, are you the girls that arrived here by plane?”, we nodded, “Was that part of this scavenger hunt?”, we nodded again. “Oh wow, so it’s that kind of scavenger hunt… well maybe you are supposed to rent a boat then”, he answered. Samantha, knowing the plan, hinted that maybe a boat had been reserved for us, and there sure was. He handed me a key to the boat, a captain’s hat that I wore with utmost pride and a map to the Muskoka Wharf. We cruised over to the wharf only to find the third “Sam” of the day waiting on the docks! My good friend Sam, hopped aboard and handed me, you guessed it, another pink envelope. Following its instructions, with a resort room key tucked inside, we raced (quite literally) back to the resort.
We found the hotel room and I lead the way, unlocking the room, barging in, and was welcomed by…strangers. Smiling ladies greeted us and we walked in, a little disconcerting I’ll admit. “We’re from Spa Muskoka and we’ve been sent to pamper you girls with facials, pedicures and manicures!”. Manicures. It finally clicked. As I sat getting pampered in the hotel room stocked with my favorite wines and treats my mind raced. Matt and I have been dating for 10 years. A decade. I know that’s eons, but we were only naïve baby ninth graders when we started this adventure together. Little did those young kids know, we’d be the ones who beat the odds, we’d actually make it last. I thought about how much we’ve grown together – who we were, who we are now. So much is different, yet somehow so much remains the same. People often questioned us when they found out we’d been dating a decade – “How aren’t you married yet?”.
Because we are two highly ambitious people, who are even more passionate about the other’s dreams than our own. Two people who followed their dreams in completely opposite directions, but fought to find the parallel narrative. We refused to allow the other to sacrifice anything just to make the relationship easier. We could overcome the distance, we could overcome the opposing schedules, just so long as it meant the other person could be the greatest they could be. But finally, our lives are at a place where they could start to converge, and it was the most reassuring, comforting feeling. As someone who is always on the go, I joked with my friends that I was focusing all my energy on relaxing and that this was probably the most relaxed I had been in a good 6 years. They reminded me that if it was taking all of my energy, I was probably doing it wrong. The spa lady handed me the last pink envelope, probably for the best since relaxing evidently isn’t my forte. I went to the washroom to go get ready. A new dress, shoes and jewelry were waiting for me – this was getting real.
My friends walked me down to the water and there he was waiting for me. Fairy lights twinkling, my parents and friends watching on, the sun setting over the water. I fought my eagerness to rush down, so as to not ruin the perfect setting by tripping and plummeting down the steps. I launched in for a hug, somewhat composed myself and stepped back to listen. Matt had engineered one final solo adventure, promising that it would be my last without him by my side. I think it says a lot that, even though Matt was behind the scenes producing a wild day, it took quite some time before it occurred to me that this day was all that far out of the ordinary.
We are adventurers and collectors of beautiful moments; this is how we try to live. In each other we have found the partner for all of our adventures. Just as he always is, he was there at the end of the day waiting with open arms, ready to hear about my latest adventure, only this time he already knew all about it, and had one last thing to give me before the sun went down. And now as I sit here writing, with a memory of one last solo adventure close at heart and a mighty fine custom ring on my finger, I know that I am so ready for a new kind of adventure. Cheers!