Paige and Yoni
How We Met
“We found love in a hopeless place.” That’s how we always begin to share our love story. On January 28th 2011, I came home after a less than noteworthy night of happy hour, my senior year of college at Hofstra. My friend Lauren told me she had the perfect guy for me, it was her hometown friend from Livingston, Yoni. Checking out his picture with his hood up and headphones in, I told her I was in and that we needed to meet up with him that weekend. Lauren said it wasn’t going to happen that weekend since she was working and he was going to Atlantic City (the “hopeless place”). I asked her when she would be getting out of work, and when she replied 10PM, I told her, “well then… we’ll be on our way Saturday night at 10:30”. After two and a half (long) hours on the Garden State Parkway we finally arrived at the Borgata at around 1AM. Yoni and his friend met us at the entrance and we were off to party for the night. Making our way around the entire hotel from Mixx (the club) to the poker and roulette tables, we stayed up until morning. Spending the night dancing, talking, hanging out, and having an awesome time.
After a very late night and only a few hours of sleep, the next morning Lauren and I said our goodbyes to the boys and headed back to school. After about a week (with no word from Yoni) I took it upon myself to give him a call. He asked what I was up to and when I told him I had no plans, he told me he was coming to get me to take me out for dinner and to pack a bag for the weekend. I had no intentions of staying in Jersey for the weekend, but after he picked me up and took me out for the night, sure enough I found myself still in Jersey on Sunday morning. With the weekend coming to an end, I packed up my stuff and we were headed back to Long Island. On the way home I was hangry (what else is new), so we stopped at the mall to grab lunch and coincidently, Yoni’s mom was at the store right by the restaurant and she insisted we come say hello. So, sure enough, I got to meet his mom the second time I ever met him.
Long story long, after spending only a few days together, neither of us wanted to spend a weekend apart from each other, so for the next few years we packed our bags to spend our weekends in Jersey, Long Island, or New York City. Other than the lovely standstill traffic on a Friday afternoon, there was no distance that could keep us from each other. We would make the same trek to be with each other week after week, month after month, and year after year.
How He Asked
On January 29th 2016 (our five year anniversary) Yoni told me to pack a bag and that we would be spending the weekend in the city to celebrate. He picked me up from Penn Station and took me to Il Mulino for the best Chicken Parmesan around (since I can’t go a special occasion without a good Chicken Parm). During our dinner, Yoni dripped the slightest drop of red sauce on his white shirt. Normally for a good meal, if a shirt was ruined, it was worth the sacrifice, but not on that day. He had one waiter find him a Tide to Go stick while another went to get a fresh glass of seltzer and a paper napkin to rub it out. I couldn’t understand what the big deal was but as I rolled my eyes at Yoni, I continued to enjoy the rest of my Chicken Parm and pasta. When we finished dinner we were off to drop our stuff at The Bryant Park Hotel and go out to grab a drink. As we pulled up to the valet, Yoni suggested we let them take our bags to the room while we walk across the street to the park.
As we walked through the park and approached the ice skating rink (which was pitch black), the security guard opened the gate to let us in.
As soon as we stepped onto the rink, the lights turned on and lit up the sparkling white ice, and our song Cheerleader by Omi, began to play. In front of me was a stunning red carpet that stretched the entire length of the ice rink, and in the middle of the rink was a beautiful orchid tree, and Yoni’s favorite picture of us displayed on a large screen. As I gave Yoni a smirk, we walked hand in hand to the center of the rink.
As our song played in the background, a montage of pictures from our last 5 years together played on the screen. Pictures from birthdays, vacations, family events, cooking attempts and so many other memories filled the screen, and lyrics such as ‘you’re the only girl for me’ and ‘now all that’s left to do is just for me to pop the question’ scrolled across the bottom of the screen. As the sound from the song faded, a hidden camera video began to play of my dad and Yoni sitting in the car. There was Yoni (nervously) asking my dad for his blessing to marry his little girl (well not so little anymore). Filled with excitement my dad told him, “I can call you son now.” As a huge smile and laughter filled my face, I turned to Yoni, and there he was on his knee asking me to marry him. His exact words were “I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?”
Before I could even give him an answer, I heard bursts of cheer and excitement from the balcony of the restaurant overlooking the rink. Our families were all there watching the entire thing! He even had my grandma and brother fly in from Florida to be there.
Yoni closed the box and stood up. Once I finally wrapped my head around everything that was happening I told him he was supposed to put the ring on my finger, and he told me I was supposed to say yes first! So as I said yes, he turned around to our families and yelled up to them, ‘she said yes!’ and he put the ring on my finger. Filled with endless ear-to-ear smiles, we followed the candle lit path up to the balcony to celebrate with our families.
After all, this happy ending began in a ‘hopeless place’, with two people finding their other half. We will forever be each other’s biggest fans, and I will always be his ‘cheerleader’.