Sky and Austin
How We Met
We are both from two tiny towns in Illinois, about thirty minutes from each other. I first noticed him at a local music performance on Halloween when we were freshmen in high school. He was in costume as JFK and I dressed as a big baby. We didn’t so much as make eye contact the entire night and when I got home I searched for him on Myspace. Turned out we were already connected there through some mutuals and had just never met or talked. He posted a status that said it was a good night and I replied in agreement. He asked “Dude, who were you?!”. He hadn’t noticed me. A few years passed and we both dated other people. We saw each other at local concerts but never talked. One Spring we were both single and he asked me for my phone number. We would text off and on but there were no inclinations we were interested in more than friendship. The summer before Senior year approached and he asked me to catch a movie. I assumed it was casual but when we met at the theater it became obvious this was a one-on-one date. The first thing I noticed was how blue his eyes were. Then later in the theater his contagious laugh. After the showing we sat outside of the building on the curb and talked about…everything. The last employee locked up. The lights in the parking lot went off (I didn’t even know lights went out in parking lots) and we finally went our separate ways for the evening. 8 years passed in which we graduated high school, started college, moved together to Chicago and added a cat into the family. Finished college, started our careers, and threw a dog into the mix as well.
How He Asked
Falling in love as a teenager doesn’t always translate well to adulthood, but we have been fortunate to grow together in the same ways and have continued to value the same hobbies, activities, entertainment (with some differences of course) over the years. Hiking and being outdoors is something we both have high on our list and always have. Unfortunately Illinois doesn’t provide us much in the way of trails so we have adventured to Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Last year we went to Oregon for the first time and couldn’t get enough of the lush landscape and gloomy weather! Our careers and family keep us rooted in the midwest but we discovered that our hearts are certainly somewhere in the PNW.
Our favorite hike was a 14 mile out and back with Tunnel falls smack dab in the middle. The falls are a huge 100+ feet with a man-made tunnel blown through behind it. It’s dripping like a cave and the sound of the falls are so loud it’s overwhelming. It was one of the most magnificent places we had ever been. We enjoyed it so much, that for our vacation this year we decided to do the same exact itinerary all over again.
Halfway into the hike, we reached the falls. It’s a very intimate location as most people turn back at earlier stops along the trail and never make it to the falls themselves. He said he had to get something out of his backpack and that I could go forward without him. I was excited to finally have reached the destination and didn’t want to wait so I continued on. As I reached the other side of the falls, which is a thin ledge around curve of a mountain, I heard him call my name. I assumed he was going to take my photo, but when I turned around, he was in the opening of the tunnel on his knee. After asking way too many times if he was serious, I finally said yes.
We had a small picnic around the bend of canned tuna salad packs and a beer. He explained how asking my father was significantly harder than asking me, and that he had been keeping this secret to himself for months. The Hike back was 7 miles of torture without cellphone signal, but the location was so fitting to our personalities and our relationship I wouldn’t have had it any other way. As with a hike, so is true for any great love: the journey is just as important as the destination.