This Valentines’ Day, Ry and I will be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. 11 years of adventure, moving, kids, animals, ups, downs and sideways.
I’ll save the [express] courtship story for another day, today I want to talk about letters, love letters.
We’re married today because of a few words scribbled on paper in just the right order.
I was living in Canada, Ry in the Catskills of New York [we met in Florida, again, more on this encounter another time]. It was October and he was flying up for a weekend rendezvous. I had booked us a hotel room downtown Toronto, in the busy Yonge and Queen area. My plan was to pick him up from the airport and head into the city for some catching up over good food and wandering around the city.
My plan was to leave work a few hours before his flight arrived and leave a little surprise for him in our room. That surprise was a hundred[ish] small sticky notes. Each one had a hand scribbled note containing reasons why I loved him.
We had been dating long distance five months by now. It was a bold move, a big gesture, and definitely out of my comfort zone. Something else spurred me into action; I had a feeling this was going to be “the” weekend.
I checked into the hotel, navigated my way to the room, and plastered the little yellow love notes ALL OVER. On light switches, on the floor, on lamps, on the phone, the mirrors, desks, I might have even put one on the toilet.
Making a big gesture like this made my heart flutter with what I think was excitement. Then I started getting cold feet. I’d never done anything like this before. What if he thought it was stupid? What if he laughed? What if he thought it was too much, too soon?
Oh well, it's done now. I sure as hell wasn't going to clean up all those notes! As I left the room, I looked around, feeling like HOT SHIT. I was gonna blow his mind. I smiled, turned the lights off, quickly walked down to my car, and sped off to YYZ.
A scene that always makes my eyes well up is watching lovers reunite at the airport. These are the people looking like they’re ready to explode carrying flowers or balloons and watching the gate doors intensely for their person to walk through.
Ry came through the door, looking exhausted, a little distracted but excited to see me. He wrapped me up in his huge arms with the best bear hug. With my American boy on my arm, we headed back to the hotel.
I was excited for the weekend. Our weekends together were always carefree, and mostly agenda-free. We tried to soak up as much joy from each other as we could before we parted ways for another few weeks.
We arrived back at the hotel room. I stuck the plastic hotel key into the slot and held my breath as I waited for that satisfying click of the door unlocking and that little green indicator. For some reason, I always feel like I’m getting away with something during that exact moment.
This time was even bigger, remember...I was HOT SHIT.
I walked into the room first, Ry trailing me. I flipped the lights on as he dropped his bag.
I was stunned. Frantic. My heart sank.
My eyes quickly darted all around the room. Walking around in utter disbelief, the notes were GONE! All that writing, the anticipation for his reaction, the thought of him collecting and reading each note, one by one.
All that love. Shat on.
I couldn’t help it... I started to cry.
Imagine you’re Ry at this point, he’s totally like, “WTF? What the hell is wrong with this chick?”
I didn’t want to tell him why I was upset, but I couldn’t just keep crying for “no reason”. I’m also the worst liar in the world so making something up was out of the question.
I spilled it. I told him about the notes, what I wrote, detailing my suspense and excitement. We deduced housekeeping must have turned the room down, and left with my notes.
Disappointed, but determined not to let an overachieving maid ruin our night we headed out for dinner. Ry insisted we make a stop at the front desk first. He told the manager what happened and thanked them for “making his girlfriend cry”. They apologized, but couldn’t really do anything.
So we did what we did best – sipped apple martinis and munched on nachos. Eventually, after catching up, it was getting late, so we walked back to the hotel.
Back in the room devoid of sticky notes, I was still feeling a twinge of sadness. I was getting ready to climb into bed when Ry was in the other room [it was a suite]. He was in there a long time….like a really, really long time. What the hell was he doing?
After asking a time or two more, he eventually showed up. Serious-faced and holding some small white pieces of paper.
I asked what he was doing in a kind of annoyed, worried, what are you up to, I’m tired and need sleep tone.
He spoke, “I wrote you some notes of my own”.
Awesome! I love love letters. Having dated long distance we filled in our constant text messaging, emails and phone calls with random cards and letters. Way better than email.
He just stood there, holding them.
I asked, “Are you going to give them to me?”
He hesitated. Stood still in the doorway between the bedroom and the hotel suite. “No.”
I was annoyed. Why the hell would you write me something then not give it to me? Don’t waste my time with your silly games, I need sleep.
I tried to persuade him, unsuccessfully for a minute or two. I was about to say ‘fuck it’ and go to sleep when he finally handed them over.
White-knuckled, he had a grip on those babies…they must have been good....or bad...
There were three pieces of hotel notepad paper with some words on them.
- I love you…[aww, feeling kinda feeling melty and my right armpit starting to sweat – this totally happens all the time]
- I want to spend the rest of my life with you [OH SHIT, is this the big moment? The one girls dream of? Is he really proposing? OMG! OMG! OMG! OMGGGGGG!]
- Will you marry me?
By now I was crying for the second time that night with my hand over my mouth. Shakily, I looked up, he was now down on the proverbial bended knee and took out the goods [the ring].
Holy shit! This is happening, this is real! THAT is a ring! Is it for ME?
I think I said the word “yes”. The rest was a blur of squealing and crying and trying to get Ry up off his knees to hug me. He asked, “Did you say yes? I think you did.”
After god knows how long, I looked at the ring that was way too big for my finger, but so perfect. So simple. He didn’t even ask what I wanted, he just picked it. Lucky for me he’s got better taste than I do.
I felt electric, tingly, and alive. We were getting married.
Four months and three days later we stood shakily in front of each other again [partly mostly from celebrating with family and friends too much the night before] and got married.
On Valentine’s Day.
Cheers to the next lucky 11.