A Delightful Love Story with Champagne, Southern Fare, Laughter and a Proposal
[title maintitle=”” subtitle=”This is the love story of Niva and Michelle….”]
It all began with an ol’ fashioned hookup…
Wait. Those don’t happen anymore. Yes, they do!
It was the start of the summer. I had spent the entire winter in hibernation, completing a dissertation, preparing for a move to New York, and master cleansing myself into oblivion to get summertime fine for what I thought was going to be my last bruh haha with my folks in the Bay.
So when my friend told me she was dating a woman that had a friend and that it would be no strings attached, and that said friend was super cute, I was down. I suggested we have dinner at my house. Come on now, how many blind dates end well? How many blind dates lead to three blissful—albeit challenging—years of dating and eventually marriage? I had nothing to lose (except my reputation) so at home, in the comfort of my cozy abode—with ample lighting—was the appropriate venue to meet this phantom “super cute” woman that would turn out to be the future love of my life—but I didn’t know all that then.
My friend did what homegrown southern girls do best. She whipped up a painstakingly effortless meal: fried chicken, deviled eggs, greens and other yum-yum sides.
Unbeknownst to us, Michelle knew her way around a plate of southern food. Affectionately raised in Alabama the familiar smells of Crisco and cornbread made her soul smile. She politely asked that we excuse her while she ate. I laughed. I laughed some more when I realized she was serious.
Another cool factor. She brought my favorite dessert: bite-sized apple treats from Trader Joe’s with soy vanilla ice cream. What do Bama girls know about soy vanilla ice cream? How did she know? Who told her it was my favorite? I learned soon after that she is lactose intolerant. Awww.
She told me stories about her childhood. We found comfort in the sameness of our southern upbringing (both my parents hail from the great state of South Carolina) and our life journeys. She intrigued me. She had a killer smile. She had muscles. She laughed at my jokes. I twirled and glided across the room. She watched. She watched very very closely.
So there we were. Four of us cozied up on the couch watching movies. I neatly nestled myself under Michelle’s arm. And then I heard it. A thump thump, thump thump, thumping sound. Awkward pause.
“Did you feel that” she asked?
“Yes,” I said.
“Is that your heart beating,” I asked?
“Yes,” she said.
“I am so embarrassed.”
“Don’t be,” I said.
She sweated me the rest of the night.
Blah blah blah. LOL
We exchanged numbers. Is she going to call me I thought. Argh. Is she going to call me??
She texted a few days later. And the rest? Well you know the rest. I won’t bore you with the details.
When I met Niva I was not a mess. I was and continue to be on a journey to live a purposeful life. I met Niva through a person that was disguised as a friend, but whose real function was to deliver me to my partner, my love, and my spiritual roll dawg—in a nutshell introduce me to my ride or die chick.
The story began on a Sunday night. I was not dressed to impress. I wanted to be me and didn’t want to seem thirsty—which I wasn’t. I was actually looking forward to a summer of lusty fun and dating. Niva was application No. 1 for the season. Little did I know that it was a trap—a sick lil’ joke the universe played on me. See the universe likes to say YES to the things we ask for even if you ask for it to come in the winter—geez louise!
Anyhoo, we quickly realized we both hated each other and adored each other like a bad delicious drug. We’d argue, not talk for days, and then… well, I’d realize that I left something at Niva’s house (i.e. a sock or pencil eraser) and had to go get it, of course. It was amazing I got in touch with her since I repeatedly erased her number.
I can truly say that we were real with each other. I think we weren’t used to meeting another person that was so exposed and authentic. I guess we got comfortable accepting peoples veils and masks. We were both ourselves and continue to be now. Our turbulence in the beginning was like the big bang. It was beautiful and profoundly us.
It didn’t take long before we realized that we were made for each other. It was like we got out all the arguments and misunderstanding in the first year and now it feels so smooth. We have been living our lives together with the intention to change the world with our prayers, actions and our love.
THE PROPOSAL (In Niva’s words)
Several weeks before Michelle proposed she asked if I had any plans on a Saturday afternoon in December. Nothing on that day rang a bell, my calendar seemed clear and I gave her the thumbs up to plan whatever she wanted, giving little thought to what we would be doing and where we would be going that day.
The morning of Dec. 8 felt like any other Saturday, and when she told me I wouldn’t need to doll up for our secret excursion, I put on a simple tee, my favorite pair of ripped jeans and Uggs and jumped into the truck. Michelle planned secret lil’ getaways quite often, so I didn’t bother to push for details. “We will probably spend the day in wine country,” I thought to myself. But it appears Michelle had something else up her sleeve!
Before I knew it we were twisting and turning our way through Tilden Regional Park and arrived at one of the highest points on the trail, overlooking the East Bay. She told me she wanted to watch the sunset. “SUPER sweet,” I thought to myself!
We bundled up and sat on a charming tree stump bench. She pulled out a bottle of chilled Champagne (NO, I STILL DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE, and YES she is that romantic all the time!) and chatted like we normally do. As the sun was the setting, she got down on one knee and proposed. I saw her lips moving but I wasn’t sure what was happening until she pulled out a brown box and opened it. It finally hit me OH MY GOD, she is asking me to marry her! Of course I said yes, a little choir of people sitting next to us on the trail began to cheer, a flurry of texts went out and so began the journey to planning the wedding of our dreams …
Photo: Lauren Crew Photography
Kirsten Ott Palladino
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