deserae-and-katie_largePast Meets Present
Classmates reunite online, fall in love and even recycle a love song—you know, the classic girl-meets-girl love story

Katie and I have been together for nearly three years, but we’ve known each other since the first day of middle school, when I promptly decided I hated her (she was a mean girl). I’m pretty sure she, on the other hand, was wholly indifferent to my very existence. Things stayed that way through middle, high school, and much of the next decade.

Our love story started when we reconnected via the Internet. She still lived in our hometown of Miami, and I’d run off to live in New York City. Our bond was intense and near immediate. Daytime messages turned into texts turned into phone calls before, during, after work, and at night. I made a point of visiting her two holidays in a row, and we realized that maybe this was more than your run-of-the-mill flirtation. Soon after, she moved to the city to be with me.

I knew I wanted to marry her late in January 2010. I had just left the office for the day. I was cold and frustrated at the lack of buses and decided to walk to the train. I turned my iPod on, set it to shuffle, and a song came on that reminded me of a false start I’d had with someone else years before. I’d thought it bad to recycle songs, but at some point, I realized that you can’t let the music die. If you can resuscitate a beautiful song and give it a new life, new meaning, new memories, then you should; and I did.

As I walked down Tenth Avenue, it hit me like a bolt that this was the song I wanted to dance to at my wedding, and with Katie—not the girl whose wishful thinking had set the song so deep in me years before. I remember being shocked at myself and scared to tell her, afraid she’d think I was crazy. Instead, when I told her and played her the song, she said, “Yes, this is perfect.”

We didn’t officially get engaged until the end of 2010. We proposed separately, and we each had the other’s ring custom made by artists hawking their wares on ETSY.

When my ring came in, I’d been in bed in the midst of a month of recovering from breast reduction surgery. Katie jokingly tossed it at me and said, “Oh, this came for you.” It’s an amazing piece, hammered silver in a wide band, stamped (in one of my favorite fonts, Courier New) with the first lines of a song we love.

Katie’s ring, a simple, vintage-inspired solitaire set with a rose-cut gray diamond, took quite a bit of time to make its trek from Canada to our home. We’d both been worried it would get lost in the post, so I made the most of the situation with my proposal. I was still in recovery at that point, but I was also bored to tears and made a habit of pushing my body in ways Katie thought I shouldn’t, and she regularly admonished me for it.

I went out and bought a bouquet of daisies, took them home and arranged them just so, hid the ring, and wrote the following note on a Post-It, which I then affixed to a Diet Coke bottle in the kitchen:

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom

I love you, Katie Kaboom.
Will you marry me?

When she came home, I explained to her that her ring had been sent back to its maker and that I’d bought her some pretty apology flowers. Then I asked her if she’d make me a soda, which she did grudgingly. As she did so, my mother and I—yes, my mother was present for my proposal—peered intently into the kitchen from the living room, where Katie didn’t notice the Post-It on the bottle. She brought it into the living room with my drink, and as I set the drink down, I turned the bottle to bring the note to her attention. She read it, her eyes lit up, and she said, “Duh. Of course. I already said yes. WHERE’S THE RING!” So I forked it over.

We’re having a wedding at the gorgeous Smith Barn in Peabody, MA this coming May, but here’s the thing: we’re already married. When the Marriage Equality Act was passed at the end of June last year, we decided it’d be best if the law was on our side in our state of residence, and why wait? We’d intended it to be a quiet affair, but when we were chosen to be one of the 24 couples married at the Pop Up Chapel ( in Central Park on July 30, 2011, it turned into quite the to-do. The whole thing was planned for us by a group of amazing humans who wanted to celebrate our newly acquired rights, and everything was provided, from the officiant to the photographer to the Champagne and cupcakes for us and our 12 guests. Our families couldn’t make it on such short notice, and that’s the only thing that kept it from being perfect.

Even so, it truly was the most amazing day of my life. I’m so proud to call Katie my wife, and I can’t wait to marry her again. This time, we’ll do it in front of our families, too. You can follow along at

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Photo by Matt Miller