Words by Maddie
I’d been living in San Francisco for a few years and was surprised to find myself struggling to find queers my own age, so I turned to the internet to find local queers. I set up a profile on a dating site where I explicitly listed that I was there “for friends”.
After about a year of meeting people, making friends, and tons of misconnections, I got an email notification about a message from Emmalaine. Rather than the run of the mill “hey” message I generally received from platonic interests, this message was dripping with charm and jokes about cats, which seemed like a direct response to the jokes I’d made in my bio.
The subtle flirting amplified, and after a bit of banter, Emmalaine asked if I wanted to meet for coffee.
I was working and living in downtown SF at the time and she lived in the East Bay. She said her best friend worked just down the block from me, who she was picking up later, so we decided to meet for an 8 pm latte near work. At this point, I was still confused about the nature of our relationship and whether I was misunderstanding clever banter for flirting so I was nervous.
We met up across the street from the cafe and it felt like time started to move in slow motion as I watched her walk toward me. She was taller and more stunning than I’d known she would be and I immediately thought, “she’s out of my league”, but as she approached me and started talking she started frantically and nervously using big hand gestures while she spoke and it took the edge off.
The nervousness was so endearing and I was utterly charmed. We walked together across to the cafe where she proceeded to jump in front of me right as I was about to pay for my drink.
We sat on a bench outside having an effortless conversation, the best I’d had in a long time, until her friend finished work and it was time to go. After that day, she asked me out again, but this time she took me to a movie in the East Bay on a whim, which ended up being in Spanish (a language that she doesn’t speak) about sex on a plane.
Afterwards, we picked up some ice cream nearby and laughed about the movie as we walked around getting to know one another. The fact that we talked about our ideal wedding on that day should have been a clue as to how things would unfold, but we took things in stride. Very quick, hurried stride.
Every night after that Emmalaine would drive to pick me up in SF and we’d drive aimlessly around San Francisco until the early morning hours. It actually took a long time-about a month-before we first kissed, but by month three I’d fallen in love with the girl who drove me around an abandoned naval base, passionately discussing her love for the broken old buildings. The same girl who taught me to drive in the middle of the night, the one who I got stranded with on top of a San Francisco hill because the car died while we were talking.
Within six whirlwind months, we were living together. Fast forward four and a half years and I’ve never been so close to anyone in my life.
I had been sending her photos of my ideal ring since we reached the year and a half mark, and on March 23rd, exactly four and a half years after she nervously asked me to be her girlfriend, she finally proposed.
We’re planning a fall wedding for the weekend of our 6th anniversary.
It’s strange to think that one day, these years will only be a small fraction of our story together.
Photography Hannah Berglund Photography