Rylie and I both started going to North Mason High School in 2013 as freshmen. We never spoke to each other even though our school had about 400-500 students. I remember first seeing Rylie (who was out) in our second-period science class. We sat two seats apart, and I remember thinking she was so cool. Sometime during that trimester, Rylie had a seizure and fell out of her chair into the middle of the aisle. I remember seeing her eyes roll back, and it was pretty scary then (but even scarier to think about that moment now that I have so much love for her).
2015 it’s our Junior Year. I finally am figuring out who I am, though I would stay closeted for years. And I remember seeing Rylie in the halls a few times during the year (she did college classes and only had to go to the high school once a day). I had a crush on her. And I never told a soul and was so scared to talk to her, so I never did. We graduated in 2017.
In 2019, I created a Twitter account where I could truly be myself. Not a single person I knew would know about it in real life. Following so many people in the LGBTQ community, it was freeing. Eventually, I got the guts to let go and delete my “personal account” and follow all the people I was on my new LGBTQ+ proud account. I remember looking at Rylie’s account and hitting the follow button. Hoping that something would happen, and it did and I can’t remember how long it took, but it happened. I got the notification “feisty followed you,” followed by “feisty sent you a DM” my heart started beating so hard.
It didn’t take long for us to become close. We had so many midnight talks I came out to my family, and I was there for Rylie through her parents’ divorce. Rylie is the love of my life, and our connections have grown so strong since the pandemic started.
Then, in April 2021, Rylie was hospitalized because she had Covid. It was the scariest, most stressful time of my life. I loved Rylie back then, and we talked about our future together, but my love for her tripled once we went through that. I knew in that hard time that Rylie was the only person for me, that I would do anything for her, stand by her side, and grow old together.
In the last year, we have grown so much together, and as individuals, our love is so strong. This January 2022, I found out that Rylie had purchased an engagement ring (she can’t keep a secret). Little did Rylie know that I’ve always planned on proposing to her first. It was a race to propose to each other (but Rylie didn’t know that). I hadn’t even gotten a ring because I was going to wait for spring!
Long story short, on February 5th, 2022, at 7 pm, I had my sister drive Rylie to Benson Lake, where I was waiting with a romantic picnic, a watch, and a ring.
She said yes! And a week later, on the 12th, she proposed to me.
Photography by Marvena Pimper